Best Online Military-Friendly Colleges of 2022

Online military-friendly colleges support active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families. Find out which schools provide the best support.

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Published on March 7, 2022 · Updated on June 21, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Michael J. Kirchner

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Earning a college degree helps military and veteran students prepare for and transition to civilian life. The many benefits include enhanced career opportunities and higher salaries. Choosing a major that aligns with your strengths and passions and supports a secure, promising career path will help get you off on the right foot.

Below, we highlight some important factors to consider when selecting online colleges as a military student. We also provide a ranked list of 2021's best military colleges. Readers can consult our college guide for servicemembers and veterans for more information.

Benefits of a Military-Friendly College


Members of the military (active duty and veteran alike) often choose to continue their education and pursue a degree — either during their service or when they've completed their time with the military.

There are many reasons for service members to attend college, such as to improve job opportunities, pursue a passion, take advantage of the military's education benefits, and advance a career.


A 2020 report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics found that in 2015-16 about 6% of undergraduate students were veterans, active-duty service members, or in the reserves or the National Guard.

A large portion of these students took advantage of military benefits.


The report also found that 36% of military graduate students and 43% of military undergraduates received some form of veterans education benefits.

Education benefits offered to military members can help increase their return on investment and make pursuing a degree more affordable.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of online programs to produce our annual Best Online Military-Friendly Colleges ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 646 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best online schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (50%), affordability (25%), and the availability and popularity of online programs (25%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Academics (50% of total score)

  • Admissions Rate
  • Enrollment Rate
  • Full-Time Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

Affordability (25% of total score)

  • Average Net Price
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Federal Loans
  • Average Loan Default Rate

Online Programming (25% of total score)

  • Percentage of Programs Offered Online
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Online Courses

Featured Online Degree Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Accredited Online Military-Friendly Colleges

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

#1 Online College in New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $320
Undergrad, out of state | $320
Graduate, in-state | $627
Graduate, out of state | $627

Southern New Hampshire University has been a military-friendly college for more than 80 years. The school oversees more than 200 online programs. SNHU also offers tuition discounts of up to 30% for active military personnel and their spouses.

Prospective undergraduate students need only a high school diploma or the equivalent for admission. Military students may receive up to 90 transfer credits for job training or professional military education. They may also qualify for active-duty tuition assistance, Veteran Readiness and Employment services, GI Bill benefits, and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

#2 Online College in Virginia

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $390-$455
Undergrad, out of state | $390-$455
Graduate, in-state | $565-$615
Graduate, out of state | $565-$615

Liberty University oversees more than 100 online bachelor's programs and over 300 online master's programs. The military-friendly college offers military degree plans, including tuition discounts and tuition assistance, technology fee waivers, and support during deployment and returns.

Prospective students need a high school diploma or its equivalent for undergraduate admission. Liberty provides transfer credit for approved military training and education. The school also offers benefits through GI Bill programs, the Yellow Ribbon Program, Veteran Readiness and Employment services, and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program.

#3 Online College in Florida

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $179
Undergrad, out of state | $716
Graduate, in-state | $327
Graduate, out of state | $1,152

At the University of Central Florida, online military students have access to more than 100 degree programs. The military-friendly college provides military benefits through GI Bill programs, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and Veteran Readiness and Employment services. UCF also offers tuition assistance, military scholarships, and free tuition for Florida National Guard members. 

Prospective undergraduate students need a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and SAT or ACT scores for admission. Military students are given a specialized transition plan, academic advising, and career support upon entry.

#4 Online College in Virginia

Averett University

School Information
Location Danville, Virginia
Admission Rate 24%
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $480
Undergrad, out of state | $480
Graduate, in-state | $530-$695
Graduate, out of state | $530-$695

The Graduate and Professional Studies division at Averett University offers online programs in seven main fields, including business, education, and nursing. This military-friendly college provides military tuition discounts of 25-50%, military scholarships, and benefits like GI Bill benefits, Veteran Readiness and Employment services, and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Prospective students need a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. Military students can qualify for up to 90 transfer credits for experience and training.

#5 Online College in Arizona

Arizona State University

School Information
Location Scottsdale, Arizona
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 4%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $561-$661
Undergrad, out of state | $561-$661
Graduate, in-state | $543-$1,343
Graduate, out of state | $543-$1,343

One of the top military-friendly colleges, Arizona State University enrolls more than 6,000 military personnel. The school offers nearly 300 online programs and certificates. Military students have access to GI Bill benefits, tuition assistance, the Veterans Educational Assistance Program, and spouse and dependent program benefits. 

ASU is also home to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and provides specialized student services to veterans and active-duty military. Prospective students need a high school or GED diploma for admission. Enrolled students may receive transfer credits for military training and education.

#6 Online College in California

University of Massachusetts Global

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $500
Undergrad, out of state | $500
Graduate, in-state | $680
Graduate, out of state | $680

Formerly known as Brandman University, the University of Massachusetts Global is a military-friendly college with more than 90 online programs. The school offers military transition programs, tuition assistance programs, and tuition discounts of up to 50% for military personnel. 

UMass Global also provides GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program benefits, support for military spouses and dependents, and education assistance programs. Prospective students need a high school diploma with a 2.0 minimum GPA for admission.

#7 Online College in Maryland

University of Maryland Global Campus

School Information
Location Adelphi, Maryland
Graduation Rate 15%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $306
Undergrad, out of state | $499
Graduate, in-state | $504
Graduate, out of state | $659

The University of Maryland Global Campus is a military-friendly college that provides reduced tuition and tuition assistance programs for active-duty personnel and veterans. The school also provides military benefits through GI Bill programs, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and military scholarships. Learners can choose from more than 90 online programs.

Prospective students need a high school diploma or (or the equivalent) for admission. Admitted students may receive transfer credits for their military experience and training.

#8 Online College in New York

Syracuse University

School Information
Location Syracuse, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $1,864
Undergrad, out of state | $1,864
Graduate, in-state | $1,734
Graduate, out of state | $1,734

One of the top military-friendly colleges, Syracuse University runs nearly 60 online programs. Syracuse students can access Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits, tuition assistance programs, and the Yellow Ribbon Program. GI Bill benefits are also available — Syracuse helped create the original bill in 1944.

Prospective students need a high school or GED diploma and standardized test scores for entry. Military students may qualify for experiential transfer credits.

#9 Online College in New Jersey

Thomas Edison State University

School Information
Location Trenton, New Jersey
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in-state | $399
Undergrad, out of state | $519
Graduate, in-state | $668-$905
Graduate, out of state | $668-$905

Thomas Edison State University is a military-friendly college with more than 100 online programs and certificates. The school offers discounted tuition rates, tuition assistance programs, and scholarships for military personnel. TESU also provides GI Bill and Veterans Affairs benefits and support for military spouses and dependents. 

Prospective students need a high school or GED diploma for admission. Once admitted, military students connect with a military-specific advisor. They may qualify for transfer credits for their experience and training.

Important Factors for Military Students Choosing a College

Major and Degree Offerings: Not all colleges and universities feature similar programs, so make sure your prospective schools offer the major and degree you seek. Many military and veteran students pursue majors that align with skills they cultivated while in service. Popular choices include criminal justice, education, and business. Others gravitate toward aviation, skilled trades, or health care.

Accreditation: Check your prospective schools' accreditation status and performance measures before choosing where to apply. The top military colleges hold institutional accreditation from regional accrediting organizations. Consult the Department of Education's College Scorecard to compare military-friendly colleges' performance metrics.

Veteran and Military Programs and Services: Some online colleges support veteran students by participating in the Eight Keys to Veterans Success and Principles of Excellence programs. Military-friendly features may include veteran resource centers, student veteran associations, and student veterans' lounges. Some military-friendly colleges provide tuition discounts, Yellow Ribbon Program funding, and transfer credit for veterans.

Cost: Military students usually qualify for significant financial assistance through various programs, including the GI Bill® and the Tuition Assistance Top-Up. However, many colleges charge high prices for tuition, room and board, and university fees. Learners hoping to avoid student loan debt should still pay attention to tuition price tags. In-state public institutions provide the most affordable degrees, but rates vary considerably by state.

School Size and Location: Learning atmospheres differ significantly between large universities and small colleges. Big schools often provide more degree options and student resources, while smaller schools may offer more individualized attention and mentorship. Urban schools connect enrollees to more cultural and career opportunities, while rural schools may better suit learners who prefer natural beauty and small-town culture.

Transfer Credits: Military students should also consider whether their previous college credits will transfer over when selecting an online college. Elaine Gargiulo, director of military and veterans services at New Jersey City University, states, "Often military-affiliated students move around a lot, so if a university is willing to recognize what they've done elsewhere and help them graduate in a timely fashion, navigating them through the process, they'll not only attend the college, but they'll also recruit other soldiers on your behalf".

Frequently Asked Questions About Military-Friendly Colleges

Is military college free? true

Military schools such as the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy serve current and future service members. Enrollees receive free or mostly-free tuition, plus room, board, and benefits. Benefits usually include dental and medical care. The U.S. Airforce Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy also cover enrollees' tuition, room, and board.

Military students and veterans also may attend free college at non-military institutions through the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance Top-Up, or ROTC programs.

Do all colleges accept military tuition assistance? true

Military-friendly online colleges usually accept military financial aid programs such as the GI Bill. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lists GI Bill-approved schools. Some military-friendly colleges participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps military and veteran students pay for education costs that the GI Bill does not cover.

The Tuition Assistance Top-Up program supplements the Department of Defense's Tuition Assistance Program and may refund tuition for military students. Consult the Department of Veteran Affairs for education and training benefits information. You can also read our guide to financial aid for military students and student veterans.

How hard is it to get into a military college? true

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that military academies only accept around 10% of applicants, although the exact acceptance rate varies by academy and year. This puts military academies on par with some of the nation's most competitive colleges and universities.

Meet The Professional

Portrait of Elaine Gargiulo

Elaine Gargiulo

Elaine Gargiulo is the director of military and veterans services at New Jersey City University, where she brings with her 20+ years of experience in working with veterans, service members, and their families. Her background and knowledge allows her to provide multiple one-stop services for her students. An alumnus of NJCU, where she received her MA in educational psychology, Gargiulo has served the university in various capacities over the years. She is currently serving her eighth term as the president of the New Jersey Association of Veterans Program Administrators — a group of educators and community providers in the state of New Jersey dedicated to serving the educational and social needs of the military population.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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