US News & World Report just came out with their Top Colleges & Universities lists for 2018. Among those lists is one called Best Value Colleges & Universities. Since we are all about getting the most out of a degree program, we set out to research if these best value schools are also military friendly colleges.

U.S. News: Best Value Schools for 2018

#1. Princeton

#2. Harvard

#3. Yale

#4. Stanford

#5. MIT

#6. Columbia University

#7. Dartmouth College

best value military friendly school

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

How Do You Measure Value In Schools?

Which colleges and universities offer students the best value? The calculation used here takes into account a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its 2018 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2016-2017 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included, because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically. — U.S. News

A deeper look into each school & what they offer military students…


BAH – $2,250

Tuition – $43,450

Highlights – They have a full-time veteran counselor on campus. This is huge! Having someone on campus whose sole purpose to is support military affiliated students is the first step in ensuring those students succeed on campus. Without an on campus counselor, who is going to stand up for this group of students, or help them navigate this new environment?

Negatives – Princeton only has 6 of 16 different military/veteran programs in place. We wouldn’t classify Princeton as a military friendly university.


BAH – $3,045

Tuition – $45,278

Highlights – Harvard does have a full-time on campus veteran counselor. It is almost impossible for student veterans to feel supported and find success when they don’t have someone in their corner.

Negatives – Harvard only has 4 of 16 different military/veteran programs in place ranking putting it in last place out of all of these top universities. (Definitely not a military friendly university.)


BAH – $3,177

Tuition – $47,600

Highlights– With 6 of the 16 military/veteran programs in place, Yale comes in at the middle of the road in comparison with the rest of the list. One thing that does stand out is that they have a Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter which many of the other universities do not.

Negatives– They don’t offer any means for veterans to use their previous knowledge, education, and experience to count toward credit hours. (They don’t accept the CLEP Exam, DSST Exam, or military experience for credit.)


BAH – $3,045

Tuition – $46,320

Highlights– Stanford has a full-time veteran counselor on campus AND a Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter! This is the only school out of this list that has both.

Negatives– They only have 6 of the 16 different military support programs in place. This puts Stanford in a tie for #3 in our ranking of military friendly universities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BAH – $3,045

Tuition – $46,704

Highlights – MIT offers the ability for students to come onto campus with credit under their belt. How? They accept college credit for military experience. It is important to note, that students should make sure that those credit hours count toward requirements and aren’t just additional hours the school adds onto your total credit hours.

Negatives – With only 6 of the 16 veteran programs in place, MIT comes in the very middle of the pack on our ranking of these schools.

Columbia University

BAH – $3,669

Tuition – $53,000

Highlights – Columbia University ranks #1 on our list because they have 7 of the 16 veteran programs in place! (Although they aren’t even close to offering all that they can, this is still the top ranking school on this list.) They also have an on campus Student Veterans of America chapter. SVA chapters are a huge factor in contributing to the success of student veterans on campus because it gives these students a community support system of other likeminded individuals.

Negatives – Columbia doesn’t offer any means of allowing military affiliated students to arrive to campus with credit under their belt.

Dartmouth College

BAH- $1,512

Tuition- $49,506

Highlights – Dartmouth accepts the CLEP exam for college credit. This is an advantage considering the majority of these schools don’t accept any form of exam or military experience to count toward college credit.

Negatives – Dartmouth College only has 4 of the 16 different veteran and military assistance programs in place. (That is wayyyyy low, and puts them in a tie for last place in terms of military friendliness on this list.)

student veterans make connections on campus

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

How the Best Value Schools Rank In Terms of Being Military Friendly

#1. Columbia University

#2. MIT (tie for 2nd place)

#2. Stanford (tie for 2nd place)

#4. Yale (tied for 4th place)

#4. Princeton (tied for 4th place)

#6.Dartmouth College (tied for last place)

#6. Harvard University (tied for last place)

How did we rank the Best Value Schools?

We looked at how many veteran & military assistance programs they have in place as well as which programs they have. The fewer the programs, the lower on the list.

When it came to deciphering how to rank schools who had the same number of programs in place, we then looked at the programs that made them stand out. MIT allows students to come onto campus with credit under their belt from military experience.

Also, having a student veteran counselor and SVA chapter on campus is really impressive and shows the long term desire to serve student veterans.

Student veterans & military affiliated personnel are only going to succeed on campus if they have people “in their corner” so to speak. People whose job is to be a voice for military-affiliated students. Individuals who understand what the transition from military to campus is like and who can relate and help these students.

(Featured Image Courtesy of Columbia University)