Best Colleges for Veterans

Learn.org has created it's ranking for the best colleges for veterans in the US. Read on to learn what schools made the list.

Best Colleges for Veterans

Making the transition back to civilian life can be a challenge, especially when it comes to going back to school. Thankfully, military veterans are extended a range of benefits because of their service to this country. Learn.org has researched these benefit programs, analyzed veterans services in higher education, and dug up extra incentives to come up with a list of the best schools for those who served. These schools offer great programs that are affordable while still providing an excellent education.

To find these schools, we evaluated several data points from the U.S. Department of Education such as graduation rate, student to teacher ratio, and student retention. In this list, you'll also find out which universities offer Yellow Ribbon programs, which ones offer credit for military training and which ones give veterans the most robust services. So here it is, Learn.org's cream of the crop colleges for veterans.

1. The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey, located in Ewing, NJ, has shown exemplary dedication to veterans. The Veteran Affairs Office here employs a team of counselors who walk veterans through all of the options available to them, from tuition assistance like the GI Bill and branch-specific aid to support programs like psychological counseling and educational planning. All of these benefits are governed by the school's Principles of Excellence; a set of standards designed to ensure veterans at TCNJ receive a high-quality education.

2. State Technical College of Missouri

The State Technical College of Missouri in Linn is a public 2-year school with a recognized dedication to helping veterans make the transition to student life. There's a contact point for veteran students on campus and the Veterans Club, an organization where veterans can share common experiences, support each other and find a sense of community.

3. Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, is a little different than the other schools on this list; it doesn't participate in any federal assistance for veterans (not even the GI Bill). So what makes Hillsdale so great for veterans? The school raises private funds to help former military members from any branch with everything they need to succeed including money for tuition, fees, books and housing. It's called the Freedom Scholarship, and it deserves all the kudos it's received.

4. Lake Area Technical Institute

Lake Area Technical Institute landed at number four on our list thanks to a comprehensive array of programs for veteran students. Not only can vets get college credit here for the training they received in the military, but they also have access to a staff that helps them apply for and get the most out of their federal benefits, a student organization for veterans and a Veteran Ops Lounge where students can study, relax and meet fellow vets.

5. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo offers a Veterans Success Center where all veteran students and their families can get help applying for federal benefits, hang out in the lounge, meet fellow vets and attend events. Cal Poly also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

6. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College is a small private school in California with an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1. How can vets take advantage of this type of education? Claremont McKenna provides a couple of ways. Vets can get credit for military experience and can take advantage of federal assistance like the Yellow Ribbon program where the school matches some of the government's funds.

7. Virginia Military Institute

Students at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington have a dedicated point of contact on-campus to get help applying for state and federal benefits. The school participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and accepts military training for college credits. Along with these excellent veteran benefits, students can also take advantage of small class sizes with the average student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1.

8. Johnson University

To show its dedication to veterans, Johnson University in Knoxville, TN, agreed to the Principles of Excellence executive order, a set of rigorous standards by which the school must abide. These include helping veterans build a comprehensive educational plan, providing one-on-one guidance for benefit applications and adhering to refund policies.

9. CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College

CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College is part of the City University of New York system and participates in the Principles of Excellence program. Baruch gives vets college credits for military service and provides access to a range of federal aid programs including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Veteran's Emergency Loan program. From the GI Bill, undergraduate vets here get an average aid package of $5,576 while graduate vets receive an average of $10,366 during the 2016-2017 school year.

10. Muhlenberg College

How did Muhlenberg College end up in the top ten on our list? Well, how does 100% coverage of tuition and fees for higher education sound? That's what vets get at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Muhlenberg participates in the Yellow Ribbon program where schools can add funds on top of federal assistance, and the college chooses to take care of the rest of tuition and fees that federal programs may not cover.

11. DePauw University

DePauw University also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program with a cap of $15,000 per student per year for in-state students. Fifty student vets took part in the program in 2017-2018. DePauw, located in Greencastle, Indiana, is a highly ranked private school with a faculty-to-student ratio of just 9:1 so vets here have access to a top-flight education at a relatively affordable price with aid.

12. St. Mary's College of Maryland

St. Mary's College of Maryland prides itself on being a small public school with intimate class sizes and a tight-knit community of students. Another well-deserved point of pride? St Mary's College's commitment to veterans. The school participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and offers college credit for military training.

13. Binghamton University

Binghamton University in Binghampton, New York, has shown an admirable dedication to helping veterans transition from military life to student life and beyond. The on-campus Office of Veteran Services gives students one-on-one counseling to maximize their federal benefits and connect with veteran services. Binghampton also boasts a vibrant Veteran Students Organization and a Veterans Lounge where students can study, relax and connect with fellow veterans.

14. University of Richmond

Not only do students at the University of Richmond in Virginia get college credit for their time in the military, but they also have access to the fantastic benefits of the Yellow Ribbon program. In addition to federal funds, the University of Richmond gives 25 student vets up to $5,000 each per academic year, putting the school's high-quality education well within reach for those who served their country.

15. Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, participates in a wide array of federal and state tuition assistance programs including the GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation program. But Stony Brook also focuses on community, giving student vets easy access to work-study programs and clubs like the Veteran Student Organization, where they can get support, attend events and find fellowship with other vets.

16. Penn State Altoona

Penn State Altoona is dedicated to helping veterans become thriving students. Penn State Altoona participates in a number of programs for veterans including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. With an average student to teacher ratio of 15:1, students at Penn State Altoona will learn in an intimate, close setting.

17. St. Joseph's College-Long Island

St. Joseph's College-Long Island deserves praise for the support system it's put in place for veteran students. St. Joseph's participates in a variety of state and federal assistance programs, hosts a chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) club, and offers career services to help vets transition into life after academia. To top it off, the school is part of the Yellow Ribbon program, which gives some vets a stipend for books and supplies and a housing allowance, among other benefits.

18. McDaniel College

McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, instituted the McDaniel Military Legacy Scholarship (MLS) in 2019. This scholarship offers up to $25,000 per year and up to $100,000 over four years for residential students ($80,000 for commuter students). Currently, there's no limit to the number of students who can take advantage of the MLS! The school also has the Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts (VAIC) Scholarship Program, which provided up to $7,152 in awards for on-campus veteran students in 2018-2019.

19. Niagara University

Niagara University has a long history of serving veterans, including the Magnificent Seven; seven students who attended Niagara and exemplified what it means to serve. Veteran students at Niagara University get credit for military training and access to GI Bill benefits, including the all-important Yellow Ribbon program. They're also plugged into the Student Veterans of America organization, which gives veteran students a sense of fraternity.

20. College of William and Mary

The Yellow Ribbon program is in full effect at the College of William and Mary -- five veteran out-of-state students are eligible to receive an extra $1,000 per semester on top of what the Veteran's Administration offers. Vets here also get priority registration for classes, college credit for military training and access to individualized support for transitioning to student life.

21. Caldwell University

Caldwell University participates in a variety of federal assistance programs, but helping veterans financially is just one part of the equation. Caldwell does a stellar job of giving vets a complete support system -- there's the Counseling Center, which offers free mental health services, the Student Veterans of America organization on-campus, and a one-on-one advisor to help vets get access to both emotional and monetary help as they go through their academic careers.

22. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves veteran students and their families through the Carolina Veterans Resource Center (CVRC). Inside, there's a lounge for relaxing, study spaces for doing homework and conference rooms for the meeting of veteran student organizations. UNC Chapel Hill can be lauded for participating in the Yellow Ribbon program. To give an idea of what the school offered, in 2016-2017, the school matched government funds for undergraduates ($5,000), graduates ($7,000) and students at the Kenan-Flagler Business School ($9,227.50).

23. Belmont University

Belmont University is a private school in Nashville, Tennessee, that offers a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a range of highly ranked programs. The school serves vets by participating in the Yellow Ribbon program and matching 50% of tuition and fees that aren't met by federal assistance. On-campus, student vets will find the Bruin Vets Center, a place where military members can relax and watch TV, study quietly, cook meals in the kitchen and find companionship with fellow vets.

24. Bryant University

For the state of Rhode Island, there was no better place for veterans than Bryant University. At Bryant, students can take advantage of the Yellow Ribbon program -- the school will match funds for 100% coverage of tuition and fees. Bryant is also home to the Bryant Veterans Professional Network, an organization that pairs vets with alumni, faculty and local businesses to provide support through academia and beyond.

25. York College of Pennsylvania

Everything at York College of Pennsylvania is run through the Military and Veterans Advocacy Committee (MVAC), an organization that connects veteran students with all the benefits the school has to offer. And those benefits are numerous -- York College of Pennsylvania gives students course credits for military training, offers matching tuition funds as part of the Yellow Ribbon program, provides counseling services and connects veteran students with orientation courses and activities throughout their academic careers.

26. Wayne State College

Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, does a lot to make sure veterans can afford a quality education. The school participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, giving 10 students as much as $2,185.00 per academic year on top of any federal and state funds for which they qualify. Vets can also get credit for training and experience in the military. For instance, basic training is worth four credit hours, which is one less class to pay for. To give you an idea of what to expect in terms of funding, the average Post-9/11 benefits for undergraduate students at Wayne State added up to $4,295 for 2016-2017.

27. Walla Walla University

College Place, Washington, is home to Walla Walla University, a private Seventh-Day Adventist University with a thriving student veteran community. Veterans here can get up to 6 quarter credits waived for basic training, get matching funds from the school as part of the Yellow Ribbon program, and receive one-on-one academic guidance and advisement from the on-campus Veterans Affairs Coordinator.

28. Citadel Military College of South Carolina

The Citadel Military College of South Carolina, often considered one of the most prestigious military institutions in the country, is a fantastic place for veterans to get a top-tier education at an incredible value. The school boasts a huge range of scholarships (both merit-based and otherwise), participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and gives students access to the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) Program where veterans can receive funds to cover tuition, books, supplies and even parking.

29. Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University boasts a wealth of resources for veterans, including the Student Veterans of America organization. The school also has two dedicated staff members (a veteran advisor and a veteran coordinator), the Gonzaga Veteran Advisory Group and the Transfer, Veteran & Returning Adult Services (TVRAS) Ambassador Program, wherein student ambassadors meet with new veterans to help them with the transition process.

30. Samford University

Want to opt out of classes thanks to your military training and experience? Samford University, a private school in Birmingham, Alabama, gives veterans credit, plus it's a participant in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program, meaning students have access to housing allowances, book stipends and even up to 100% of tuition and fees. What's more, Samford has dedicated staff for veteran services and a student organization just for those who served.

31. Rockhurst University

Through the Yellow Ribbon program (and other financial assistance), full-time undergraduate student veterans at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, received an average of $14,550 in aid during the 2016-2017 school year. For graduate students, that number was $12,012. On top of that, vets can qualify for merit-based scholarships like the Veteran Award, which gives transferring military veterans $1,000 for tuition.

32. Marquette University

Veterans can use Marquette University's veteran services to access a wide array of benefits, from the Post-9/11 GI Bill to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Veterans' Administration Tutoring Program. Marquette also helps student vets apply for assistance from the state of Wisconsin including the VetEd Reimbursement Grant, Troops to Teachers and the Wisconsin GI Bill.

33. Le Moyne College

Vets at Le Moyne College in Syracuse enjoy a superb support system. There's the Veterans' House, a designated on-campus building where vets can hang out, get connected with resources, find study partners, and relax. Veterans' Services Coordinators provide veterans with individualized academic advisement and students who served also get priority registration for classes. For the 2016-2017 school year, undergraduate veterans received an average of $16,895 for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

34. Bentley University

How about a top-flight private education at a fraction of the cost? Bentley University's tuition and fees reflect its elite status, but for veterans who served their country, it's within reach. That's because Bentley voluntarily entered into the Yellow Ribbon portion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. What does that mean for veteran students? For ten undergraduates, it's an extra $5,000 above any federal monies, and for five graduate students, it's $4,000 toward tuition and fees.

35. College of the Ozarks

The Yellow Ribbon program, college credit for basic training, and veteran advisors, are just the beginning of the support veterans get at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. The school's myriad scholarship opportunities and federal program connections give vets more ways to pay for college. What's more, College of the Ozarks sets aside one week a year to honor veterans with services and events, and hosts a September 11 Remembrance event and an Honor America celebration where the community shows tribute to veterans on campus.

36. Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University makes it a solemn mission to serve those who served their country. Veterans here have access to priority enrollment for classes, counseling services on campus and one-on-one help applying for federal and state assistance. If all the conditions are met, some veteran students may be eligible for a full tuition waiver under the Massachusetts Veteran Tuition Waiver. And, under the VALOR act, students who served in the military can use that service to get up to 60 credit hours applied to their degree.

37. University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas offers its veteran students class credit for training they received in the military, plus it participates in the Yellow Ribbon program for both graduates and undergraduates. For anything above the max amount, St. Thomas will provide 50% of tuition and fees for the academic year. For the nearly 100 undergraduate veterans and service members receiving benefits here, the average amount added up to $25,038 for 2016-2017.

38. Towson University

Towson University in Towson, Maryland, has built an impressive support system for military members. It all starts at the Military and Veterans Center (MVC) on campus (staffed by a director of military and veterans services, a program manager specialist and student assistants), where veteran students can go to get academic advisement, find help with federal aid applications, and connect with the school's student veteran organization. Towson's Ziolkowski Scholarship also provides a veteran student with $3,221 (or $1,610 for two students) toward their education.

39. Gannon University

Gannon University sees it as a sacred duty to serve the men and women who served this country. Through the Yellow Ribbon program, institutional funding and a wide range of scholarships, veteran students can get up to 100% of their tuition, fees and even room and board covered throughout the duration of their time in school. All of these benefit options can get confusing, so Gannon employs a counselor to sit down with every incoming vet to help them understand their options and apply for aid.

40. Marist College

With a recognized student veteran organization on campus, a dedicated advisor for help with financial assistance applications and a range of scholarships, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, represents a great option for veterans seeking higher education. But Marist doesn't stop there. The school offers incoming veterans a generous program of college credit for not just military training but also for life experience and prior learning, giving vets a way to surge ahead.

41. Saint John Fisher College

Saint John Fisher College is a private Catholic school in Rochester, New York, with a prestigious reputation and an impressive 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Veterans can get all sorts of help here with paying for college, from the Yellow Ribbon program and the Veterans Educational Assistance Program to Vocational Rehabilitation and scholarships. For the 2016-2017 school year, the undergraduate students here who qualified for aid under the Post-9/11 GI Bill received an average benefits package of $20,556 to help cover tuition and fees.

42. Rutgers University-Camden

To help ease their transition into student life, Rutgers University-Camden has instituted the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) program. PAVE pairs incoming veterans with student vets who are already on campus; these student vet ambassadors help new students overcome challenges unique to vets and provide support for life both inside and outside academia. In addition, the school provides Military Cultural Competency Training for non-vet students so they can understand and appreciate the sacrifices vets have made.

43. Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology, a public university in Rolla, Missouri, has advisors on campus to help incoming students apply for aid and find resources for making the transition to civilian life. But academic advisors can only go so far. That's why Missouri S & T helps vets connect with the Student Veterans Association; it's a place where veterans can share common experiences and support one another through school and beyond.

44. Blue Mountain College

Blue Mountain College, a small private school of around 600 students in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, knows the sacrifice you've made as a veteran. The school offers vets credit for military training and participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The veteran students who received benefits in 2016-2017 got an average amount of $6,434 toward tuition.

45. Creighton University

Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, shows its dedication to veterans by offering credit for military training, participating in the Yellow Ribbon program and offering tuition assistance through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The school also offers a designated resource center and lounge specifically for vets and active duty service members. What's more, the school offers 115 unique degree programs including on-campus, online, and hybrid courses.

46. Waynesburg University

Pennsylvania residents who served in the military will want to check out Waynesburg University. It's a private school with intimate class sizes and a small veteran student body. A little over 20 student veterans received assistance from the Post-9/11 GI Bill here, and the average aid package was quite healthy -- undergraduates got $15,663 in 2016-2017 and graduates got $7,324 during the same time period.

47. Plymouth State University

New Hampshire's Plymouth State University works with the VA and a wide array of private funds to give veteran students access to all sorts of ways to support their education. The Hammer Family Scholarship, the Yellow Ribbon Program, AMVETS, the Google SVA Scholarship and many more give vets relief from tuition, fees, and room and board as they attend school.

48. University of Minnesota-Rochester

In addition to all the assistance from federal programs, the University of Minnesota-Rochester makes sure its veteran students have access to the Minnesota GI Bill, which offers up to $3,000 per year for full-time students and $500 per semester for part-time students. Every veteran at UM-Rochester can also use their military experience to get college credits and take advantage of Minnesota's Veteran Education Assistance, which offers an extra $750 toward tuition for vets who have used up their GI Bill benefits.

49. University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

The University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus boasts a relatively large veteran student body and to serve them, the school offers a club, a counseling center, one-on-one help with tuition assistance and a dedicated hub for support -- the Norman Main Campus Veteran Student Services building. Many faculty and staff choose to volunteer for the Green Zone as well, undergoing training to learn how to better assist and provide guidance for vets at OU.

50. Western Carolina University

Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Cullowhee is Western Carolina University. Western Carolina adheres to uncompromising values, and veterans looking for support here as they move into a new phase of life can count on it. The school has an on-campus Director of Military Student Services there to guide new students through their transition to academia, both financially and emotionally. What's more, veterans can use their military training to get credit for classes.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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