Free Online College For Veterans

Last Updated on May 26, 2024 by Team College Learners

Rhode Island offers free college tuition for veterans through the Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver at public colleges and universities. This initiative provides an opportunity for veterans to pursue higher education without the financial burden of tuition fees. Additionally, online universities like Drexel and Brandman University offer convenient options for active duty servicemen and women to earn a degree from anywhere in the world.

To be eligible for Rhode Island’s Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver, veterans must provide proof of disability status and meet residency requirements. In addition, they may need to submit documentation of their military service and honorable discharge. For online universities like Drexel and Brandman University, admission requirements typically include a high school diploma or GED, official transcripts, and possibly standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT.

The admission process for Drexel and Brandman University usually involves submitting an online application, transcripts, and any required supporting documents. Veterans seeking to take advantage of free tuition programs like the Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver in Rhode Island should carefully review the specific eligibility criteria and application instructions provided by the university of their choice.

Military Friendly Online Colleges

Online colleges and universities targeting veterans and military personnel provide financial, academic, and transition programs to help meet the unique needs of these students.

Students considering attending online colleges for military personnel at the undergraduate level typically need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts. They may also need to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and/or an essay. Some programs also require applicants to meet a minimum GPA.

This guide ranks the best online colleges for military personnel and veterans. It also covers information on financial aid opportunities for military and veteran students.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that bachelor’s degree-holders earn significantly higher median weekly salaries than workers without the degree. Earning a bachelor’s during or after military service gives veterans and military personnel the knowledge and skill set they need to smoothly transition into civilian life.

Top 10 Online Colleges for Veterans and Military Personnel

1Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO
2Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
3Keiser University- Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL
4Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MO
5LeTourneau UniversityLongview, TX
6Regis UniversityDenver, CO
7Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO
8Roger Williams UniversityBristol, RI
9Rutgers University – New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ
10University of ArizonaTucson, AZ

Is online college the right choice for military personnel?

Can you do online college while in the military?

Yes, many schools offer online programs that allow military students to earn a degree from where they are stationed.

What is the best online college for veterans?The best online college for veterans depends on the needs and interests of each student. However, ideal schools typically offer financial, academic, and transition programs catered to the unique needs of this student population.

Does the VA pay for online school?Yes, the VA offers several financial assistance programs that veterans can use to help pay for their education.

What schools accept military tuition assistance?All types of schools recognized by the Department of Education accept military tuition assistance, including two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Why veterans should consider online degrees

Accredited online colleges for military personnel and veterans provide the same educational quality and rigor as on-campus programs. Most military tuition assistance programs offer financial support for students pursuing degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Some financial aid packages cover housing costs as well.

The flexibility of online programs allows military students to balance their studies with military responsibilities. Online programs also allow military students to earn a degree from almost anywhere that they are stationed. Veterans and active service members can pursue an online degree in virtually any field of study available to non-military students.

For military personnel, online degrees have a ton of benefits

Highly TransportableActive service members tend to move around a lot. The flexibility of online programs helps these students keep up with course requirements, meet deadlines, and graduate with their peers no matter where in the world they are deployed.Transition to Civilian LifeMany schools with online programs for veterans offer helpful resources such as career counseling to help students transition to life outside of the military.More Secure EmploymentBachelor’s degree-holders usually earn higher salaries and enjoy more employment opportunities than non-degree-holders.Improve Professional OptionsEmployers often promote bachelor’s-trained employees to management positions and leadership roles.Prepare for Graduate SchoolA bachelor’s degree provides the educational training needed to pursue graduate school.

Do online schools have requirements for veterans?

Online colleges for military personnel and veterans typically require applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts. Applicants may also need to submit letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and/or an essay.

Once admitted, students must meet coursework and GPA requirements. Some programs require an internship or practicum, which online students can typically complete in their local area.

Montgomery GI Bill

Signed into law in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) originally provided funds to cover college tuition, home loans, and unemployment benefits for veterans. It has since expanded to include other programs for active-duty service members (MGIB-AD) and service reservists (MGIB-SR).

Service members who qualify for the MGIB-AD program receive educational benefits for 36 months, which they can use over a 10-year period. The MGIB-SR program comes with a smaller educational allotment, but both programs are adjusted each October to reflect the rising cost of education and training. Recipients can apply their educational benefits toward a two- or four-year college program, as well as technical and vocational programs.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill grants educational benefits to service members who have served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. Benefits cover full tuition and fees at public universities. Recipients can transfer unused portions of their benefits to dependents. The program also includes a housing allowance. Similar to the MGIB, the program allows recipients to apply their educational benefits toward any type of degree or training program. Recipients can apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill by mail or online.

Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits do not expire. Reservists and Guard members who meet certain requirements also qualify to receive specific benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill includes the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under this provision, private schools that accept students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits agree to waive all or some of the unmet portion of the tuition. The VA then matches the waived amount and applies that toward the student’s tuition as well.

Additional Resources for Veterans and Military Personnel

The three resources presented below help veterans and military personnel succeed academically and professionally.

  • VetJobsThis website provides access to thousands of military-friendly job opportunities in diverse industries and professional arenas. Active and retired service members as well as reserves and National Guard members can join at no cost.
  • GI Bill Comparison ToolThis site allows GI Bill recipients to compare schools and benefits according to several parameters, such as military status, years of service, and type of program.
  • VFW Student Veterans SupportThis organization supports student veterans with a $5,000 scholarship opportunity, as well as guidance on claiming their GI Bill benefits.

Scholarships for Veterans and Military Personnel

Veterans and military service members can find financial aid programs from several sources, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and professional associations. Many programs extend educational benefits to spouses, dependents, and survivors of honorably discharged veterans and active service members. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for military students.

AFCEA War Veterans Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Active-duty service members and military veterans who served in one of the Overseas Contingency Operations qualify for these scholarships. Applicants must be sophomores or juniors enrolled in an undergraduate STEM program with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $2,500

AMVETS Scholarships

Who Can Apply: American Veterans administers several online scholarships for military personnel and veterans. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit proof of enrollment or acceptance to an approved program of study.
Amount: $4,000

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarships

Who Can Apply: AWF welcomes applications from retired and active-duty women soldiers in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. Direct descendants can also apply. The program allotts funds for certificate programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees. Applicants must show academic promise and demonstrate financial need.
Amount: $1,000-$2,500

Many veterans are looking to receive an education and enter the civilian workforce once they have returned home. In most cases, these veterans have families and other obligations, which make them seek out the best online colleges for veterans, who will work with their benefits and their schedule. The flexibility that comes with online degree programs allows these military veterans the ability to work at their own pace and gives them the ability to restructure their life to fit their personal needs. 

The lifestyles of veterans are often demanding, even after they have retired from the military. Some of our veterans return home to jobs that require twelve-hour shifts that can be overnight (in public service roles such as nurses, EMTs, and law enforcement), making traditional courses undesirable for their lifestyle. The best online colleges for military veterans give them the ability to work with their instructor and classmates around their schedule while gaining the education necessary to further their degree. 

How We Chose the Best Online Colleges for Veterans

To select institutions to highlight as the best online colleges for military veterans, College Consensus editors had a set of criteria for determining military-friendliness. Institutions must have:

  • at least 3 online bachelors degree programs to qualify
  • Servicemember Opportunity Colleges membership
  • Recognized Student Veteran Organization
  • Yellow Ribbon Program participation
  • A staff/faculty support member for veterans and their families
  • Transfer credits for military service and training 

Colleges and universities that met these standards are ranked according to their Consensus Score, using the unique College Consensus methodology. That process should give veteran students confidence that they are choosing a college that not only understands their needs, but have a track record of quality and return on investment. 

Military and veteran students may also be interested in our ranking of the best traditional colleges for veterans.

Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston,

According to US News & World Report, the Citadel is a senior military school that is proud to serve American veterans and is recognized to be among the best online colleges for veterans in the southern United States. The Citadel offers a variety of academic programs during the day and evening as well as online.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs3

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers University has a long history of serving students who have served in the United States Military as the state university of New Jersey. For the past decade, Military Times has ranked Rutgers University among the top fifteen institutions of higher education for military veterans and one of the best online colleges for veterans. Rutgers also offers virtual open houses for veterans interested in one of their programs.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs9

University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa (IVETS) offers a variety of benefits that support students (and their families) as they transition from military paths towards their educational goals & civilian life. As one of Iowa’s best online colleges for veterans, IVETS offers scholarships, career advising, and even employment options to student veterans who are enrolled in a class, certificate or academic degree program.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs4

University of ArizonaTucson, AZ

The University of Arizona’s Veterans Transition Services is ranked among the best online colleges for veterans by US News and Military Times. The University of Arizona’s veterans’ services are designed to support, education and empower each student veteran’s success in academics and to foster student engagement within the university’s community. The University of Arizona participates in the GI Bill and other military-connected benefits.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs24

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been recognized among the best online colleges for veterans in New England. Through the school’s Veteran’s Services, UMass Amherst provides educational benefits, military credits, and a veteran’s resource center to assist student veterans enrolled at UMass.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families, as one of New York’s best online colleges for veterans, provides student veterans with a variety of programs to help each be successful as they reach for education, work (I.e., career training), and life goals. Additionally, Syracuse University provides online resources and cutting-edge networking opportunities through the VETNet online community dedicated to military and veteran families.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Radford UniversityRadford, VA

Through Radford University’s Office of the Registrar, the school offers various veteran (and their dependent) benefits. Radford University is recognized among the Commonwealth of Virginia’s best online colleges for veterans with support services in the area of academics, counseling, tutoring, and career services, among others. The Registrar’s Office is the department in the school that processes all official certification documents.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of Central Florida Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida has been ranked by US News & World Report among the best online colleges for veterans, offering a variety of benefits to students who are transitioning from military life and careers. Additionally, the University of Central Florida is a Yellow Ribbon (for bachelor’s and master’s programs!) and GI Bill-approved school.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs19

George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA

George Mason University’s Office of Military Services has a long history of serving members of all branches of the armed forces. George Mason University has long been considered among Virginia’s best online colleges for veterans, offering career, tutoring, counseling, and career resources to its student veterans.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Webster University is a proud participant of the Veteran’s Administration’s Yellow Ribbon program and among Missouri’s best online colleges for veterans. Webster University also participates in the Post-9/11 Bill, both Montgomery 9/11 Bills, the Veterans Retraining Program, and VEAP – the Veterans Educational Assistance Program.  Education credits may be used for a variety of seminars, classes, and program options.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Rutgers University-NewarkNewark, NJ

Rutgers University Newark’s Resources for Veterans offers an array of programs and support services to those military veterans who wish to enroll in the school’s Newark campus. Rutgers Newark campus has been ranked among the best online colleges for veterans and is renowned for its diversity and ranks among the top colleges in student diversity.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs5

University of UtahSalt Lake City, UT

The University of Utah’s UVET program has been designed to support each student veteran’s academic success as they transition to civilian life. As one of Utah’s best online colleges for veterans, the University of Utah serves as a vital liaison between the university and the school’s community of student veterans.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Colorado State University-Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University’s Military & Veteran Resources is proud to assist veterans and military members in meeting their career & educational objectives. As one of Colorado’s best online colleges for veterans, Colorado State University helps in the creation of a customized academic plan through extensive academic advising services.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Washington State UniversityPullman, WA

Washington State University’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs offers a variety of benefits to reservists, military veterans, active-duty members, and their families. Washington State University has been recognized to be one of the best online colleges for veterans, according to US News and World Report. WSU’s Global Campus offers up to 30 transfer credits from previous Joint Services work if the credits meet WSU’s eligibility requirements.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens Point, WI

The University of Wisconsin’s Stevens Point campus is recognized to be among the best online colleges for veterans and a military-friendly school. The University of Wisconsin’s Veteran Services offers students an array of federal benefits includes the Post 9/11 GI Bill, The Forever GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the Montgomery Bill, to name a few.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Saint Louis University’s Veterans’ Benefits office acts as a liaison for those student veterans interested in attending Saint Louis University. As one of the Midwest’s best online colleges for veterans, Saint Louis University participates in the Veteran’s Administration’s Yellow Ribbon Program, plus it offers a reduced tuition rate for both veterans and active-duty military members. Additionally, the university accepts transfer credits if the credits have been earned through ACE – the American Council of Education.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa,

The Office of Veteran Success at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus offers an array of benefits in support of student veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. As one of the best online colleges for veterans in the Sunshine State, the University of South Florida offers scholarships, tuition assistance, and support services to access a veteran’s educational benefits.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of Oklahoma-Norman CampusNorman,

The Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma’s Veteran Support Alliance was developed to support the needs of those student veterans enrolled in a degree or certificate program at the university. Additionally, the University of Oklahoma is recognized among the best online colleges for veterans in middle America. Included in the benefits are GI Bill NRES and Transfer Benefits through the campus and the school’s extended (online) campus.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Westfield State University Westfield,

Westfield State University’s Veteran & Military Services offers a variety of benefits to all current and previous military members and their children and spouses. As one of Massachusetts’ best online colleges for veterans, Westfield State University provides assistance and support to help students transition to university & academic life and to succeed in meeting their academic and personal objectives. WSU also offers credit for military experience.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

LeTourneau University Longview, TX

LeTourneau University’s Veteran’s Affairs Office performs as a liaison between student veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs and is considered among the Lone Star State’s best online colleges for veterans. In addition, LeTourneau University is an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides for the tuition costs that are not covered by the Post 9/11 Bill. LeTourneau University is known as the Christian Polytechnic University.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of Kansas Lawrence, KS

The University of Kansas’s Lieutenant General William Jones Military-Affiliated Center offers a variety of benefits for all members of the military – active or veteran. As one of Kansas’s best online colleges for veterans, the University of Kansas participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program and offers a veteran’s organization for students on-campus, as well as a job study program for GI Bill’s student users.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago’s Military Veteran Student Services has been developed to help support veteran students’ success in school and in reaching for their career objectives. Among the benefits offered by one of Chicago’s best online colleges for veterans are transfer credit eligibility options, a wellness center, and dependent educational assistance, legal assistance, career development, vocational rehabilitation, discounts, tutorial assistance, and tuition assistance, to name a few.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY

The Rochester Institute of Technology is ranked among New York and New England’s best online colleges for veterans, with a long-standing tradition of supporting all active and former military members. The Rochester Institute of Technology offers veterans support and assistance in obtaining their military benefits and offers financial support, application fee waivers, counseling services, career services, and scholarship opportunities.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

University of IdahoMoscow,

The University of Idaho’s Military & Veteran Services was designed to assist and support all active members of the military and veterans – plus their dependents, through a variety of support services. Among the services offered by one of Idaho’s best online colleges for veterans are assistance with accessing educational benefits, GI Bill Certification applications, and housing allowance adjustments and modification, to name a few.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs

Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

The Office of the Veteran Student Services Division at Drexel University is responsible for coordinating the school’s efforts in support of the veterans who are enrolled in a class or program offered by Drexel University. Drexel University is considered one of the mid-Atlantic’s best online colleges for veterans with services that include networking opportunities, admissions, financing, health/counseling services, and disability services, plus Yellow Ribbon benefit opportunities, among others.Number of online bachelor’s degree programs8

Can I Get an Online Degree for Free as a Veteran?

Most online degrees offer a discounted tuition rate for veterans. Upon their retirement, veterans are offered a benefit from Veteran Affairs known as the GI Bill, which will cover the cost of the tuition for the veteran. These VA approved online schools college give veterans the ability to earn a quality education without having to pay out of their personal pocket for the funds. The GI Bill is available for veterans to use in either traditional classrooms or online classrooms. Most online college programs are considered equivalent to traditional programs and recognized by Veteran Affairs when paying for the classes.

There are some institutions that offer free tuition for veterans that do not require the use of their GI Bill, allowing veterans to save it for dependents in the future. These programs are known as the Yellow Ribbon program, and they offer free online college for veterans who are acclimating to civilian life after returning from the military. Still others offer scholarships just for veterans and their families. Depending on the residing state of the veteran, they are able to review a list of schools that participate in this program and determine which online program fits their career goals and needs.

Are Active Duty Personnel Eligible to Learn Online?

Active Duty personnel have the ability to further their education online, and many find this opportunity rewarding. The best online college for active-duty military allows these students to access their courses from bases and countries across the globe. This gives them the ability to continue their education without a time-lapse, and they are also able to continue interacting with others through the classroom forum. They can access their classroom around their work schedule, and while their time zone may be different, they are still able to gain that interaction and have access to resources around the clock.

Some of these students were able to complete some college credit prior to joining the military or even during the military from nearby institutions. Credit transfer is something that many active-duty personnel consider when searching the best college for military credit transfer, which many of these programs are available online.

Some Active Duty Personnel wants to advance their current education and seek out the best online masters programs for military personnel. These programs are often designed to fit their leadership roles and the necessary military industries such as intelligence, emergency management, and engineering depending on their career field. Like the undergraduate programs, they are provided the same online conveniences of resources and interaction despite their current location.

What Are the Benefits for Military Spouses to Learn Online?

Like active duty and veterans, military spouses have the ability to also learn online. Most online colleges that are military friendly understand that one of the best ways to support military personnel, whether they are active or a veteran, is to support their spouse with discounted or free education. Many of these spouses are located across the globe, stationed at bases with their active-duty spouses where they are currently working or based out of while on assignment. Because their lives are also unconventional, online learning gives the spouses the ability to continue their personal education and preventing a time-lapse, so they are able to resume their career once they return to civilian life.

These spouses are able to review the best online colleges for military spouses and are able to use their spouses, GI Bill to cover their tuition if they need it. Like the Yellow Ribbon Program for active-duty members and veterans, some colleges offer free online courses for military spouses that give them the ability to interact with others while furthering their education. It is essential for spouses to have the same ability to continue their education and readapt to civilian life, since they, too, sacrifice a normal life to support their military spouse.

States That Offer Free Tuition for Veterans

States That Offer Free Tuition For Veterans

States offering free tuition waivers for veterans provides a distinct advantage for those who want to attend college using the GI Bill. Free tuition means GI Bill money goes farther, paying for more courses in an academic career than just an undergraduate degree.

Do you live in a “free tuition” state for veterans? Not all states offer the same benefits to all veterans, but knowing where to look is half the battle when it comes to getting the most out of a post-military college education.

Alabama Free College Tuition for Veterans

Alabama’s public two-year and four-year postsecondary technical colleges, community colleges, and junior colleges may waive tuition and fees for recipients of the Purple Heart Medal for undergraduate studies.

How to Apply

To apply, turn in supporting documentation to the public institution that you plan to attend.

Alabama State Veterans Benefits
Alabama BAH Rates

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Arizona Free College Tuition for Veterans

The Arizona Purple Heart Tuition Waiver provides qualifying Post 9/11 veterans with tuition-free education at any public state university or community college. To qualify, you must be a resident veteran who has at least a 50% VA disability and received a Purple Heart medal. You must also be accepted to the school you would like to attend.

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Tuition Waiver and Verification Form and email it to [email protected].

Arizona State Veterans Benefits
Arizona BAH Rates

Connecticut Free College Tuition For Veterans

Connecticut offers college tuition waivers for qualified veterans attending any state university or one of the 12 Connecticut Community College/Technical Colleges. This benefit is only applicable for tuition expenses for undergraduate and graduate programs and excludes course fees, books, parking, and room/board.

You qualify if you have:

  • served 90 days of active duty military service during wartime
  • been honorably discharged
  • were a Connecticut state resident for one year prior to applying to the college
  • been admitted to a degree-seeking program

How to Apply

If attending the University of Connecticut, apply at their Veterans Affairs web page. For students attending Connecticut State University, visit their Veterans Admission webpage. If attending one of the 12 Connecticut community colleges, contact the school’s admission office for details.

Connecticut State Veterans Benefits
Connecticut BAH Rates

Florida Free College Tuition For Veterans

The State of Florida offers qualifying veterans free undergraduate tuition at state universities and community colleges (excludes textbooks, housing, and food). This Florida state military educational benefit is intended for Florida residents who have received the Purple Heart or one of the following decorations:

  • Medal of Honor
  • Navy Cross/Air Force Cross/Distinguished Service Cross
  • Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V
  • Silver Star Legion of Merit with Combat V
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Bronze Star with Combat V

How to Apply

To apply, please work with the Financial Aid Office at your institution to determine acceptable paperwork.

Florida State Veterans Benefits
Florida BAH Rates

Illinois Free College Tuition For Veterans

The Illinois Veteran Grant Program offers Illinois veterans free tuition and the payment of selected fees at all Illinois state colleges and universities.

To qualify, you must:

  • have a minimum of one year of service
  • have an honorable discharge
  • have Illinois listed as the home of record
  • return to Illinois within six months of leaving military service

How to Apply

To apply, contact one of the VSO Offices for an application and additional information.

Illinois State Veterans Benefits
Illinois BAH Rates

Indiana Free College Tuition For Veterans

The State of Indiana offers free tuition up to 124 credit hours in a state-sponsored college/university for qualifying veterans who received the Purple Heart, entered active duty with a permanent home address in Indiana, and was honorably discharged.

How to Apply

You can apply for this benefit on Scholar Track. The state does not accept paper applications for this benefit.   If you don’t have a Scholar Track Account, you can request one at the login page

Indiana State Veterans Benefits
Indiana BAH Rates

Maryland Free College Tuition for Veterans

Maryland’s Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship provides tuition assistance and other educational expenses to veterans attending an institution of higher learning in the State of Maryland.

You must be:

  • a veteran who suffers, as a direct result of military service, a disability of 25 percent or greater and has exhausted or is no longer eligible for federal veterans educational benefits
  • a POW/MIA of the Vietnam Conflict

How to Apply

New and renewal applicants to the program must contact your college’s Financial Aid Office for application instructions.

Maryland State Veterans Benefits
Maryland BAH Rates

Massachusetts Free College Tuition For Veterans

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a tuition waiver to all veterans and active duty members who are permanent and legal residents of Massachusetts. This waiver is good for any Massachusetts state or community college or university campus.

How to Apply

To apply for the waiver, you must present documentation to your institution’s Veterans Certifying Official (separation papers or copy of orders) and complete the Categorial Tuition Waiver.

Massachusetts State Veterans Benefits
Massachusetts BAH Rates 

Montana Free College Tuition For Veterans

The State of Montana offers qualifying veterans free tuition at state schools for up to 12 semesters. The veteran must be classified as an in-state resident and have already used up all available federal GI Bill benefits.

To qualify for free tuition, you must have:

  • been honorably discharged, and
  • performed military service in an approved war zone or campaign

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver and provide all supporting documentation to your campus Financial Aid Office.

Montana State Veterans Benefits
Montana BAH Rates

New Mexico Free College Tuition For Veterans

Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund

The Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund is available for any veteran who has served in combat since 1990 and who has exhausted all available federal GI Bill benefits. The scholarship is available on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last. This program is for state-funded schools and is for tuition and book expenses for undergraduate and graduate work only.

You qualify if you have been:

  • a New Mexico resident for a minimum of 10 years, and
  • awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, or “any other medal issued for service in support of any other approved US Military campaign or armed conflict since 1990

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Wartime Veterans Scholarship Application and mail it along with accompanying documents to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.

Vietnam Veteran Scholarship

The Vietnam Veteran Scholarship will pay full tuition and books at any state-funded postsecondary school.

You qualify if you have:

  • been a New Mexico resident for 10 years; and
  • served in the Vietnam War and was issued the Vietnam Campaign or Service Medal

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Vietnam Veterans Scholarship Application and mail it along with accompanying documents to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.

New Mexico State Veterans Benefits
New Mexico BAH Rates

New York Free College Tuition For Veterans

New York State offers qualified residents Veteran Tuition Awards for up to the full cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at the State University of New York. Veterans are entitled to up to 8 semesters (4 years) of undergraduate study (10 semesters for approved 5-year programs), up to 6 semesters (3 years) of graduate study, or up to a maximum of 4 semesters (2 years) of study in an approved vocational training program.

To qualify, you must have been honorably discharged and are a:

  • Vietnam Veteran who served in Indochina between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975
  • Persian Gulf Veteran who served in the Persian Gulf on or after August 2, 1990
  • Afghanistan Veteran who served in Afghanistan on or after September 11, 2001
  • served in hostilities that occurred after February 28, 1961, with receipt of an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, or Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.

How to Apply

To apply, complete and submit the Veterans Tuition Award Application, along with required documentation. You must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the TAP on the Web application. For vocational training, complete and submit the Veterans Tuition Award Application, along with the required documentation

New York State Veterans Benefits
New York BAH Rates

Rhode Island Free College Tuition For Veterans

Rhode Island offers free tuition at Rhode Island public colleges and universities for disabled veterans. Veterans must be rated between 10% and 100% VA disabled due to military service, and permanent residents of Rhode Island. Applicants must also apply for and use federal financial aid before any state assistance is applied.

How to Apply

To apply, visit the Financial Aid Office at the institution you are attending.

Rhode Island State Veterans Benefits
Rhode Island BAH Rates

South Dakota Free College Tuition For Veterans

Qualifying veterans who do not have available funds via the GI Bill or any other federal education program may be eligible to receive free tuition. Veterans may receive 1 month of free tuition for each month of qualifying service for up to 4 academic years at state-supported schools and technical colleges.

You qualify for the free tuition if you:

  • received an honorable discharge
  • qualify for in-state tuition, and
  • meet the state’s definition of a veteran having:
    • served on active duty since August 2, 1990
    • received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, or other United States campaign or service medal for combat operations against hostile forces overseas, or
    • have a VA-rated service-connected disability rated 10% or more

How to Apply

To apply, complete the application, and submit it along with supporting documentation to the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

South Dakota State Veterans Benefits
South Dakota BAH Rates

Tennessee Free College Tuition For Veterans

The Helping Heroes Grant awards up to $1,000 per semester for up to eight full semesters for honorably-discharged veterans and service members in Tennessee. Current & former reserve or national guard members called into active duty are also eligible. Qualified members must have been a Tennessee resident for one year prior to completing the grant application. The amount of financial aid you may qualify for is dependent on the nature of your military service. Veterans must also complete 12 or more credits each semester.The Helping Heroes Grant is awarded to on average 375 veterans per year. Applicants must not hold a baccalaureate degree and be enrolled in a 2 or 4 year postsecondary institution.

Tennessee State Veterans Benefits
Tennessee BAH Rates

Texas Free College Tuition For Veterans

The State of Texas offers benefits through the Hazelwood Act. This benefit provides qualified veterans an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. The exemption does not include living expenses, books, or supply fees.

To qualify, you must have:

  • served 181 days or more on active duty
  • received an honorable discharge
  • have no federal Veteran’s education benefits remaining, and
  • met residency requirements

How to Apply

You must apply and be accepted to the institution, complete the Hazlewood Exemption Application Form and take it the Financial Aid Office will all required documentation.

Texas State Veterans Benefits
Texas BAH Rates

Utah Free College Tuition For Veterans

The State of Utah offers multiple programs to qualifying veterans and military dependents.

State of Utah Purple Heart Tuition Waiver

Purple Heart recipients can apply for a tuition waiver at all state-sponsored/public colleges/universities in Utah. This tuition benefit is good for undergrad and graduate work. Purple Heart documentation is required to apply for this benefit.

Scott Lundell Military Survivors Tuition Waiver

Surviving dependents of service members killed in action on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible to apply for a tuition waiver good at state-supported schools. at state schools. According to the State of Utah, qualifying conditions for applicants include the following:

  • Dependent may not have already completed a course of studies leading to an undergraduate degree
  • Dependent may only utilize the waiver for courses that are applicable toward the degree or certificate requirements of the program in which the dependent is enrolled
  • Dependent may not be excluded from the waiver if the dependent has previously taken courses at or has been awarded credit by a state institution of higher education

Utah Veterans Tuition Gap Program

In 2014, the State of Utah began the Veterans Tuition Gap Program. The program does not completely waive tuition but does allow qualifying military Veterans to receive tuition assistance for the “last school year at State institutions of higher education” for tuition only.

Utah State Veterans Benefits
Utah BAH Rates

Washington Free College Tuition For Veterans

Washington State colleges establish their own waiver programs for eligible resident veterans. Washington State law allows a waiver for qualified veterans up to the full amount of tuition and fees and participating schools.

How to Apply

Each college or university establishes and operates its own veteran’s waiver program, so it is best to get in touch with the college or university you plan to attend for details on their program.

Washington State Veterans Benefits
Washington BAH Rates

West Virginia Free College Tuition For Veterans

The Medal of Honor and Andrew J. Trail Purple Heart Recipient Tuition Waiver provides free tuition and mandatory fees for residents who have been awarded the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart. The waiver is good for 8 semesters of free tuition at all West Virginia public institutions of higher education.

How to Apply

To apply, visit the Financial Aid Office at the institution you are attending.

West Virginia State Veterans Benefits
West Virgina BAH Rates

Wisconsin Free College Tuition For Veterans

Wisconsin offers a State GI Bill that enables qualifying Wisconsin veterans to attend public postsecondary educational institutions tuition-free. The program offers full waivers for tuition and fees up to 8 semesters or 128 credit hours. This program can be used for undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Technical College institution (any location) and in any degree program.

To qualify, you must:

  • have received an honorable discharge, and
  • met all military service and residency requirements

How to Apply

To apply, visit the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs online portal and create an account. You will be asked to enter all required information and upload supporting documents that prove your eligibility. If you are eligible, you will get a certificate of eligibility. You will need the certificate to apply for the Wisconsin GI Bill though your institution.

Wisconsin State Veterans Benefits
Wisconsin BAH Rates

Wyoming Free College Tuition For Veterans

Wyoming offers free tuition and fees for qualifying resident veterans. The tuition waiver is good for 8 semesters over 8 years while attending the University of Wyoming or Wyoming community colleges.

You qualify for the free tuition if you:

  • served in Vietnam between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, and received the Vietnam Service Medal, or
  • are an overseas combat veteran who was honorably discharged and awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal or other authorized service or campaign medal indicating service to the United States in any armed conflict in a foreign country

How to Apply

To apply, visit the Financial Aid Office at your institution and complete the Educational Assistance application and provide all required documents as evidence of eligibility.

Best States with Veteran Benefits
by MilitaryBenefits

Best States with Veteran Benefits

It can be tricky to answer the question, “Which are the best states for military benefits?” because the answer depends greatly on your priorities and preferences. Do you need access to a range of medical treatment options? Are you planning on buying a home and want to know where the best housing markets are? Is education your priority?

That said, there are several states that offer more for veterans by the virtue of being home to a multitude of bases or installations. The variety of options open to a veteran in these states will likely be more appealing than areas with fewer options.

A 2016 survey published by Governing(dot)com lists California as having the highest number of currently serving military personnel, both active duty and guard/reserve. California is also home to a large number of military installations, which means those who are eligible for on-base care, commissary or AAFES access have a great many options.

California offers some unique education incentives for veterans including tuition waivers for state-run schools. California has a high number of VA healthcare facilities, second only to New York and Wyoming according to a survey published by WalletHub.

The Lone Star State also has a high number of military installations and a high number of military residents. But the benefits of living in Texas don’t just include proximity to VA health care centers, base exchanges, and on-base job opportunities. The State of Texas has a program called the Veterans Land Board (VLB), which the VLB official site describes as, “…the only one of its kind in the nation, giving Texas Veterans the opportunity to borrow up to $150,000 to purchase land at competitive interest rates while typically requiring a minimum 5% down payment for tracts one acre or more.”

This state also has multiple veteran retirement facilities, and thanks to legislation known as the Hazelwood Act, the state offers 150 hours of free higher education benefits in the form of tuition exemption at public colleges and universities in the state for those who list Texas as their home of record and/or who entered military service in the state.

The State of Colorado offers some outstanding incentives for veterans including a 10-point hiring preference for state jobs offered to veterans receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities and career assistance to all veterans. There is a generous property tax benefit for qualifying disabled veterans, and a military retirement pay income tax break allowing retirees to exclude as much as $24 thousand in any year at tax time.

While the state offers certain education benefits to qualifying disabled veterans and has flexible requirements for military members who want to qualify for in-state tuition rates, Colorado doesn’t offer the same tuition exemption programs as the State of California. However, for those who plan to use the GI Bill in Colorado, the large number of public universities offers veterans plenty of options for a GI Bill-funded education.

Other States
Depending on your priorities, other states have much to offer. New York is ranked among the highest for the number of VA health care facilities available, Iowa ranks highly for the number of job opportunities for vets, and Florida is another state with a high number of military bases, a very large veteran community, and a diverse range of VA health services.

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