When starting the college search process as a veteran, it is important to prioritize schools that have support programs in place, specifically for veterans. These are the schools that have an on campus student veteran office & club, the schools that award college credit for military experience and/or CLEP and DSST exams. Basically, these are the universities and colleges that will help you to succeed. They prioritize military-affiliated students and therefore have taken the time to implement programs on campus to ensure that you have all the tools you need to find success in your degree program.
These colleges and universities stand out when it comes to veteran programming on campus. Not only do they have a lot of veterans programs, but they have the programs that really count*.
Schools With The Most Veterans Programs
- Southern New Hampshire University Online
- Columbia College Missouri
- Colorado State University Fort Collins
- Northern Arizona University
- University of South Florida
- University of Arizona
- Upper Iowa University
- Kansas State University
- Wright State University-Main Campus
- Old Dominion University
- University of North Dakota
- Southern Illinois University- Carbondale Campus
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Jacksonville University
- Austin Peay State University
- University of Utah
All of the above college and universities have the following programs/policies in place:
- A Student Veterans of America chapter
- A full-time veterans counselor on campus
- A club/association for veterans
- Offers college credit for military experience
- Offers college credit for DSST Exam
- Offers college credit for CLEP Exam
- Approved for Tuition Assistance
- Yellow Ribbon Program approved
Why these 8 veterans programs & policies are important
There are a lot of different programs that schools can say they have put in place, but to be very honest, they don’t do much for veterans. The aforementioned 8 programs and policies, however, can and will affect the day to day successes of student veterans. These are the programs that really count. That is why it is important to prioritize finding a school that has most, if not all of the above programs in place.
Student Veterans of America Chapter
Having a Student Veterans of America chapter will help ensure that student veterans feel like they belong on campus. The chapter is also very much connected to what is going on in Washington D.C. for veterans. That means that when students belong to an SVA chapter, they have the opportunity to stay up to date on any policy change that could affect their educational benefits.
Full-time Veterans Counselor
Having a full-time veterans counselor on campus ensures that veterans have a designated person to go to that has all of the information. Schools that have a full-time veterans counselor understand that a lot is at stake when veterans are using their GI Bill. Therefore, having one person who knows the ins and outs of using GI Bill benefits at that institution will remove the possibility of veterans getting the run-around.
Club/Association for Veterans
Some schools have an SVA chapter along with a club/association for veterans. This is just another avenue for veterans to find a sense of support and belonging with like-minded individuals. It is in these groups where students can share experiences and advice on how to be successful at that specific institution.
College Credit for Military Experience + Exams
Offering college credit for previous military experience as well as for both the DSST and CLEP exams is something that all colleges and universities should be doing. However, that isn’t the case. Schools that do offer this ability to acquire college credit show that they appreciate the previous knowledge that veterans have acquired through schooling and or real world experiences. This policy can single-handedly make one of the biggest changes in a student veterans’ college career because it can reduce the amount of money students have to spend taking classes at said institution. The more college credit a student starts college with, the fewer amount of college courses that student must spend their GI Bill on in order to graduate.
DoD Tuition Assistance Dollars
Tuition Assistance is a way for active duty personnel to get assistance paying for a degree while still actively serving their country. Schools that are tuition assistance approved can accept this form of benefit. One important thing to note with TA though is that the DoD’s Tuition Assistance only covers up to $250 per credit hour. If a school is “Tuition Assistance Approved” that does not mean that an active duty person can go to that school for free. It only means that they can use their TA benefit to help pay for that degree. However, there are some schools and programs that have reduced the cost of their degree programs for active duty personnel to $250 per credit hour. This way, those active military students can get a degree at that school without having to pay above the TA benefit.
All you need to know about the National Guard & Reserve Tuition Assistance.
Yellow Ribbon Program Dollars
The Yellow Ribbon Program helps make more money available to eligible students who’s GI Bill doesn’t cover the complete cost of a degree. For example, Those who attend a private school or a public school as a nonresident would benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program. Schools that elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program have entered into an agreement with the VA and will choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be given to eligible students. The VA will then match that amount and will issue the payments directly to the school.
Start your search with these programs as priorities and you will undoubtably enroll at a college or university that will be able to support you and your needs.