2019 Most Affordable Military-Friendly Online Colleges

By the OnlineU team | Updated 6/11/2021
2019 Most Affordable Military Friendly Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 6/11/2021

Military-friendly online colleges accommodate students and their families through online support, financial aid, and flexibility, while fostering a strong military culture. The schools on this list represent the most affordable military-friendly colleges for online degrees. To qualify, schools must offer at least 10 fully online degree programs and participate in the government's Tuition Assistance program. We calculated a Military-Friendly Score for these colleges by comparing 15 key data points using the GI Bill Comparison Tool. We then compared the costs of the top schools and ranked them by affordability.

You may find it useful to weigh Military-Friendly Scores against the cost of tuition. Western Governors University (WGU) features the lowest tuition at $6,380 annually, and a Military-Friendly Score of 90.85. The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) earned the highest Military-Friendly Score, though its yearly tuition is more than twice that of WGU. Elsewhere on this page, we provide an overview of military-friendly online colleges, along with information about financial aid and whether an online degree will be worth it.

We've provided information about our ranked schools below. We've also compiled a list of the overall most affordable colleges. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition Military-Friendly Score
# 1 #1 Western Governors University $6,380 90.85
# 2 #2 Columbia Southern University $6,750 96.76
# 3 #3 American Public University System $8,100 98.27
# 4 #4 Grantham University $8,215 86.48
# 5 #5 Indiana University - Bloomington $9,460 89.66
# 6 #6 Thomas Edison State University $9,967 86.07
# 7 #7 Arizona State University $10,104 99.37
# 8 #8 Colorado State University Global $10,500 85.33
# 9 #9 Mississippi State University $11,036 85.55
# 10 #10 Norwich University $11,250 92.10
# 11 #11 University of Massachusetts-Lowell $11,400 85.10
# 12 #12 University of North Texas $11,520 91.03
# 13 #13 University of Kansas $11,592 88.52
# 14 #14 Old Dominion University $11,670 97.88
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide $11,700 88.63
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) Liberty University $11,700 99.46
# 17 #17 University of Kentucky $12,070 86.35
# 18 #18 Eastern Kentucky University $12,270 87.42
# 19 #19 University of Alabama at Birmingham $13,230 89.56
# 20 #20 Bellevue University $13,280 94.02
# 21 #21 University of Colorado Denver $14,940 92.38
# 22 #22 University of Maryland Global Campus $14,970 99.49
# 23 #23 Excelsior College $15,300 85.99
# 24 #24 San Diego State University $15,642 87.01
#1
#1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City (UT)
Annual Tuition: $6,380
Annual Tuition: $6,380
Annual Tuition: $6,380

Western Governors University is an innovative online school with a longstanding reputation for supporting veterans and active duty military students. It offers flat rate tuition and has a unique, competency-based approach to learning. The Department of Veterans Affairs has endorsed every one of its degree programs for eligibility for GI Bill benefits. WGU also has a Military Support department that is dedicated to assisting military personnel with their applications for tuition assistance and making... sure that they are familiar with applicable military scholarships. The department catalog offers dozens of different 100% online bachelor's and master's degree programs. Prospective students signing up for the school's online mailing list will receive a $65 fee waiver code.

  • Online Degrees: 37
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 88,921
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 32,516
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • B.A. Elementary Ed
  • B.A. in Special Education (Mild to Moderate)
  • B.A. in Special Education and Elementary Education (Dual Licensure)
  • B.A. Special Education (K-12)
  • B.S. Accounting
  • B.S. Business - Healthcare Management
#2
#2

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach (AL)
Annual Tuition: $6,750
Annual Tuition: $6,750
Annual Tuition: $6,750

Private, online Columbia Southern University offers an array of accredited associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, and certificate programs to distance students of all types. Application fees are waived for all military personnel, and library fees are also waived for those receiving Military Tuition Assistance. In addition, the cost per credit for undergraduate classes is less than the mandated Tuition Assistance limit of $250. CSU has a downloadable course catalog, offers flexible learning formats,... and requires no test scores for admission. Textbooks are provided through the CSU Book Grant.

  • Online Degrees: 30
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 27%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 15,245
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,859
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • B.S. Business Administration
  • B.S. Business Administration-Finance
  • B.S. Business Administration-Hospitality and Tourism
  • B.S. Business Administration-Human Resource Management
  • B.S. Business Administration-Information Technology
  • B.S. Business Administration-International Management
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $8,100
Annual Tuition: $8,100
Annual Tuition: $8,100

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, American Public University System offers over 200 online degree and certificate programs. Students affiliated with the military receive free textbooks and ebooks, and grants cover technology fees for active military personnel. AMU honors the G.I. Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, as well as the Military Tuition Assistance cap of $250 per credit hour for undergraduate tuition. Academic advisors assist all online students with planning their courses, understanding... policies and procedures, and becoming fluent with the online campus.

  • Online Degrees: 186
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,746
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 8,342
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor in Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor in Arts in Communication - Digital Communication and Media Design
  • Bachelor in Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Management
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Management - Logistics and Supply Chain Management
#4
#4

Grantham University

Kansas City (KS)
Annual Tuition: $8,215
Annual Tuition: $8,215
Annual Tuition: $8,215

Grantham University is fully online and is dedicated to helping the underserved get educated. Its benefits start with low tuition and over 50 degree and certificate programs in four different colleges, and also include special rates and free textbooks and software for veterans and active military. Credit can also be granted for life experience and training, and the university has a dedicated Veteran Support Team. Resources for distance learners include ebooks, assistance with entering the civilian... workforce, and free webinars. Courses are eight weeks in length and start every month. Classes allow for flexible log-in with no fixed daily start times.

  • Online Degrees: 30
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 6,707
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,352
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminal Justice w/ Computer Forensic Investigation
  • BA in Criminal Justice w/ Homeland Security
  • BA in General Studies
  • BA in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • BA in Multidisciplinary Studies - Homeland Security
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $9,460
Annual Tuition: $9,460
Annual Tuition: $9,460

Founded in 1820, Indiana University - Bloomington now has almost 200 years of teaching credibility to its name. Through its IU Online campus, it offers over 120 online degrees in subjects ranging from applied science and business to labor studies and philanthropy. Many classes are asynchronous, allowing distance students to create their own work and study schedules to fit their active lives. Veterans Support Services assists students with military affiliation in obtaining VA benefits and financial... assistance, as well as with enrollment. They also provide resources for counseling and rehabilitation and legal help.

  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 78%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Average SATs: 1150 -1360
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 99
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,689
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $9,967
Annual Tuition: $9,967
Annual Tuition: $9,967

Thomas Edison State University offers a number of online associate, bachelor's, and graduate programs. Bachelor's degrees include Accounting, Information Technology, History, and Criminal Justice, among others. Some popular online graduate degrees include Business Administration, Nursing, Public Service Leadership, and Educational Leadership. Thomas Edison s tuition plans are unique in that students can choose either a per-credit or comprehensive tuition plan. They also have programs designed specifically... for each branch of the military and are a member of the Navy College and GoArmyEd programs.

  • Online Degrees: 44
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 10,140
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 696
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
#7
#7

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Annual Tuition: $10,104
Annual Tuition: $10,104
Annual Tuition: $10,104

Arizona State University offers over 175 online degree programs with six start dates per year. Online undergraduate degrees include Business Administration, Community Health, Economics, and Geography. Graduate degrees offered by ASU include Forensic Psychology, Health Informatics, Nutrition, and Sociology. Undergraduate courses cost between $520 - $728 per credit hour, while graduate degrees cost $522 - $1,397. If you are a resident student, the college caps your tuition at 10 undergraduate or 11... graduate credits, but there is no cap for non-resident students. Arizona State University offers the Military Active Duty and Reservist Commitment Scholarship, which covers all out-of-pocket tuition expenses for qualified students seeking an undergraduate degree.

  • Online Degrees: 103
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Average SATs: 1091 -1298
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,353
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 9,021
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BA in Anthropology
  • BA in Art
  • BA in Art - Museum Studies
  • BA in Art History
  • BA in Biochemistry
  • BA in Business
#8
#8

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
Annual Tuition: $10,500
Annual Tuition: $10,500
Annual Tuition: $10,500

Colorado State University Global (CSU Global) is the first 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States. Undergraduate students who are interested in a fully online degree can choose from Accounting, Criminal Justice, Information Technology, and Project Management, among others. Students interested in fully online graduate degrees can choose from Data Analytics, Finance, Information Technology Management, and Organizational Leadership, among others. Currently, undergraduate... degree programs cost $350 per credit hour and graduate degrees cost $500 per credit hour. Most active-duty military and veterans can receive a 10% tuition discount.

  • Online Degrees: 27
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,054
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,422
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BS - Accounting
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Communication
  • BS - Computer Science
  • BS - Computer Science - Intelligence and Homeland Security
  • BS - Criminal Justice
#9
#9

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State (MS)
Annual Tuition: $11,036
Annual Tuition: $11,036
Annual Tuition: $11,036

Mississippi State University s Center for Distance Education offers bachelor's degree programs in Business Administration, Geosciences, Industrial Technology, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Elementary Education. They offer even more master's programs, including General Biology, Instructional Technology, Civil Engineering, and Workforce Education Leadership, among others. MSU has quite a few doctoral programs as well, such as Computational Engineering, Community College Leadership, Industrial and... Systems Engineering, and Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering. Undergraduate online courses cost between $342 and $356 per credit hour. Graduate courses cost between $456 and $474 per credit hour. MSU's Center for America's Veterans offers comprehensive counseling to eligible students.

  • Online Degrees: 10
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1330
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 812
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 973
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education - Early Childhood
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education - Middle School
#10
#10

Norwich University

Northfield (VT)
Annual Tuition: $11,250
Annual Tuition: $11,250
Annual Tuition: $11,250

Norwich University has been offering online education programs since 1998. They have online bachelor s degrees in Criminal Justice, Management Studies, Cyber Security, National Security Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis. Master s degrees include Civil Engineering, Military History, Nursing, Strategic Studies, and Executive Leadership, among other degrees. Most bachelor s degree programs cost about $375 per credit hour, or $250 for active military students.... Master s programs vary in pricing but generally cost between $662 and $825 per credit hour. Norwich helps veterans receive credits for their military experience. They also have an online master's scholarship for service members, which provides $1,200 in scholarship money.

  • Online Degrees: 20
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 674
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 799
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Financial Services Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Leadership Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Procurement and Contract Management
#11
#11
Annual Tuition: $11,400
Annual Tuition: $11,400
Annual Tuition: $11,400

UMass Lowell offers over 50 graduate and undergraduate degrees online. Undergraduate degrees include Psychology, Web Development, Homeland Security, and Paralegal Studies. They offer graduate degrees in Business, Criminal Justice, Clinical Pathology, Education, and Autism, among other subjects. Online undergraduate courses cost $380 per credit hour and online graduate courses cost $575 per credit hour. Online graduate Education courses are slightly less expensive, costing $470 per credit hour, and... online Business courses are slightly more expensive, costing $655 per credit hour. UMASS Lowell's Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Education Program counsels veterans about the best career and education paths for them.

  • Online Degrees: 19
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Average SATs: 1150 -1320
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,209
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,894
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts - Art History
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts - Economics
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts - English
#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $11,520
Annual Tuition: $11,520
Annual Tuition: $11,520

The University of North Texas offers several online bachelor's and master's degrees. Undergraduate students can receive degrees in Criminal Justice, Rehabilitation Studies, Information Science, and Applied Arts & Sciences. Their online graduate Education program is particularly robust, offering degrees in Early Childhood Education, Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Education in Curriculum & Instruction, to name only a few. Students interested in Education can take courses in ESL Pedagogy,... Teaching Diverse Populations, Theory of Teaching, Curriculum Development, and Class Management, among other courses. UNT offers enrollment support and education benefits to veterans. For their commitment and service to military members, The Military Order of the Purple Heart named UNT a Purple Heart University on May 3, 2018.

  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Average SATs: 1060 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,619
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,283
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Learning Technologies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Science & Applied Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies
#13
#13

University of Kansas

Lawrence (KS)
Annual Tuition: $11,592
Annual Tuition: $11,592
Annual Tuition: $11,592

University of Kansas's online courses are offered in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Online undergraduate degrees are offered in their School of Nursing, School of Health Professions, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Their online graduate degrees are offered out of 10 colleges including their School of Nursing, School of Social Welfare, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Education, and School of Health Professions, among other colleges. The University of Kansas... works with Fort Leavenworth's Army Command and General Staff College to help military students receive the higher education that they need. Their Lt. Gen. William K. Jones Military-Affiliated Student Center provides military members with transition and graduate counseling.

  • Online Degrees: 7
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 580
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,461
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science
  • Bachelor of General Studies in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of General Studies in Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management (RHIT to RHIA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
#14
#14
Annual Tuition: $11,670
Annual Tuition: $11,670
Annual Tuition: $11,670

Old Dominion University's bachelor's programs include Marketing Education, Cybersecurity, Embedded Systems Technology, Modeling and Simulation Engineering, Sociology, and Psychology. Their master s degrees include Business Administration, Computer Science, Mathematics Specialist, Public Health, and Sport Management, among other degrees. They also have Doctorate programs in English, Nursing, Public Administration, Technology Education, Community College Leadership, Educational Leadership. Undergraduate... classes cost $389 per credit hour for out-of-state tuition and $352 per credit hour for in-state tuition. Graduate courses are slightly more expensive, costing $568 per credit hour for out-of-state tuition and $523 per credit hour for in-state tuition. The ODU Military Scholarship provides $1,000 to veterans and current military members. Their Military Connection Center offers tuition and transition counseling to military students.

  • Online Degrees: 83
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,736
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,275
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Communication Studies: Relating Across the Lifespan (Degree Completion)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Media Studies (Degree Completion)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication (Degree Completion)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Degree Completion)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography (Degree completion)
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Annual Tuition: $11,700

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers online courses in nine-week sessions, with multiple start times throughout the year. There are 16 available online undergraduate degree programs, including Bachelor of Science degrees in Communication, Engineering, Aviation Security, Aeronautics, and Homeland Security, among others. Active duty service members who study at Embry-Riddle will always be able to get their tuition fees refunded if they are unable to complete a class due to military service,... and their online programs are so flexible that many students are able to complete their classes while on the front line.

  • Online Degrees: 40
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 20%
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,803
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,398
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics - Aviation
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics/Master of Aeronautical Science 4+1 Program
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance - Management
#15
#15

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Annual Tuition: $11,700

Liberty University goes the distance in making online degrees accessible to its students. It doesn't require standardized testing, and it allows students to transfer in as much as 75% of an undergraduate degree (and up to 50% of a graduate degree). Special military pricing makes Liberty s nationally recognized courses affordable, and most courses are taught in an eight-week format 100% online. There are eight start dates per year. The Military Affairs Office ensures that veterans and active military... receive full access to pertinent support services and connect with the school's military community. Military students have access to special academic opportunities through LU's military partnerships and programs.

  • Online Degrees: 141
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Average SATs: 970 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 32,610
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 31,396
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BEd in Middle Education
  • BEd: Business Education 6-12
  • BEd: Elementary Education - Middle Grades English
  • BEd: Elementary Education - Middle Grades Math
  • BEd: Elementary Education - Middle Grades Science
  • BEd: Elementary Education - Middle Grades Social Science
#17
#17

University of Kentucky

Lexington (KY)
Annual Tuition: $12,070
Annual Tuition: $12,070
Annual Tuition: $12,070

Regionally-accredited University of Kentucky has over 200 degree programs, many of which are fully online. Online degrees range from a Bachelor's in Medical Laboratory Science and a Master's in Manufacturing Systems Engineering to a Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management. Military-friendly benefits offered by the school include in-state tuition for active duty stationed in Kentucky and their families, as well as in-state tuition for distance students using GI Bill benefits. UK offers... Distance Learning Library Services, which include access to research databases and interlibrary loans, to all online students. Online proctoring for tests is also available.

  • Online Degrees: 16
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Average SATs: 1080 -1300
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 309
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,313
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Accelerated BSN
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Human Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in General Business
  • Bachelor of Arts in Information Communication Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Information Communication Technology - Information Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
#18
#18
Annual Tuition: $12,270
Annual Tuition: $12,270
Annual Tuition: $12,270

Eastern Kentucky University is an accredited school with a big online presence. Through its EKU Online portal, the university offers dozens of 100% online degrees. Online associate degrees require 64 credit hours for completion, while bachelor's degrees require 120. Distance master's and doctorates require varying numbers of credits, depending on the program. There are six start dates per year. There is a flat rate tuition for all distance students, regardless of physical location, though that rate... varies depending on the program and the number of credits required for completion. EKU has a 70-year tradition of helping military and veteran students. Its acclaimed one-stop Veterans Success Center assists veterans with their lifestyle changes. Active duty military members receive reduced tuition.

  • Online Degrees: 36
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Average SATs: 1020 -1190
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,175
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,403
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BA in Communication Studies
  • BA in General Studies
  • BA in Paralegal Science
  • BA in Political Science
  • BA in Political Science - American Institutions/Law
  • BA in Political Science - International Relations and Comparative Politics
#19
#19
Annual Tuition: $13,230
Annual Tuition: $13,230
Annual Tuition: $13,230

With an enrollment of over 20,000, University of Alabama at Birmingham has a legacy of providing its military students with special resources. UAB Salute is a program that allows active duty, reserve, and retired military personnel to use their military benefits to pursue online or blended degrees from remote locations worldwide. UAB's Office of Veteran Recruitment and Student Services provides active and former military with assistance including tutoring, access to military scholarships, and a work-study... program. UAB Online has a very robust course catalog that includes dozens of undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide array of disciplines and subjects.

  • Online Degrees: 29
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 92%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1240
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,442
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,161
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • BS in Accounting
  • BS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting
  • BS in Accounting - Information Technology Auditing
  • BS in Business (Concentration Undecided)
  • BS in Community Health & Human Services - Human Services
  • BS in Criminal Justice
#20
#20

Bellevue University

Bellevue (NE)
Annual Tuition: $13,280
Annual Tuition: $13,280
Annual Tuition: $13,280

Accredited, non-profit Bellevue University provides for students of all types, including distance and military students. Its in-class and online degrees are indistinguishable. Online classes include videos, tutorials, and tutoring, and allow for 24/7 support and library access. All online students participate in web forums, and can choose from cohort or traditional programs, depending on their schedules and lifestyles. Military personnel receive reduced tuition and the option to pursue accelerated... degree programs. Bellevue University's vast catalog offers distance students a selection of online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees of all types, in subjects ranging from software development and graphic design to liberal studies and strategic marketing.

  • Online Degrees: 85
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 0%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,052
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,638
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems - Applications Development
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems - Business Intelligence
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems - Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems - Networking
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
#21
#21
Annual Tuition: $14,940
Annual Tuition: $14,940
Annual Tuition: $14,940

The University of Colorado at Denver offers online bachelor's of arts degrees in International Studies, Public Service, English Writing, and Integrated Studies, among other majors. They also offer bachelor of science degrees in Human Development and Family Relations and Nursing. Their online graduate degrees include Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Information and Learning Technologies, Curriculum and Instruction, and E-Learning. They also offer a Ph.D. in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing... Practice (DNP). The University of College at Denver will accept up to 90 credits from students' military training. Their CSU-Global Campus Military Outreach and Benefits Office is devoted to helping military members with tuition, financial aid, and admission.

  • Online Degrees: 27
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average SATs: 1020 -1210
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 967
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,453
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Community Service and Public Affairs
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Global & Intercultural Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Health Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Media & Cultural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
#22
#22
Annual Tuition: $14,970
Annual Tuition: $14,970
Annual Tuition: $14,970

University of Maryland Global Campus currently offers over 90 online and hybrid courses. Bachelor s degrees include Investigative Forensics, Public Safety Administration, Information Systems Management, and Gerontology and Aging Services, among other degrees. Their master s degrees include Environmental Management, Cloud Computing Architecture, Cybersecurity Technology, and Data Analytics. They also have doctorate degrees in Management and Management in Community College Policy and Administration.... The school offers the Maryland Completion Scholarship, which allows qualified students to receive their bachelor s degree for $12,000 or less. Their transfer credit program allows military students to receive credit for their military service and fast-track their degree. Also, military members can receive up to 100% tuition assistance for their undergraduate degree.

  • Online Degrees: 44
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 53%
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 36,550
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 11,882
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies - China
  • Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies - Japan
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Communication
#23
#23

Excelsior College

Albany (NY)
Annual Tuition: $15,300
Annual Tuition: $15,300
Annual Tuition: $15,300

Excelsior College is a non-profit online institution that offers bachelor s and master s degrees in over 30 majors. Business programs include Logistics Management, Accounting, Marketing, and Finance, among others. Their liberal arts degrees include History, Population Health, Professional and Technical Writing, and Logistics. They also have master s degrees in Criminal Justice, Nursing Education, Health Care Administration, and Cybersecurity, to name a few. The bachelor of science in technology management... has a number of concentrations, including electric technology, nuclear technology, information technology, and renewable energy technology. Excelsior College has partnered with many military organizations to provide student tuition discounts. Tuition is currently set at $250 per credit hour for military students, and the application is free.

  • Online Degrees: 47
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 27,207
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,801
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Business and Management
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management - Electrical Technology
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management - Nuclear Technology
#24
#24
Annual Tuition: $15,642
Annual Tuition: $15,642
Annual Tuition: $15,642

San Diego State University s College of Extended Studies offers online degrees in Business Administration, Educational Leadership, Hospitality, Public Health, and Regulatory Affairs. Students interested in the Master's of Public Health degree can finish their coursework in 18 months, taking two three-unit courses per session, and completing 51 units total. The cost per unit is currently $562. They also have online career training programs that allow students to gain the experience they need for a... new degree in six to 18 months. SDSU accepts late admissions for active duty service members and veterans. They also offer direct admission to military members who are leaving the service soon.

  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Acceptance Rate: 35%
  • Average SATs: 1110 -1310
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 344
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 302
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC

Online Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Overview of Military-Friendly Online Colleges

A 2020 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revealed that almost 1.2 million U.S. military personnel studied for an undergraduate degree in 2015-2016. This number includes 293,000 active-duty personnel, 29,200 National Guard or Reserves members, and 870,500 military veterans. About 22% of these military-affiliated students were enrolled in a fully online undergraduate program in this academic year, or about 262,000 total.

22% of 1.2 Million U.S. Military Personnel Pursued an Online Degree

To help these students, we created the Military-Friendly Score. We considered several key factors in this calculation, including:

  • A transfer and prior-learning policy that accepts credits from military coursework and training
  • Advisors and counselors knowledgeable in supporting military students
  • Participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program that provides supplemental financial aid on top of the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Support From Online Colleges for Military-Affiliated Online Students

Because of the unique demands of their careers, military service members and their families need special support from their colleges. This includes employees who understand the intricacies of short- and long-term deployments, the complexities of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the roles of Educational Services Officers (ESOs). In fact, one of our ranking considerations is the presence of dedicated staff who are available to answer questions and provide academic support to military students. Schools that provide this kind of support typically make it easy for military students to get in touch with these employees through easy-to-find contact information. Thomas Edison State University is an example of a school on our list that does this.

One of our ranking considerations is the presence of dedicated staff who are available to answer questions and provide academic support to military students.

Military-friendly colleges also have policies to help students navigate unexpected situations, such as sudden temporary additional duty orders (TDYs). Many schools waive penalties for late assignments or discussion posts that a student misses while on a TDY. Colleges earn greater Military Friendly Scores if their staff and faculty are experienced at working with students' ESOs to schedule make-up work.

Another consideration is a school's prior-learning and transfer policies. Many service members accrue valuable knowledge and skills through non-academic training, and colleges often recognize this by applying these military experiences toward academic credits. Advisers may work with the student to receive and evaluate their official service transcript. All of these factors — dedicated staff, caring leave policies, and generous credit transfers — are crucial to calculating a college's Military Friendly Score.

Financial Assistance at Military-Friendly Online Colleges

The cost of a college degree can be a considerable investment for students, and may deter some from pursuing higher education. Of the military-friendly online colleges on our list, the median annual tuition rate is $11,556. This is a bit lower than the median annual tuition for online bachelor's degrees, which is $13,919.

Graph Showing Median Annual Tuition of Online Bachelor's Degrees at Military-Friendly Colleges vs All Colleges

Online programs can cost less than comparable in-person versions, so it makes sense for cost-conscious applicants to consider distance learning. Even so, military students may wonder whether they will be eligible for financial assistance that can further reduce these costs.

The large majority of college students receive financial aid to help them attend school. Below we detail some financial considerations for military students, including college discounts, the possibility of free degrees, and the GI Bills.

Do Colleges Give Military Discounts for Online Students?

While most financial aid for military students comes from the government, some colleges also offer discounts for online military students. Schools may provide reduced tuition rates for service members, military spouses, and dependent children, or they may waive certain fees for these same students. The most common tuition discount is a per-credit cap of $250 for active-duty service members, much lower than the median per-credit cost of $449 for online bachelor's degrees. Columbia Southern University is an example of a college from our list that offers a tuition cap and also waives application and library fees for military students and their family members.

Other schools offer military scholarships intended to cover any gaps left by military aid programs. These colleges usually consider military students for these scholarships automatically as part of their financial aid applications. Students will generally need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enroll in the federal Tuition Assistance program to provide their service history.

Are There Free Online Colleges for Military Students and Veterans?

Veteran students may be able to earn a tuition-free online degree if they enroll in schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon program or in public schools in select states. Yellow Ribbon schools agree to cover funding gaps left by the Post-9/11 GI Bill for a prescribed number of service members and veterans each year. These students may receive a complete tuition waiver, and some schools also cover some or all fees.

Yellow Ribbon Qualifications

Veterans can qualify for Yellow Ribbon benefits if they either served for three years in the period after September 11, 2001 or served at least 30 days during this period and received an honorary disability-related discharge. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) maintains a searchable catalog of participating colleges.

Some states also offer discounts to veterans through their public university systems, which may allow them to attend college without paying tuition. States usually detail such waivers on the websites for their state departments of veterans affairs. Prospective students should review each state they're interested in, because eligibility rules vary. For example, Illinois offers the Illinois Veterans' Grant to veterans who lived in the state before enlisting and who returned there within six months after discharge, whereas Washington only requires that the student maintain a fixed and permanent home in the state while attending college.

GI Bills

Since 1944, the federal government has provided education benefits to active-duty service members and honorably discharged veterans. Currently, students may be covered under the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which both allow for at least some coverage for college tuition, books, and fees for 36 months.

In general, military personnel can qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill if they've served at least two years and can qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if they've served at least three years after September 11, 2001. Students who qualify for maximum coverage can get in-state public college tuition completely covered, or up to about $25,000 at private schools. The eligibility requirements and coverage options for each bill are complex and full of exceptions, so it's best to check with a qualified ESO or DVA benefits advisor to determine the best path.

Is an Online Degree Worth It for Military Personnel?

An accredited online degree is worth the cost and effort for many service members and veterans, because these students receive special financial incentives to attend college and can enjoy great career benefits. A civilian degree might help active-duty military personnel climb the ranks; each service looks favorably on civilian degrees during promotion reviews, and service members can pitch their education as a strength when pursuing special assignments. A degree is also required for enlisted personnel who are seeking an officer's commission.

A civilian degree might help active-duty military personnel climb the ranks.

About 250,000 military personnel leave the service each year, and a college education is just as useful for their post-military career as it is for civilians. A bachelor's degree usually leads to a median $26,000 more each year than professionals earn with a high school diploma. College graduates also enjoy an unemployment rate that's 1.5% lower. Military students can choose a major with an eye on some of the most promising career paths for veterans, which include fast-growing fields such as healthcare administration and information technology.

Online degrees provide flexibility for military students who can't be sure that they'll be living in the same area for more than two years at a time. Service members studying on campus may be forced to transfer credits if they receive new duty orders, which can be disruptive to their education. Online learning provides continuity by allowing students to complete coursework from anywhere with an internet connection.

Online degrees carry potential downsides as well. The greater flexibility comes at the cost of human interaction, and students forego potential networking opportunities they might experience on campus. Further, military-affiliated students should be wary of aggressive courting from for-profit schools, who have historically been able to earn more money from the government if they accept a certain number of students using the GI Bills. Although Congress fixed this technicality in 2021, it's always helpful to research real student experiences at a given school and review GPAs and graduation rates of military students where available. Ultimately, prospective students must decide for themselves whether the online format is right for them, but it's an option worth considering.