Spotlight on HBCUs and HSIs

HBCUs and HSIs

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Military and Veterans

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) are cornerstones of postsecondary, higher education.

HBCUs are schools that were established prior to 1964 with the principal mission of providing access to higher education and educating Black Americans during a time of legal segregation. HSIs came about in the 1980s to recognize institutions that enroll a large number of Latinx students. HBCUs and HSIs accept students of all races and ethnicities and there is a particular focus on commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities

It should be no surprise that even after the official end of slavery in 1865 most colleges and universities in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending. Meanwhile, many other colleges and universities throughout the country employed tactics to limit admissions of Black Americans. These blatant racist and exclusionary tactics continued ad nauseum until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving students of African American descent.

Currently, HBCUs have approximately 300,000 students across 101 HBCUs in 19 states (including the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Of the 101 HBCUs, 52 are public institutions and 49 were private nonprofit institutions.

Why is an HBCU designation important?

Why is an HBCU designation important? In addition to the history of the institution, HBCUs display an immersive culture of diversity, inclusion, and supporting marginalized students. In addition, schools with an HBCU designation are eligible to receive additional funding including substantial grants from several organizations including:

  • National Science Foundation
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

HSI – Hispanic Serving Institutions

Hispanic Serving Institutions came about as a grassroots organization in the 1980s to identify institutions that were accepting a large number of Latinx students. Since Latinx students are and continues to be a rapidly growing demographic in the U.S., it is important that institutes of higher education support and reflect this population growth.

Most recent statistics indicate that there are 411 HSIs in the US (including 24 states and Puerto Rico). There are approximately 1.9 million Latinx students at HSIs, and 4.1 million students total enrolled at HSIs.

In order to receive an HSI designation, an institution’s undergraduate enrollment must be at least 25 percent Hispanic and demonstrate a high concentration of students who are low income or otherwise need based.

Why is an HSI designation important?

Why is an HSI designation important? In addition to an immersive culture of diversity, inclusion, and supporting marginalized students; schools with an HSI designation are eligible to receive additional funding including substantial grants from several organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Is There Really a Need for HBCUs and HSIs?

Unfortunately, admission practices can still be found in post-secondary education that purposefully seek to exclude and omit students based on any variety of factors that they deem “undesirable”. From gender to race to socioeconomic backgrounds, post-secondary education admissions are not always as enlightened as one would expect from an institute of higher learning. Thankfully, these unbalanced lapses in admissions are fewer and further than in generations prior. Yet, they still exist.

You may recall recent news of philanthropist Mackenzie Scott’s staggering $800 million donation to higher education. Specifically these funds were earmarked to HBCUs, HSIs, and Tribal colleges and universities (serving Native Americans).

Yes, there is still a need for HBCUs and HSIs to help “balance the scales” in higher education. HBCUs and HSIs accept students of all races and ethnicities. Yet, HBCUs and HSIs are particularly attuned to the needs of diversity, equity, and inclusion and strive to leave no student marginalized.

Accredited HBCU listing

Not-for-profit schools are indicated with NFP.

NFP = Not-for-profit


Alabama HBCU’s

Alabama A & M University 4-year, Public
Alabama State University 4-year, Public
Bishop State Community College 2-year, Public
Gadsden State Community College 2-year, Public
H Councill Trenholm State Community College 2-year, Public
J. F. Drake State Community & Technical College 2-year, Public
Lawson State Community College 2-year, Public
Miles College 4-year, Private NFP
Oakwood University 4-year, Private NFP
Shelton State Community College 2-year, Public
Stillman College 4-year, Private NFP
Talladega College 4-year, Private NFP
Tuskegee University 4-year, Private NFP

Arkansas HBCU’s

Arkansas Baptist College 4-year, Private NFP
Philander Smith College 4-year, Private NFP
Shorter College 2-year, Private NFP
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 4-year, Public


Delaware HBCU

Delaware State University 4-year, Public


District of Columbia HBCU’s

Howard University 4-year, Private NFP
University of the District of Columbia 4-year, Public
University of DC -David A Clarke School of Law 4-year, Public


Florida HBCU’s

Bethune-Cookman University 4-year, Private NFP
Edward Waters College 4-year, Private NFP
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University 4-year, Public
Florida Memorial University 4-year, Private NFP


Georgia HBCU’s

Albany State University 4-year, Public
Clark Atlanta University 4-year, Private NFP
Fort Valley State University 4-year, Public
Interdenominational Theological Center 4-year, Private NFP
Morehouse College 4-year, Private NFP
Morehouse School of Medicine 4-year, Private NFP
Paine College 4-year, Private NFP
Savannah State University 4-year, Public
Spelman College 4-year, Private NFP


Kentucky HBCU’s

Kentucky State University 4-year, Public
Simmons College of Kentucky 4-year, Private NFP


Louisiana HBCU’s

Dillard University 4-year, Private NFP
Grambling State University 4-year, Public
Southern University and A & M College 4-year, Public
Southern University at New Orleans 4-year, Public
Southern University at Shreveport 2-year, Public
Southern University Law Center 4-year, Public
Xavier University of Louisiana 4-year, Private NFP


Maryland HBCU’s

Bowie State University 4-year, Public
Coppin State University 4-year, Public
Morgan State University 4-year, Public
University of Maryland Eastern Shore 4-year, Public


Mississippi HBCU’s

Alcorn State University 4-year, Public
Coahoma Community College 2-year, Public
Jackson State University 4-year, Public
Mississippi Valley State University 4-year, Public
Rust College 4-year, Private NFP
Tougaloo College 4-year, Private NFP


Missouri HBCU’s

Harris-Stowe State University 4-year, Public
Lincoln University 4-year, Public


North Carolina HBCU’s

Bennett College 4-year, Private NFP
Elizabeth City State University 4-year, Public
Fayetteville State University 4-year, Public
Johnson C Smith University 4-year, Private NFP
Livingstone College 4-year, Private NFP
North Carolina A & T State University 4-year, Public
North Carolina Central University 4-year, Public
Saint Augustine’s University 4-year, Private NFP
Shaw University 4-year, Private NFP
Winston-Salem State University 4-year, Public


Ohio HBCU’s

Central State University 4-year, Public
Wilberforce University 4-year, Private not-for-profit


Oklahoma HBCU’s

Langston University 4-year, Public


Pennsylvania HBCU’s

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Public
Lincoln University 4-year, Public


South Carolina HBCU’s

Allen University 4-year, Private NFP
Benedict College 4-year, Private NFP
Claflin University 4-year, Private NFP
Clinton College 4-year, Private NFP
Denmark Technical College 2-year, Public
Morris College 4-year, Private NFP
South Carolina State University 4-year, Public
Voorhees College 4-year, Private NFP


Tennessee HBCU’s

American Baptist College 4-year, Private NFP
Fisk University 4-year, Private NFP
Lane College 4-year, Private NFP
Le Moyne-Owen College 4-year, Private NFP
Meharry Medical College 4-year, Private NFP
Tennessee State University 4-year, Public


Texas HBCU’s

Huston-Tillotson University 4-year, Private NFP
Jarvis Christian College 4-year, Private NFP
Paul Quinn College 4-year, Private NFP
Prairie View A & M University 4-year, Public
Southwestern Christian College 4-year, Private NFP
St Philip’s College 2-year, Public
Texas College 4-year, Private NFP
Texas Southern University 4-year, Public
Wiley College 4-year, Private NFP

US Virgin Islands HBCU’s

University of the Virgin Islands 4-year, Public
University of the Virgin Islands-Albert A. Sheen 4-year, Public

Virginia HBCU’s

Hampton University 4-year, Private NFP
Norfolk State University 4-year, Public
Virginia State University 4-year, Public
Virginia Union University 4-year, Private NFP
Virginia University of Lynchburg 4-year, Private NFP

West Virginia HBCU’s

Bluefield State College 4-year, Public
West Virginia State University 4-year, Public

* Statistics and facts from


Find how well HBCU College and Universities match you!






6 Top Western Colleges for Military & Veterans

Spectacular Six: The 6 Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans

Ready for the full college experience? Find the best fit for your campus preferences with the 6 Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans.

Distinguishing the Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans

The 6 Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans analyzes colleges and universities in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Looking for West Coast Colleges in California, Washington, and Oregon? Click here.

The 6 Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans will offer opportunities for military members and veterans to earn college credit for their knowledge, experience, and skills. This includes letting students test to earn credits via the CLEP and DSST tests and providing credit for military experience.

Determining the Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans

Common practices among the 6 Top Western Colleges for Military and Veterans include regional or national accreditation, graduation rates of at least 30%, GI Bill acceptance, and other financial and academic supports to help their students succeed.

Best Small School:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott

As a Top Western College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Prescott offers students the opportunity to earn a variety of degrees including: certificates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a comprehensive collection of programs designed to position students for success in aerospace, aviation, business, security and intelligence, engineering and beyond.

With just under 3,000 students, Embry-Riddle in Prescott is considered a small school. It consistently ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #3 in Best Colleges in Arizona (Niche)
  • #2 in Regional Colleges West (US News)
  • #1 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #13 in Best Value Schools (US News)
  • #24 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (US News)
  • #11 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (US News)

Embry-Riddle is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and awards credit for both the DSST and the CLEP exams. Embry-Riddle also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Top Junior College for a Unique Experience:

New Mexico Military Institute (tie)

New Mexico Military Institute, affectionately known as “The West Point of the West” is a Top Western College and the only state-supported co-educational college preparatory high school and junior college in the United States. NMMI consistently ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #5 Best Community Colleges in America (Niche)
  • #1 Community College in New Mexico (Niche)

New Mexico Military Institute is a GI Bill approved school and awards credit for the CLEP exams. NMMI also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Top Junior College for a Unique Experience:

Colorado Northwestern Community College (tie)

As a Top Western College, Colorado Northwestern Community College offers a unique college experience that allows students to choose from a wide variety of educational opportunities. From caving as part of instruction on biomes to mountain climbing, back packing, scuba diving, and rafting as part of wellness courses; the CNCC experience includes a unique way of learning and a novel take on the classroom experience. CNCC boasts a fantastic 40% graduation rate.

Colorado Northwestern Community College is a GI Bill approved school, and awards credit for both the DSST and the CLEP exams. Colorado Northwestern Community College also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Best Liberal Arts College:

The College of Idaho

One of the Top Western Colleges, the College of Idaho is a small liberal arts college. It is Idaho’s oldest private college and has a stellar graduation rate of 60%. The College of Idaho ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #2 Best Colleges in Idaho (Niche)
  • #15 Top Performers in Social Mobility (US News)
  • #93 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (US News)

The College of Idaho is a GI Bill approved school. The College of Idaho participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and awards credit for the CLEP exam. The College of Idaho also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Maximize Military Benefits:

University of Utah

As a Top Western College, the University of Utah offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and nearly as many minors and certificates. The University of Utah also offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online at UOnline. The University of Utah ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #2 Top 4-Year Schools for Adult Learners (Washington Monthly)
  • #1 in Top Public Universities in Utah (Niche)
  • #42 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • #42 Best Big Colleges in America (Niche)

Most veterans qualify for in-state tuition as soon as they start at the University of Utah. The state of Utah offers the Tuition Gap program, which pays tuition for qualifying veterans who have established Utah residency, have no VA educational benefits available, and have only a year left before earning their first bachelor’s degree.

The University of Utah is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and awards credit for both the DSST and the CLEP exams. The University of Utah also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Best Kept Secret:

Weber State University

Weber State University offers more than 250 certificate and degree programs and 11 graduate degrees. As a Top Western College, Weber State University consistently ranks on “Best of” lists including:

  • #1 Top 2-Year Schools for Adult Learners
  • #39 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • Ranked No. 2 in the nation for veteran students in a Military Times survey
  • Named to The Princeton Review’s 2021 Best On-Campus MBA programs
  • Named to The Princeton Review’s 2021 Guide to Green Schools list
  • Ranked in the 15 Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Associate Degrees by Best Health Degrees
  • Ranked in the 15 Best Online Medical Assistant Associate’s Programs by Best Health Degrees
  • Ranked by for best online colleges in Utah
  • Ranked for best online degree programs in Utah by Guide to Online Schools

Weber State University is a GI Bill approved school and awards credit for both the DSST and the CLEP exams. Weber State University also proudly offers college credit for military experience.





Top 10 West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees

Top 10 West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees

Ready for the full college experience? Find the best fit for your campus preferences with the Top 10 West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees.

University of California Los Angeles

Best College for Full-Time Undergraduate Students

The University of California Los Angeles is part of the 10-campus University of California system. As one of the Top West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees UCLA is unique in that it does not offer part-time enrollment or evening coursework for undergraduate degree programs. Students must enroll full time and attend daytime classes. The result is a high-quality degree earned from one of the country’s most prestigious universities in a minimal amount of time. UCLA has an amazing 70% graduation rate. UCLA consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including:

  • #1 in Top Public Universities in America (Niche)
  • #20 in National Universities (US News)
  • #5 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #30 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)
  • #13 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (US News)
  • #1 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • #19 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, UCLA participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Oregon State University

Best Kept Secret

Oregon State University offers an abundance of programs including more than 200 undergraduate-degree programs and over 85 online programs. As one of the Top West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees, Oregon State consistently receives top national accolades including:

  • #3 Best Online Colleges in America (Niche)
  • #4 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (US News)
  • #3 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs(US News)
  • #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs (US News)
  • #16 in Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs(US News)
  • #26 in Best Colleges for Agricultural Sciences in America (Niche)

Oregon State University is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and offers credit for the CLEP exam. Oregon State also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Western Washington University

Top Medium-Sized University

As one of the Top West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees, Western Washington University offers 160 academic programs and an energized campus community of approximately 15,000 students. Western Washington University has a spectacular 70% graduation rate and scores high on many “Best of” lists including:

  • #16 in Regional Universities West (US News)
  • #7 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #13 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)
  • #38 in Best Value Schools (US News)
  • #4 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • #5 in Top Public Universities in Washington (Niche)

Western Washington University is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and awards credit for the DSST exam. Western Washington University also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Golden Gate University – San Francisco

Maximum Military Benefits

Golden Gate University-SF is a 4-year, private university located in San Francisco, CA. Students at Golden Gate can enroll in bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate degree programs. As one of the Top West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees, Golden Gate University-SF has a fantastic 70% graduation rate and scores high on many “Best of” lists including:

#1 School for Adult Learners at 4-Year Colleges (Washington Monthly)

#25 Best Public Administration & Social Service Schools (College Factual)

Golden Gate-SF offers a wide range of military benefits including a military discount or reduced tuition for military and veterans. Golden Gate-SF is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and offers credit for both the DSST and the CLEP exam. Golden Gate-SF also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Contra Costa College

Best 2-Year College

Contra Costa College is a public community college. Contra Costa College offers associates degrees and certificates in an extensive list of program majors, including for students looking to transfer to four-year institutions. As one of the Top West Coast Colleges for Campus-Based Degrees, it also offers excellent vocational and training programs through its Career Technical Education program.

The CCC community college student demographics are spectacular and inspiring: 85% are low- or middle-low income and 39% are first in their family to go to college.

Contra Costa College offers a military discount or reduced tuition for military and veterans at just $46 a credit hour. Contra Costa College is a GI Bill approved school and it offers credit for the CLEP exam. Contra Costa College proudly offers college credit for military experience.

Claremont Colleges System

Best Liberal Arts College

The distinction of Best Liberal Arts College goes to not just one but five schools. Clustered both geographically and academically, the seven Claremont Colleges—five undergraduate and two graduate campuses—enable their students to attend a small college while enjoying the benefits a “big school” seven-college consortium. The Claremont Colleges allow for cross-enrollment in classes and have 5 fantastic liberal arts undergraduate colleges to choose from.

  • Pomona College is the founding member of The Claremont Colleges. Pomona offers a traditional liberal arts program. Pomona ranks high on many “Best of” lists including:

#1 Most Diverse Colleges in America (Niche)

#1 Best Small Colleges in America (Niche)

#1 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Niche)

Pomona College is a GI Bill approved school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  • Scripps College is an undergraduate women’s college. Scripps is well known for its core curriculum in the humanities and its emphasis on interdisciplinary study. Scripps ranks high on many “Best of” lists including:

#6 Best Women’s Colleges in America (Niche)

#25 Best Colleges for Communications in America (Niche)

Scripps College is a GI Bill approved school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Scripps also awards college credits for the CLEP exam.

  • Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective, co-educational, liberal arts college educating leaders in business and public affairs. Claremont McKenna Claremont ranks high on many “Best of” lists including:

#4 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Niche)

#5 Best Small Colleges in America (Niche)

#10 Best Colleges for International Relations in America (Niche)

McKenna College is a GI Bill approved school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Claremont McKenna College also proudly offers college credit for military experience.

 #35 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (US News)

#42 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)

Pitzer College is a GI Bill approved school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  • Harvey Mudd College is a coeducational liberal arts college that integrates STEM and liberal arts courses. Harvey Mudd College ranks high on many “Best of” lists including:

#6 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Niche)

#7 Best Small Colleges in America (Niche)

#9 Best Value Colleges in America (Niche)

Harvey Mudd College is a GI Bill approved school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.






Polytechnic Schools for Military & Veterans

Polytechnic Schools

What is a Polytechnic School and is it a Good Fit for Me?

A polytechnic school offers specialized secondary and post-secondary education in a specific discipline. The appeal of polytechnic schools is that these programs specialize in developing graduates with applied abilities. These polytechnic schools and programs are related to specific trades including:

  • architecture
  • engineering
  • business and information technology
  • cosmetology
  • early childhood education
  • health care
  • legal professions
  • social services
  • nursing
  • teacher training
  • technical trades and manual arts such as woodworking, welding, etc.

Theory and practical application along with training in a specific profession are hallmarks of an excellent polytechnic school. Students are encouraged to develop knowledge through real-life experience.

Polytechnic Schools and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Polytechnic schools are the original purveyors of a STEM education. While STEM has come to the forefront of education in recent years, polytechnic schools have been around for almost 200 years!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest polytechnic founded back in 1824.  Even Virginia Tech was founded all the way back in 1872! Starting in the 1800s with education and training in domestic economy (such as home economics, family and consumer sciences) and growing to include the STEM education of the 21st century (including aeronautics and astronautics), polytechnic schools have been offering a fantastic education and a solid career path for students for centuries.

6 Great Polytechnic Colleges

Here are six great GI Bill-approved Polytechnic colleges across the country.

East Coast Polytechnic University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University officially opened in 1872. Fondly known as Virginia Tech, this highly-regarded school takes a hands-on approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities by transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership.

Virginia Tech ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #3 in Best College Campuses in America (Niche)
  • #13 in Top Public Universities in America (Niche)
  • #30 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • #13 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (US News)

Virginia Tech offers the following veteran and military support programs:

Southeast Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University is a very young university, officially founded in 2012. Yet, this young STEM school already ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #1 in Top Public Schools (US News)
  • #3 in Regional Colleges South (US News)
  • #31 in Best Value Schools (US News)

Florida Poly participates in many of the veteran education benefits programs available through the Department of Veteran Affairs including the GI Bill and Purple Heart Waiver.

West Coast Polytechnic Universities

California State Polytechnic University has two great campuses to choose from. California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, with its “learn-by-doing” philosophy was established in 1901. Cal Poly Pomona followed, opening in 1938. Both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo are part of the 23-campus California State University system. Both schools consistently rank high on “Best of” lists including:

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

  • #2 in Regional Universities West (US News)
  • #1 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #3 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)
  • #1 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)
  • #1 in Top Public Schools (US News)

Cal Poly Pomona

  • #14 in Regional Universities West (US News)
  • #6 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)
  • #3 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)
  • #7 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (US News)
  • #3 in Top Public Schools (US News)

Midwest Polytechnic School

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Iowa State University) was founded in the 1850s. In 1872, Iowa State became the first university in the nation to offer training in domestic economy for college credit. In 1879, the School of Veterinary Science started and ISU became the first state veterinary college in the United States.

Iowa State University offers the following veteran and military support programs:

  • Iowa State University is a GI Bill® approved school
  • Has a Student Veterans of America chapter
  • Offers credit for military experience
  • Awards credit for the CLEP exam
  • Approved for Tuition Assistance
  • Iowa State University is a Yellow Ribbon school
  • Iowa State University is a MyCAA approved school.

Oldest Polytechnic School in America

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1824, making Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute the first technological university in the English-speaking world. The university offers degrees from five schools: Architecture; Engineering; Science; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the Lally School of Management.

Rensselaer consistently ranks on “Best of” lists including:

  • #26 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #55 in Best Value Schools (US News)
  • #46 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)
  • #19 in Best Colleges for Information Technology in America (Niche)
  • #25 in Best Colleges for Architecture in America (Niche)
  • #28 in Best Colleges for Computer Science in America (Niche)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and is approved for tuition assistance.





VA Approved Flight Training: An Overview

Looking at VA Approved Flight Training

You probably already know that your VA education benefits can help pay for flight training. However, you may not have any details about how it all works. For example, you may be wondering,

Can the GI Bill be used to pay for flight training?

Are there VA approved flight schools?

What benefits are included for flight training through VA schools?

If you’ve asked any of these questions and are interested in getting your commercial pilot license, then read on to discover some programs available and how to apply your VA education benefits to pay for training.

VA Approved Flight Training

You can use your GI Bill to pay for flight training, provided you meet certain requirements. 

All of these must be true to qualify:

  • You must qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, and
  • You must have a private pilot’s license, and
  • Have a second-class medical certificate valid for second-class privileges – or a first-class medical certificate if you want to get the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate

Please note, the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program can not be used to pay for flight training. However, the Fry Scholarship can pay for flight training.

Available Benefits Based on Program

There are some differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill when it comes to available benefits.

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

You will be reimbursed for 60% of the approved fees that may be charged by your flight school.

Additionally, your MGIB entitlement will be charged at the rate of one (1) month for each $2,150 paid. So, hypothetically, if you are in flight training and you have 36 months of MGIB entitlement remaining, then the max amount you can receive for that training is $77,400. 

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you’re using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to pay for flight training, the payment you receive depends on a few factors:

  1. You level of eligibility, which is a percentage based on how long you served, and
  2. How much entitlement you have left for training, and
  3. The type of school and program in which you’re enrolled.

Here are some details regarding how the program you attend determines the benefits available. If you are enrolled in:

  • A degree program that contains flight training at a public college or university. The VA will pay for up to the full in-state tuition and fees. You may also get a monthly housing allowance and money to cover books and supplies.
  • A degree program that contains flight training at a private college or university. The VA will pay for the “net cost of tuition and fees” up to a yearly limit. The limit depends on your level of eligibility and the amount of benefit remaining. A housing allowance and money for books are available, as is the ability to use the Yellow Ribbon Program at participating schools.
  • A vocational program at a stand-alone Part 141 pilot school. The VA pays for the net cost of training up to a yearly limit. In this option, there is no housing allowance available, nor is there extra money for books and supplies.

Keep in mind, these requirements largely apply to stand-alone schools that are not colleges and universities.

Regardless of which school you plan to attend, your VA education benefits can help pay for the following flight qualifications:

  • Rotary wing
  • B747-400
  • Dual Engine
  • Flight Engineer

Applying for VA Education Benefits

To get started on the path to your commercial pilot license, you will need to apply for VA education benefits. There are multiple ways to do this:

  1. Apply Online! Follow the link to the GI BIll application page, fill out a short questionnaire, and get the process started.
  2. Apply by Mail. Call 888.442.4551, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, and request an application be sent to you through the mail. Once you fill it out, mail it to the VA regional claims processing office that is located in the same region as your school. Here’s a list of regional claims processing offices to explore.
  3. Apply In Person. If you are able, go to a VA regional office to have a VA employee help you fill out an application for benefits. Here’s a list of VA regional offices near you. You can also work with your school’s certifying official for help with the application.

As of right now, it takes the VA an average of 30 days to make a decision regarding your education benefits. So, keep that in mind when enrolling in a flight program.

Colleges & Universities with VA Approved Flight Training

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle is a world-class, private university that offers degree programs for veteran and military students. 

Additionally, Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, FL and Prescott, AZ campuses offer Bachelor’s degrees in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas. So, students have the opportunity to get a degree and obtain a commercial pilot’s license at Embry-Riddle University.

Embry-Riddle offers two ground schools: Commercial Pilot Fixed Wing and Private Pilot Fixed Wing. The ERAU campuses for which these programs apply are located in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona.

Embry-Riddle also participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, and the university offers college credit for military experience.

Colorado Northwestern Community College

Colorado Northwestern Community College is a public, 2-year school located in Rangely, Colorado. Colorado Northwestern does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, but they are approved for Tuition Assistance, and they have GI Bill approved programs.

Additionally, CNCC offers an associate degree program that covers the Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas.

University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College

The University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College is a public two-year college that offers technical programs, university transfer programs, and other specialized programs serving central Arkansas.

This school also offers an associate’s degree program covering the Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas.

The Pulaski Technical College does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, however they are approved for Tuition Assistance, and they offer credit for military service.

Texas State Technical College – Waco

The Texas State Technical College is a military- and veteran-focused technical college that offers a vast array of two-year degree programs.

One of them happens to cover the commercial and professional pilot subject areas. While TSTC does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school does offer GI Bill approved programs. It also offers college credit for military experience, which is helpful for service members in transition.

Central Texas College – Main Campus

The main campus of Central Texas College is a two-year public college located in Killeen, Texas.

The CTC main campus offers a professional and commercial pilots program that can lead students to the acquisition of their professional pilot’s license.

Central Texas College participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, as well as the Tuition Assistance Program.

Additionally, eligible military-affiliated students can use the Texas Hazlewood Act, which is a benefit from the state of Texas that provides qualified veterans, spouses, and dependent children with up to 150 credit hours of tuition exemption.

More Colleges & Universities with Flight Training

The following schools also offer some form of flight training. This list has been populated from CollegeRecon’s School Finder searching by the “Aviation” subject area.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of North Dakota

Cochise Community College

Sacramento City College

Mt. San Antonio College

Aims Community College

Middle Georgia State University

Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell

Community College of Beaver County

Palo Alto College

Mountain View College

Letourneau University – Longview

Green River College

Lewis University

California Baptist University

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Big Bend Community College

Honolulu Community College

Vincennes University

Lansing Community College

Orange Coast College

Indian Hills Community College

Southwestern Illinois College

Guilford Technical Community College

Sinclair Community College

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Portland Community College

Lane Community College

Salt Lake Community College

Cypress College

Mercer County Community College

Wallace State Community College

Yavapai College

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Palomar College

Metropolitan State University of Denver

St. Petersburg College – Clearwater

Palm Beach State College

Polk State College

Miami-Dade College

Broward College

Jacksonville University

University of Dubuque

Iowa Central Community College

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Lewis and Clark Community College

Kishwaukee College

Hutchinson Community College

Eastern Kentucky University

Louisiana Tech University Ruston

North Shore Community College

Eastern Michigan University

Western Michigan University

Jackson College

Northwestern Michigan College

Oakland Community College

Lake Superior College

Inver Hills Community College

University of Central Missouri

Saint Louis University

Delta State University

Rocky Mountain College

Lenoir Community College

Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute

County College of Morris

San Juan College

College of Southern Nevada

Dutchess Community College

Jamestown Community College

Northern Oklahoma College

Central Oregon Community College

Treasure Valley Community College

Lehigh Carbon Community College

Luzerne County Community College

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

San Jacinto Community College

Midland College

Tarleton State University

Baylor University

Central Washington University

Farmingdale State College

Utah State University – Logan

Indiana State University

Westminster College – Utah

Utah Valley University

Vermont Technical College – Randolph Center

Clover Park Technical College

Walla Walla University

Gateway Technical College

Fox Valley Technical College

Casper College

Quincy University


The colleges and universities listed above have some form of flight training curriculum. Be advised, they may not all be the full curriculum, where some schools may only offer rotary wing training, while others only offer fixed wing. Check with the school first to verify that the training you’re looking for is available.


Our transportation infrastructure depends upon those who have pilots licenses. Air travel is currently the fastest form of transportation used by businesses to move people and products around the world. 

According to the Department of Labor, the median income for airline and commercial pilots was over $130,000 in 2020. Furthermore, the job outlook is expected to grow at 13% until 2030, which is faster than the national average.

If you’ve ever considered becoming a pilot, now is a great time to get that training. Find a school that suits your needs, and apply the GI Bill benefits to secure your future!

(Image courtesy of SFIO CRACHO via Shutterstock)






University of Arizona Acquires For-Profit Ashford University

UA Acquires For-Profit Institution of Higher Learning, Ashford University

The University of Arizona has acquired for-profit Ashford University, with the aims to develop it into a non-profit that will now be the University of Arizona Global Campus. The Tucson-based university announced the deal as a purchase of $1. In reality, the company that owned Ashford, Zovio, will pay the University of Arizona an upfront payment of $37.5 million, for affiliation and trademark licensing, while the Global Campus will share with Zovio 19.5 percent of a guaranteed $225 million earned in tuition revenue over 15 years. This move comes as UA has been expanding their online presence, and it is not one that everyone is happy about.

Why This Deal is Drawing Criticism


University of Arizona faculty have been harshly critical of this acquisition, fearing the damage to the UA’s reputation as a 135 year old institution with a renown for providing quality education. Adding to the sense of bad feeling is the fact that only some of the faculty were made aware of the decision, and were then made to sign nondisclosure agreements about it.

Predatory Recruitment of Vets

Ashford has famously been accused of and investigated for their predatory behavior towards students, and specifically to veterans. In spite of years of these complaints, headed by a nonprofit veteran advocacy group Veterans Education Success, in February of this year the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to allow Ashford to remain eligible for GI Bill benefits.

Ashford has made tens of millions of dollars in GI Bill funds, and therefore relies heavily on the student population of veterans. When for-profit schools like Ashford offer the courses structured in such a way that vets can work into their schedules—courses lasting only five to six weeks versus a traditional semester structure— vets who want to continue their education are ripe to be taken advantage of. Veterans Education Success aims to disrupt institutions like Ashford from achieving this, by offering legal and policy advocacy, and working to “protect the integrity and promise of the GI Bill.”

Lawsuits & Shaky Accreditation

A lawsuit was raised by California’s attorney general against Ashford in 2017 for using illegal business practices to mislead students, alleging the university’s admission counselors were essentially functioning as salespeople being pushed to meet enrollment targets. They also misrepresented what would be covered by the GI Bill, resulting in hundreds of thousands of wasted GI Bill dollars and some vets being hounded over debt. When faced with a loss of GI Bill funds on account of this lawsuit, Ashford moved its headquarters to Arizona. The constant threat of loss of accreditation has put vets at risk of not being able to transfer credits to another institution, as well as being out whatever amount of their GI Bill spent at Ashford.

So Why Make This Purchase?

The University of Arizona administration leading this transition is not concerned with the past lawsuits of Ashford, as the purchase is by the University of Arizona Global campus as a separate legal entity, so Zovio would retain the liability of those. However, this will not be the case for any future lawsuits, and considering that Zovio will continue to be very involved in the running of the Global Campus online programs, including managing marketing and student recruitment and retention, all of which have been red flags against the institution, more lawsuits seem inevitable.

The Global Campus will also be accredited separately, inheriting Ashford’s accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), instead of the University of Arizona’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation.

So, what is really changing in this deal? All told, it looks like the University of Arizona is just looking to absorb the company as a cash cow, and not lend much more than its name in affiliation to the running of things. The best case scenario would be for the newly minted University of Arizona Global Campus to strive to better business practices that match its affiliation with UA. Worst case scenario? The reputation, and thereby worth, of traditional UA degrees going down the drain.





Choosing a School: What About For-Profit Schools

Be Savvy Choosing Your College

Your GI Bill money is a hard-earned benefit. Investing it wisely will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Once you know what you want to study and why, you have to decide where you want to enroll. Many U.S. colleges are facing challenges because the college-age population is declining.

Falling demand means tightened budgets and aggressive recruiting. In today’s market, if schools know you’re looking, they’ll market to you heavily. Take their words with a grain of salt.

The best way to avoid spending time and money on a degree or certificate with little or no marketplace value is to arm yourself with information. Make sure you understand some fundamentals, including the difference between the three types of colleges: Public, Private, and For-profit.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a College

Research the leadership, reputation, and track record of the colleges you’re interested in attending. Here are some questions to help you make the best choice:

1.) What skills and interests do you have? Find a degree program that plays to your strengths.

2.) What do professionals in the field think or know about the school you’re interested in? Contact some and ask.

3.) Will the school recognize your past coursework or training and/or accept your transferred credit?  Make comparisons.

4.) Is the school accredited? Accreditation refers to a third-party assessment that evaluates the quality standards of the program. You’ll need this information to make sure the degree or certificate you’re pursing will be accepted by the professional licensing boards, unions and/or associations you’ll eventually want to join. You should only consider colleges that hold one or more of the three recognized accreditation types: national, regional, and programmatic.

Accreditation for Colleges and Universities

National accreditation usually applies to For-profit schools focused on vocational training. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission specifically endorses online colleges.

Nonprofit Public and Private colleges usually hold regional accreditation.

Programmatic accreditation extends only to specific degree or diploma paths offered at a given school.

In addition to CollegeRecon’s School Finder tool, you can use the US Department of Education’s College Navigator tool and the Council for Higher Education website to see which schools are accredited, and by whom. It’s important to check both the last 2 lists.

5.) Could your credits from the college be transferred to another school if necessary? For-profit schools can close abruptly, and it’s possible a college of any type could decide to discontinue a program. Even if the school stays the same, your plans could change unexpectedly. Be proactive by making sure you that if you had to change schools, you could still pick up where you left off.

6.) Do you need remedial education to succeed in your chosen program?  If you need some basic prerequisites before you get into your major, could you choose to complete them at an inexpensive community college?

7.) How does the program measure up? Take a minute to run it through the GI Bill Comparison Tool

8.) Does the college have veterans resources? Choosing a college that offers hands-on, person-to-person, help navigating the system can be a big plus. Check to see if college you’re  considering has a Veterans Certifying Official.

Public, Private, For-Profit

Once you cover those bases you’ll also want to find out whether the schools you’re looking at are Public, Private, or For-profit. Here are the fundamental differences you’ll want to consider:

Public Colleges get most of their funding from state and local governments and are usually the least expensive option. They also receive some funding from  private donors. Most decisions about running the school are made by a board of directors.

Private Colleges are typically schools that are both Not-for-profit and tax-exempt. Their funding comes from a combination of private donations and tuition. As with public colleges, most decisions are made by a board of directors.  In recent times, a large number of private four-year colleges in the United States have fallen into high risk financially.  Every year a few of them get absorbed by larger schools, or close their doors. Make sure the one you’re looking at is in a stable position.

For-profit Colleges get the bulk of their income from federal loans, and they have to show a profit. Most decisions about running these schools are made by shareholders who won’t hesitate to raise tuition costs, or reduce the money they spend on students to keep the business afloat.

For-profit colleges tend to cater to non-traditional students, which may make practical sense in terms of flexibility, convenience, and vocational focus. Their instructors are often people working in the field, rather than career professors. Some For-profit Colleges are better than others.

90/10 Loophole

If you’re considering a For-profit program, you should know about the 90/10 Loophole.

Under the federal rule, for-profit institutions are required to get at least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than federal student aid. However, education benefits from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs count toward the 10 percent minimum requirement. As a result, there have been some For-profit schools that have engaged in predatory practices that took advantage of veterans for the sake of GI Bill dollars. There are now movements afoot to have that 90/10 loophole closed. In March of 2020 Maryland became the first state to close it. A group in Oregon is pushing for a similar change.

Other Considerations for a For-Profit School

Here are some other things for you to consider when looking at a For-profit school:

Are their enrollment policies too lenient? Educational institutions are selective. Diploma mills welcome anyone who can scrape up the money to attend.

Are they trying to impress you with huge job placement numbers? Insist on getting more detail to make sure those graduates aren’t just “employed,” but actually working in the field they studied.

Do you know exactly what you’re signing up for?  Don’t let anyone tell you the loan application forms you’re filling out are just a formality.

Don’t wait until you’re enrolled in school to start doing your homework. A little homework on the front end will help ensure you have a better academic experience, a shorter path to success, and an easier transition into your chosen career.





Determine Your Career Path and Education Goals

How to Determine Your Career Path and Education Goals

It isn’t enough to just want to go to school; the time money and effort required demands that you make some hard choices upfront. Unlike a teenager whose parents are footing the bill, you can’t afford to make your education decisions on the fly.

Decision Point #1: Want Do I Want to be When You Grow Up?

This may seem like an odd question for an adult to ask, but it is the question nearly all service members of all paygrades and all ages ask themselves as they prepare for their reintegration into the civilian workforce.

You may not know exactly what job you want to do, but you need to at least settle on a career field before you commit a degree program or school. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:

Do I Like The Job I’m Doing Now?

Let me clarify, are you happy with your military occupation? If so, there are ways to tie your current MOS/Rating/AFSC. Most military specialties can be tied to a civilian career field, using an online Military Skills Translator can help you identify civilian careers that require the some or all of your military skills and experiences.

Do I Have A Dream Job In Mind?

As a GI Bill eligible service member or veteran, you have the unique opportunity to hit reset. This gives you the chance to restart and focus on that dream job you always wanted.

What Do I Most Like To Do?

Some of the best advice you ever get is to follow your passion. If have a hobby or activity that makes you happy, you should explore career options that give you a chance to get paid for doing what you enjoy most.

If you can’t clearly answer these questions, all is not lost, your base Education Services Office or local Department of Veterans Affairs representative can provide counseling and assessments to help you determine the career path that best suits you. In addition, you have access to several online resources to help you make sound career and education decisions, here are the four we recommend:

  • DANTES Career Assessment Tools – The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services (DANTES) offer an online resource to help you plan for the future. Learn about your interests, skills and work values and use those results to build a personal career plan, explore occupational information and plan for your future success.
  • Career Scope – This Department of Veterans Affairs career resource helps veterans determine the best career path for their transition to civilian life.
  • Military Skills Translator – The skills translator will show you a list of current job openings based on your military occupation. This list often produces career suggestions you may not have ever considered before.
  • How to Decide About School – Making the decision to go to school isn’t always easy and there are some things you do have to think about before you decide what to do.

Decision Point #2: Do I Need A Degree, Certification, or Licensure?

Depending on the answers to the previous questions, you may find that pursuing a degree right now may not be right for you. However, you will find that although a degree isn’t needed to get started on your civilian career, a degree will improve your employment opportunities, your entry level, and increase your annual salary. In some cases you will find that you need a combination of a college degree, certification, and licensure to get the best opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook is the government’s premier source of career guidance featuring hundreds of occupations. This tool can help you learn more about a given career choice including salary, education requirements, and job descriptions. It can also help you determine which degree’s best align with your career goals.

Decision Point #3: What Is My Education Goal?

Like the first decision point, you will need to set your career and education goals and develop an action plan. Setting your goals before moving on to the next item on you checklist will ensure you don’t wander off course. Once you have decided on you career path, it will be important to set SMART goals and develop your personal action plan. Learn more about smart goals and action planning.

Here are some additional resources to help you set your career on the right path:

Once you have determined your career path and education goals; you will need to complete the next checklist item and learn more about your benefits. Becoming an expert on your own education benefits before you choose a school will ensure you avoid delays, out-of-pocket expenses.




Civilian Jobs After the Military For:



Tennessee Offers Free Community College to All Adults

Free Community College for All Adults in Tennessee

The Tennessee Promise Scholarship was established in 2014. It was created to help Tennessee’s high school seniors get a college degree by covering two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in the state of Tennessee. The legislation to expand this specific program to all Tennessee adults in need of an associate’s or technical degree was just approved. This makes Tennessee community college free for all adults.

This bill to expand the existing program has not yet been signed into law, but it is expected that Governor Bill Haslam will do so soon. (Governor Haslam signed the original Tennessee Promise Scholarship into law back in the summer of 2014.)

“If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education,” Haslam said in a statement.

Students may use the Tennessee Promise Scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate degree program.

Start Exploring Tennessee Colleges

Scholarship + Mentoring

The scholarship program is two-fold. While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of the Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admission process.

This is accomplished primarily via mandatory mentoring meetings that students must attend in order to remain eligible for the program. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete and submit eight hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their respective institution.





SAT and ACT Tests and Scores: What You Need to Know

SAT and ACT Tests and Scores

If you’re looking to obtain an undergraduate degree, you’ll need to start with admission. In order to gain admission, you’ll likely need to take one of the standardized tests, known as the SAT and ACT tests.

Undergraduate programs include those that result in an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree, and most colleges and universities require a minimum standardized test score for admissions.

Service members and Veterans have access to the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), to pursue educational goals and earn degrees or certifications both during and after their service.

As a part of this assistance, DANTES test sites, located on military installations, can assist you with:

  • Test prep
  • Test funding
  • Exam administration
  • Scoring
  • Retests

In addition to these centers, service members can also test at designated SAT and ACT test locations, but details vary.

Not sure where to start? Here is what you need to know.

The SAT Test

Most colleges and universities utilize the SAT to make their admissions decisions. The SAT tests critical thinking skills required for college coursework in the areas of reading, writing, language and math.

What does SAT mean?  What does SAT stand for?

Originally ‘SAT’ stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test and later, Scholastic Assessment Test.  Now it’s a brand name that doesn’t stand for anything.  It’s just SAT now.

SAT Test Prep

Prior to scheduling your exam, visit the SAT program website for test prep materials. Additionally, DANTES test sites and military education facilities may offer further resources.

Test length: The allotted time to complete the SAT is 3 hours and 15 minutes; for SAT plus essay (which is required at DANTES test sites), 3 hours and 50 minutes is allotted.

Test funding: One (1) SAT with essay is funded if taken at a DANTES test site (SAT plus essay is required). Two (2) SAT exams are funded at an SAT National/International testing center. Payment is handled on a reimbursement schedule, meaning that the service member must pay up-front first.

Scoring and results: Scores are reported 6-8 weeks after receipt by the SAT (if taken at DANTES) and sent via mail. Additionally, scores are available online if an SAT web account is created.

Retests: Retesting at a DANTES test site is not funded, and only two (2) tests may be administered each year. Retests at an SAT testing center may be comped if they fall within the “up to two tests covered” in the lifetime of the service member. As with initial testing, the fees are reimbursed after the fact at an SAT testing site.

NOTE: CollegeRecon’s College Search tool includes the average accepted SAT scores for each university within the school profiles.  

Simply find the school you want to research and within the Overview information you will find the average accepted SAT scores for that school.

For more: To learn further details on the SAT, please click here.

The ACT Test

The ACT test covers four academic areas: English, math, science and reading. As with the SAT, minimum admissions scores and application deadlines for your college or university will typically be found on the school’s website.

ACT Test Prep

Prior to scheduling your exam, visit the ACT program website for test prep materials. Additionally, DANTES test sites and military education facilities may offer further resources.

Test length: The allotted time to complete the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes; ACT Plus Writing provides 3 hours and 55 minutes (please note: the writing exam is not available at DANTES test centers).

Test funding: One (1) ACT exam is funded if taken at a DANTES test site. Two (2) ACT exams are funded at an ACT National/International Testing center. Payment is handled on a reimbursement schedule, meaning that the service member must pay up-front first.

Scoring and results: Scores are reported 2-4 weeks after receipt by the ACT (if taken at a DANTES testing center) and sent via mail. Additionally, scores are available online if an ACT web account is created.

Retests: Retesting at a DANTES test site is not funded, and if tests are taken within 60 calendar days of each other, you will receive an invalid test result. Retests at an ACT testing center may be comped if they fall within the “up to two tests covered” in the lifetime of the service member. As with initial testing, the fees are reimbursed after the fact at an ACT testing site.

NOTE: CollegeRecon’s College Search tool includes the average accepted ACT scores for each university within the school profiles.  

Simply find the school you want to research and within the Overview information you will find the average accepted ACT scores for that school.

For more: for more details on the ACT, please click here.

Tips for Success on the SAT and ACT Tests

As a service member, you understand the value of being prepared. Here are a few considerations to help position you for success:

  • Never underestimate the value of test preparation, and utilize the available tools ahead of time.
  • You are responsible for test scheduling and showing up on time — don’t let your military punctuality slip on testing day.
  • Be cognizant of admissions deadlines and exam testing dates. Research your top schools and become familiar with score requirements. Ensure that you allot enough time for prep, examinations, and score turnaround times so that you have information in hand to apply before admissions deadlines have passed.
  • Reach out to personnel at DANTES testing centers — they are there to help you achieve your academic pursuits.


Where Should You Go to College as a Veteran or Servicemember

These days there are plenty of options when it comes to deciding how you will be getting your education.  Where should you go to college?  We break down some of the considerations on how you can get your degree to help you assess your options.

Where Should You Go to College?

There are different types of programs you can choose from, different college environments, and a decision to go online or in person. You can choose to go to a community college, 4-year public school, 4-year private school, a vocational or trade school, or a mix of more than one.

Here is a little bit of information about some of your options and the costs included with each of them:


For a list of GI Bill approved online schools, start here.

The best part of going to school online is being able to do your schooling from home, and on a more flexible schedule. While you will have due dates as well as times when you have to be on your computer, going to school online will be a lot more flexible than going to school in person. You will also be able to save money on transportation, as well as childcare.

There won’t be an option for room and board if you go to school online which can be a good or a bad thing. That depends on what your housing needs might be and what you are already paying for. You should be aware of extra technology fees that sometimes come with online classes.

To be successful when you go to school online, you will need to have a good working computer and reliable internet. These are extra costs if you don’t already pay for them. There also could be costs for going in to take an exam.

Costs of Going to School Online

The cost of online school will depend on where you are going to go to school.  Some schools offer reduced rates for military so as not to exceed Tuition Assistance reimbursement.  This is great, because this saves you from out-of-pocket costs related to tuition.


As an example Southern New Hampshire University Online is priced at less than $250 per credit hour with the military discount.

If you choose to go through an online program through a 2 or 4-year school, you would most likely pay the same amount in tuition as you would if you were to go in person.

3 things to remember about going to school online:

  1. Going to school online isn’t always the best option with regards to price.  However, going online might be the right choice for you overall.
  2. You can do a hybrid of online and in-person classes if the school you go to allows that.
  3. Make sure to see if the program you want is available online, some programs don’t work well in the online format.

Pros For Going to School Online

    • Flexible schedule
    • Save money on transportation and childcare
    • Can “attend” class in your pajamas

Cons For Going to School Online

    • Reduced BAH of $901.00
    • Possible extra costs for materials, computer and internet
    • May not be great fit for education path you wish to pursue

NOTE: You can easily search exclusively for online degree programs at GI Bill-approved colleges and universities here.

RELATED: Online Colleges for Military

Community College or Junior College

Going to a community or junior college can be a good choice as well. Doing so is usually the most cost-effective choice. You can get an incredible education there for a fraction of the cost of a 4-year university. You can also transfer after a couple of years and save money that way. Community colleges also have two-year programs available.

According to Community College Review, the average Community College cost for tuition alone is $3,400 for in-state tuition and $8,210 for out-of-state. This is a significant savings over a 4-year school.

There are non-financial benefits to going to a Community College too. For one thing, the class sizes will be smaller. Classes might be easier to get into, and the campus can be more manageable. Of course, if you are looking for a more traditional college experience, that might be harder to find if you go the community college route.

3 things to remember about going to school at a Community College or Junior College:

  • Because the costs are a lot cheaper, you can save a lot of money while doing your general education at a community college.
  • Community colleges are perfect for students who don’t quite know what they want to do but want to get started on their education.
  • In some cases, transferring from a community college to a 4-year will be easier to get into than if you started off trying to get into that same 4-year school.

Pros For Going To Community College

    • Less expensive than 4-year school
    • Less crowded classes and typically a smaller campus
    • Easier to get in to classes, not as impacted

Cons For Going To Community College

    • Not a “traditional” 4-year college experience
    • Less or no network establishment

4-Year Colleges and Universities

4-year colleges and universities are a popular choice for education. They offer plenty of amazing programs, and they can make for a traditional college experience. The cost vary based on type of school, state, and a variety of factors.

According to, the average tuition and fees for a public 4-year in-state school would be $9,308, but around $26,427 for out-of-state.  Private 4-year colleges average about $35,801 for tuition and fees.

If you are in need of room and board, that is something to consider as well. The average for a public school is $10,800 and a private, $12,210.

A 4-year school can be the right choice because of the type of education they offer. They will also give you the typical college experience you might be looking for. They overall have more extracurricular activities and more ways to connect with others through the college.

3 things to remember about going to school at 4-year college or university:

● Compare the costs of attending there all 4 years with going to a Community College and then transferring.

● Decide what you want out of your college life. Are you simply wanting to get a degree or do you want to be more involved?

● 4-year schools will have a younger demographic than a community college which is also something to keep in mind when making your decision.

Pros For Attending 4-Year University

    • “Traditional” 4-year college experience
    • More extracurricular activities and facilities
    • Network building

Cons For Attending 4-Year University

    • More expensive, particularly if you go the Private School route.  Check to see if the school you’re considering is a Yellow Ribbon School and you can save money on costs not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Vocational or Trade School

A vocational or trade school are places you can receive a more streamlined education. They focus on specific trades and skill sets. They tend to take less time than a traditional degree, have smaller classes, and more hands-on training.

Some examples of a trade school education would be becoming a CDL truck driver, an electrician, or a dental assistant. The cost will depend on your program. Although some sources say that average for a trade school education is $33,000, a CDL program will only cost you between $3,000-7,000 for everything.

Trade school is going to be cheaper than a 4-year degree but might not be as inexpensive as a Community College education. That will depend on what you want to do.

Three things to remember about going to school at a Vocational or Trade School:

  • They can have the exact program you are looking for and can be the easiest way to get that degree.
  • If you don’t have as much time to go to college, they can be the perfect option.
  • Compare the costs of your specific program to see where it would be cheaper to attend.

Pros for Attending Vocational School

    • Takes less time and is most direct route to education needed for a job
    • Less expensive than a four-year university
    • Hands-on training

Potential Cons for Attending Vocational School

    • May be more expensive than 2-year college depending on what you pursue
    • Flexibility and transferability in new careers is limited

When you are diving in to research your educational options, remember to look into military discounts and programs. Learn more about the GI Bill and MyCAA if you are a military spouse. Although the cost of college is very important, it isn’t always the only factor when it comes to deciding where to go and where to get your degree.

This article explores Choosing A School for all future students.  If you want to learn more about military and veteran-friendly criteria, please go here.


NEXT STEP: Use our Program Matcher to find the school that is the best fit for you!



How Military Spouses Effectively Use CollegeRecon

There are loads of tools that are presented as extremely helpful for military spouses. However, if we don’t know how to most effectively use a tool, then it is hard to see the positive impact it could have on our life.

One topic where a great deal of assistance is needed is military spouses’ education. Utilizing a spouses’ GI Bill or the multitude of funded scholarship programs isn’t easy to navigate. That’s why we put together this guide with how military spouses can most effectively use, the premier online military-affiliated student community.

The best way to think about utilizing this platform is through three steps: Build, Search, Connect. You will first BUILD your profile, then SEARCH for the best colleges that fit your criteria, & finally CONNECT with college admissions counselors & begin a conversation about higher education at their institution.

(Courtesy: DVIDS)


– 100% –
When a user builds their profile it is important to get their profile completion percentage as close to 100% as possible.
– Showcase Yourself –
Profiles are the User’s opportunity to showcase their background and experiences to colleges and universities. The more information the User includes the more likely a college will find something they like about the prospective applicant. A sure fire way to differentiate yourself from other Users on CollegeRecon is to write out a detailed personal statement.
– Personal Statement –
The personal statement is an opportunity for Users to include anything about themselves that they want colleges to know. Whether they go into detail about their previous experiences and some of the skills they’ve learned, outline what it is they want to get out of their college experience, or even just a story that highlights their career aspiration. All of that will be beneficial and will make your profile stand out from others on CollegeRecon

(Courtesy: DVIDS)


– Filters –
Using the search platform effectively comes down to the search filters. It’s hard to lay out a path on how to effectively use the search platform because really it’s a personal thing. Users will have to decide what is most important to him/her in in regards to what he/she is looking to get out of school.
– Name What is Driving Your Decision to Education –
-Users need to ask themselves, what is driving my decision on where I want to attend school. Is it a location thing? A money thing? An academic reputation thing? Will it come down to which schools offer the most support for student Veterans or military-affiliated students? No matter what it is, users need to put an emphasis on those filters over the others on CollegeRecon’s search page.


– Reach Out & Ask Important Questions –
The connection phase is the most important/critical phase of CollegeRecon. The connection phase not only allows users to have all of their questions answered about a certain school, but it is also a vehicle to build a network of contacts at schools without ever having to step foot on campus. Through the initial point of contact at the selected school, Users can get connected with Veteran Affairs Coordinators, certifying officials, admissions counselors, and enrollment specialists. The larger the User can build his/her network, the greater the chance they will eventually get accepted. The more people on campus who know you/you have a relationship with, the better. (These are the most important questions military-affiliated students need to ask college admissions personnel.)
– Differentiate Yourself –
Being able to connect with decision makers at schools is another great opportunity to differentiate yourself from others on CollegeRecon. Make an impression on the point of contact at your selected school, and the way to do that is by asking intelligent questions. Asking the right questions has dual benefits. 1-You come off in a way that shows you care, you’re not just picking any school because you live 5 miles away. You’re taking the time to do the research and ask the right questions. That will reflect you in a positive light. 2- You’re gathering valuable information from several campuses to help you make the right decision. CollegeRecon promotes informed decisions, and the connection phase is where all of that happens. 
So now it’s your turn… Build, Search, and Connect on CollegeRecon today!

12 Questions Veterans Need to Ask College Admissions Reps

College-bound veterans have a lot on the line when they enroll in a degree program. They have a fixed amount of education benefits so enrolling in the right program is crucial.  Connecting with the Veteran Affairs Coordinator or College Admission reps at prospective colleges and universities is the most efficient way to get all military-related questions answered.

Questions to Ask College Admissions Reps as a Military or Veteran Student

The following are 12 questions prospective student veterans should ask Veteran Affairs Coordinators to determine exactly how the school assists military-related students and if it would be a good fit:

Is there a full-time veteran counselor or advisor on campus?

Veteran counselors have the job of supporting veterans on their academic, personal, and career paths. Having a veteran counselor on campus is a sign that the school puts an emphasis on supporting its student veterans.

Prospective students can also find out key information from talking to the veteran counselor, like how many student veterans are currently enrolled at the university, what the popular degree programs are among military-related students and veteran graduation rates.

Is there a Student Veterans of America chapter or any veteran-related clubs on campus?

SVA chapters are great resources for student veterans and offer an opportunity to connect with other like-minded students on campus. Having a support system like an SVA chapter or veteran club offers military-related students a safe place to connect with others who have shared experiences, shared struggles, and similar needs when it comes to finding success on campus.

Connecting with the veteran club president would be a great place to learn more invaluable information on the school and how it serves student veterans.

Does your school award college credit for military experience, the CLEP, or DSST Exams?

Follow up: If so, who should I contact to schedule a meeting for an informal credit evaluation?

There are a few ways that you can translate the experience and knowledge that you acquired through the military into college credit. They are through your ACE Credits, CLEP Exam, and DSST Exam.

This is extremely important to find out at the beginning of the college search process because starting a degree program with college credit already under your belt will save time and money. It’s important to know before enrolling exactly how those credits are awarded though. Do they go towards elective credits or will they count for actual classes that count toward your specific degree program?

Does your school participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Follow up: If so, is there a limit? How much can student veterans expect to receive from Yellow Ribbon funding?

Degree-granting institutions of higher learning participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program agree to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. This is important from a financial standpoint and could save thousands of dollars in tuition-related costs.

It is important to understand that Yellow Ribbon Program schools CAN make the cost of a degree free for eligible veterans. But, that doesn’t mean that every school has the funding to make that happen. For this reason, it’s extremely important to ask what the most recent awards were to student veterans enrolled at the specific institution and what you can expect to receive if you enroll there the following semester.

Is your school approved to accept Tuition Assistance?

Follow up: If so, how much do credit hours cost for active duty personnel?

The military’s Tuition Assistance is a benefit for active duty personnel to help pay for their education without using their GI Bill benefit.

The maximum that Tuition Assistance will pay is $250 per credit hour.

Unfortunately, many schools that advertise that they are “Tuition Assistance Approved” but actually charge more than $250 per credit hour. This can be misleading as some military personnel is under the impression that Tuition Assistance Approved Schools are free for them. Not the case. That is why it’s very important to find out exactly how much each credit hour will cost if you enroll at the school and expect to use your TA benefit.

RELATED: Colleges Fully Covered by Military Tuition Assistance

What is your policy for accepting transfer credits from other colleges?

You’ve spent time and money to acquire the credits that you already have and you want to put them to good use in your new degree program. Great! However, don’t just expect that those credits will count.

Not all schools treat credits equally, especially credits that weren’t acquired at that specific institution. This is why it’s really important to talk to the office that is directly in charge of processing transfer credits. Have all of your credits ready to send to them and ask how those would count toward the completion of a degree program at their institution.

When can I enroll?

You’ll find that schools enroll at different times.  Some schools offer rolling enrollment versus fixed start dates for others.  Check with the school to see what they offer.

Are scholarship or grant options available to military or veterans to help bring down the cost?

Schools will sometimes provide financial benefits to help active duty, military, and dependents bring down the cost of school if the cost of tuition, fees, and/or books exceed your available funding.

>> Find scholarships for military and veterans with the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder.

Do you waive any fees for the military?

Sometimes schools waive fees for military and veterans.  Check with your school to see if they’ll waive any of the following fees:

  • Application fee
  • Book fees
  • Tech or Lab fees

Does your school offer priority enrollment for the military?

Some schools will prioritize veterans and military for enrollment.  This can be an advantage for you to attend the university of your choice.

Do you offer career services or have a career center?

Follow up: Does your career center help with internships while going to school?

Schools will often offer career services to assist you once you’ve graduated.  Additionally, some schools will offer career services to assist you with internships while you’re in school.  You’ll want to know when you can take advantage of their career services, as well as what percentage of graduates they place.

>> Find jobs with agencies looking for separating military, veterans, and spouses with CareerRecon.

Do my transferred credits expire?

Some schools have timeframes for which transfer credits must be utilized or else they will expire.






How “Top” National Universities Serve Veterans


Every year, US News and World Report comes out with a list of the top schools in the USA. They just rolled out their latest lists for top colleges and universities in the United States for 2018, and we want to know, are any of them military friendly universities too?!

Like we have done previously,  we’ve stacked up their   Top 5 National Universities against our standards to see just how well these top institutions serve student veterans and military personnel. (Basically, are there any military friendly universities in this list?)


(The complete list names more than just five schools so be sure to check it out. You’ll also notice there are more than five schools listed below. That is because there were a few ties in US News’s findings.)

US News & World Report’s Top National Universities

#1. Princeton

#2. Harvard

#3. University of Chicago (tie)

#3. Yale (tie)

#5. Columbia University (tie)

#5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)

#5.  Stanford (tie)

We looked deeper into each university in just how they serve military and veterans on campus. How? We looked specifically at just how many military/veteran assistance programs they have and which ones. We included the hyperlink to each university’s full profile so you can fully explore which military & veteran programs they do/don’t have in place. (Learn more about the veteran assistance programs colleges and universities are offering, here.)


(Courtesy: Princeton University)


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.)


University of Chicago 

BAH – $1,956

Tuition – $51,351

Highlights – University of Chicago has the most veteran/military support programs in place out of everyone on this list! They rank #1 on our list of top national universities that also happen to be military-friendly.

Negatives –  University of Chicago doesn’t allow any means of coming onto campus with credit under your belt. What does that mean? They don’t accept CLEP or DSST exams or military experience to be counted for credit. This is a shame as that is one of the things we recommend most for college-bound military-affiliated students. Arriving on campus with credit under your belt will help you to finish your degree sooner.


(Courtesy: Yale 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.)


Columbia University 

BAH – $3,669

Tuition – $53,000

Highlights– Columbia University ranks #2 on our list because they have 7 of the 16 veteran programs in place! Although that is under half of the programs, it is still the second best when comparing this list of schools. 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.



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.


(Courtesy: Stanford University)


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.



Our Ranking : How Top National Universities Rank As Military Friendly Universities

#1. University of Chicago

#2. Columbia University

#3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)

#3. Yale (tie)

#3. Princeton (tie)

#3. Stanford (tie)

#5. Harvard (tie)



Before accepting published “Top” lists for truth, know that every ranking institution is searching for different factors. We are searching and ranking based on military-friendliness & military-supportiveness. US News & World Report ranks on a whole host of other criteria.

If you are a military affiliated individual looking to start the college search process… start here. This tool highlights all of the programming that colleges and universities do and don’t have. Don’t end up at a school that isn’t prepared to support you as a veteran or military personnel! Do your research!


(Featured Image Courtesy DVIDS)


Top Veteran Friendly Universities in The U.S.

You know that you’re going back to school and want to enroll in a degree program that will be the stepping stone for your career. You also know that you need the university you enroll at to have military and veteran support programs to help you succeed. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the top veteran friendly universities in the US.

We’ve rounded up a list (in no particular order) of the top veteran friendly universities in the United States.

The top veteran friendly universities in the US

University of New Haven

Hawaii Pacific University

National Louis University

University of Maryland-University College

Mercy College


How did we come up with this list?

All of the above veteran friendly universities have the following:

  1. A Basic Allowance for Housing of $2,114 or higher
  2. A Student Veterans of America Chapter
  3. A Full-time Veteran Counselor on Campus
  4. A Club or Association For Veterans
  5. Approved for TA Funding
  6. Awards College Credit For Military Experience
  7. Awards Credit for CLEP & DSST Exams
  8. Yellow Ribbon Program School
  9. Reduced Tuition for Military

Related: check out the schools with the Highest BAH rates in the country.  Or find BAH by State.

If you aren’t aware of all of these different military assistance programs, you can learn about them all here. (*It’s programs like those mentioned above, that make transitioning from the military to campus far easier. )

University of New Haven

University of New Haven is comprised of six degree-granting colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, the College of Business, the Tagliatela College of Engineering, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and the College of Lifelong & eLearning for adult and online students. UNH also has a Veteran Student Emergency Fund, which is entirely dependent on donations, which was established to assist student veterans who encounter an unforeseen financial emergency throughout the semester, including a delay in benefits, BAH and book stipends from the VA.

Hawaii Pacific University

Hawaii Pacific University’s Military Campus Programs/Off-Campus Programs specialize in helping military service members, their families, Veterans, U.S. Government civilians and other non-traditional students achieve their educational and professional goals. The Military Campus Programs offer an American education built on liberal arts foundation recognizing the need for flexibility without sacrificing academic integrity. They utilize various traditional and online learning course delivery methods to educate their students.

National Louis University

National Louis University offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through three colleges: the National College of Education, the College of Management and Business and the College of Arts and Sciences. They are best known for being We a teacher of teachers, graduating more graduate education degrees than any other university in Illinois. They also are known for having a diverse student body, helping students of all ages and backgrounds achieve their personal and professional goals.

University of Maryland-University College

UMUC offers 120 academic programs in instructor-led and online classes, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. In addition to the university’s online learning formats, they offer 20+ regional locations in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia with hybrid and on-site classes. UMUC has dedicated veterans advising teams, experienced military leadership, and veteran‑friendly faculty to help military-affiliated students to succeed.

Mercy College

Mercy College is a four-year, private institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy College has five schools: Business, Education, Health & Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social & Behavioral Sciences, and offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. BAH for students enrolled at Mercy College is currently $2,901.

Exploring These Universities…

To get a better idea of all these universities have to offer, explore their university profiles here. Most notably, you can also start a conversation with admissions personnel here. This way you can figure out if the university is the right fit for you. Best of luck!


(Featured Image Courtesy: DVIDS)








How Veterans Successfully Start The College Search

The college search. A process that many don’t look forward to or thrive in. There are so many schools out there, how on earth could you find THE one?

Most online college search let you search for schools based on the normal things one looks for: tuition range, private vs. public, location, degree programs, etc. However, choosing a school as a military affiliated personnel comes with a list of other criteria that an institution should offer. (Ex: Does it have an on campus veterans group? Is there a specific veterans counselor? Are there options for using military experience as college credit?) 

Until now, there hasn’t been a search tool that also lets you search for those programs that are specific to military affiliated students. Thankfully, now you are just 3 steps away from finding a college that fits your military specific needs & interests.

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

Introducing… was created specifically for military & veterans embarking on the college search process. With just a few clicks, you can get a list of not-for-profit schools that fit the different veteran program criteria you select. Then, begin the conversation with admissions counselors to find out if their school fits your lifestyle and needs. (It’s that easy? Yes! Let me further explain each step…)


The three step process of how veterans successfully start the college search with CollegeRecon…

1. Search For Your Ideal Schools

The CollegeRecon database includes over 3,000 not-for-profit colleges and universities. It’s database is wired to be able to search through those 3,000 schools depending upon the specific veteran programs you want your college or university to have. 

While searching, you need to consider what you need/want at your ideal college or university. Exploring all of the veteran & military assistance programs that schools are offer is important so that you can then search for schools that have those desirable programs. This article will teach you all about each program, and maybe even teach you about some you didn’t know existed.

On top of the ability to search for military assistance programs, the tool also allows you to search for the usual college search criteria: tuition, location, 2-year or 4-year, private vs. public, specific degree programs, etc.

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

2. Make Yourself Stand Out

To fully take advantage of all that this tool has to offer, you want to quickly make a profile. Input your background and experiences so that admissions personnel have the best idea of who you are. Keeping your profile up-to-date can cut down on the time you put into searching for schools because schools can then reach out to you on the platform. (Which I will expand on in #3…)


3. Engage With Schools

You can actually engage with and reach out to schools through this platform. If you see an interesting school, but have questions, simply message the school on the platform and their admissions personnel will get back to you shortly. 

Going back to #2 above, craft your profile to give the best picture of who you are and how you stand out from other college-bound veterans and military personnel. Why? Because admissions personnel can also reach out to you via this platform, but they will never have your e-mail address or contact information. Giving them the best picture of you will help them know if their institution is a good fit for you. This is a great way to begin discussions without handing out your contact info!

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

Begin Today… is a one-stop-shop: Search for schools, learn about the assistance programming you need, & engage with admissions personnel. Explore the platform today and see if it is a good fit for you and your college search!


(Featured Image Courtesy of DVIDS.)

A Community College for Airmen & Women

How Airmen & Women Can Enroll at The Community College of the Air Force

Being active duty in the Air Force means that you are also afforded opportunities to continue your education while serving. How? Through the Community College of the Air Force.  The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is a worldwide multi-campus community college established to meet the educational needs of the Air Force’s enlisted personnel.

CCAF partners with over 108 affiliated Air Force schools, 82 Education Service Offices located worldwide, and more than 1,500 civilian academic institutions to serve approximately 300,000 active, guard, and reserve enlisted personnel. This makes CCAF the world’s largest community college system. The college annually awards over 22,000 associate in applied science degrees from 68 degree programs.

CCAF is The Only Degree-Granting Institution of Higher Learning in The World Dedicated Exclusively to Enlisted Personnel

The CCAF strives to meet the demands of the Air Force’s expeditionary environment and at the same time help airmen achieve their educational goals by capitalizing on job-related training and education as part of flexible degree completion programs.  

“Offer and award job-related associate in applied science degrees and other academic credentials that enhance mission readiness, contribute to recruiting, assist in retention, and support the career transitions and professional growth of the Air Force enlisted corps.” – CCAF Mission

Diverse CCAF Programs

There are countless programs under the CCAF umbrella that cater to the different needs of airmen & women. One of them being General Education Mobile (GEM).

GEM is a partnership between the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and accredited civilian academic institutions that offer freshman/sophomore general education courses.  These courses are offered via distance learning format and meet the CCAF Associate in Applied Science (AAS) requirements.   

What is a General Education Mobile (GEM) Program?

  • A GEM program is a partnership between CCAF and civilian academic institutions
  • GEM offers general education courses to meet CCAF AAS degree requirements
  • Courses are offered in distance learning formats: anytime and anywhere
  • GEM reduces the CCAF educational impact of deployments, PCS, and family commitments

Why Enroll in a CCAF Program?

Enrolling in a CCAF program while enlisted in the Air Force could be the catalyst to set you up for a bright and successful future. As a result of keeping up your academic skills while serving, your transition into a bachelor’s degree program is likely to be smooth.

Depending upon your service, you could have full GI Bill benefits to pay for a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. The biggest hurdle to tackle when going to school after serving, is getting back into academic shape. (You won’t have that hurdle to tackle if you get an associate’s degree with the CCAF.)

Continuing your education through an associate in applied science degree will set you up for success. You’ll learn from real world experiences in the military while also learning in the classroom and staying ‘academically fit’. (Win, win!)

Enroll Today

Learn more about the opportunities that the CCAF can afford you, here.








How I Found The Military Friendly School For Me

How do you best position yourself for life after the military? Sgt. Andres Reyes has an idea, “I’m going to continue my education.  I always want to be learning.”

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

From the Army to College

Sgt. Reyes has been in the Army for nine years, but after an injury while serving he began thinking about what his future after the military will look like. As a trained Army nurse and EMT, Reyes looks to carry his military experiences & skill set into life post-military. What’s the next step for him? A degree.

Reyes knew he wanted to enroll in a school in nursing informatics, but had no idea where to begin or how it would work with him being in the military.


The College Connection Tool For GI Bill Users

At the end of 2015, Reyes heard of a resource called CollegeRecon, and after some digging on the internet he came to the following conclusion, “The usability of the website, the benefits & search tool, everything… It’s truly amazing how much time it can save military affiliated students looking to get a degree,” Reyes told us.

What is

It is an online search tool that helps connect military affiliated students to the college or university that fits their needs. What sets it apart: This search tool allows college-bound individuals to search for schools that offer specific military assistance & programming.

For example, The Yellow Ribbon Program, 8 Keys to Veteran Success, a Student Veteran Counselor, a Student Veterans of America Chapter… these are just a few of the 16 different assistance programs that colleges & universities are putting in place to assist military-affiliated students across the country.

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

How CollegeRecon works

Sgt. Reyes quickly created a profile on & contacted over 50 different schools. He knew what career field he was going to end up in after graduation & set his sights on the corresponding degree program that would get him there.

“The only person who is going to represent you and your future is you. Accountability is #1, to yourself and to your goals.” – Sgt. Andres Reyes

After weeks of communicating with different admissions counselors and getting approval to apply to a school, Sgt. Reyes has some good news… He is happy to announce that he will be double majoring in Information Technology Management and Information Security and Risk Management at Lewis University  beginning this summer. “I would never have found Lewis University if it wasn’t for!”

“Finding military-friendly schools that aren’t just out for your benefits… that is so difficult. That is just one of the reasons why veterans have such a hard time transitioning to the civilian side.” – Sgt. Reyes


(Courtesy: DVIDS)

Sgt. Reyes’s Advice

For those also looking ahead to what their future will look like after the military, Sgt. Reyes has some advice:

“Before you start looking at colleges & universities, figure out what you want go for. Figure out the path. What is the end goal you want to achieve? Then make your profile on and begin the search for the right school for you.”

 Thank you Sgt. Reyes for sharing your personal experience with us!

GI Bill For-Profits College Issues & Problems

Considerable changes have come to the for-profit sector of the higher education world.  These dramatic shifts have caused for-profit schools to lose their accreditation or close altogether. As a result, GI Bill users have lost college credits credits, received diminished education benefits and the sudden loss of a housing allowance.

For-Profit Institution Problems

Most recently, Ashford University was sued by the state of California for “misleading students about its tuition costs, burying them in student loan debt and offering little of value in return.” It’s been called, “an institution that professed to provide higher education but was making a ton of money instead.”

Why is California up in arms about Ashford? Because the cost of an online education is more than $60,000 and most students do not graduate. Those that do graduate, leave laden with student debt and without a job.

Additionally, the largest for-profit school accreditor, ACICS, lost its authority due to “loose oversight” in 2016 only to have it restored in April of 2017. In addition, nationally recognized institutions like ITT Tech shut their doors in recent years along with other for-profit schools. 

How GI Bill Users Were Hurt

When ITT Tech shut their doors, military affiliated students enrolled there stopped receiving their Basic Housing Allowance (BAH). It was also made clear when this all began to unfold, that those students won’t get any of the GI Bill money they spent at that institution back. Why is that bad? Because then if they want to try to transfer those credits to a new institution to complete their degree, most likely that degree won’t value those credits. 

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

The VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs set up a Breaking News feed that updates those affected by recent changes and any GI Bill updates. These updates include tips on what to consider when using your GI Bill as well as how current events could affect GI Bill payments. 

Back when ITT closed their doors, this VA Breaking News Feed posted the following,

“Depending on your student status and your interactions with ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans forgiven, cancelled or discharged and may be eligible to be reimbursed for loans you already paid.” Great news for some, but for so many they would just like to have their GI Bill dollars that they earned from serving in the military reinstated to where they can attend an accredited (and hopefully non-profit) school to attain a worthwhile degree.

A more sobering post from September 28, 2016,

“Knowing that not only are you without a school, but also without the housing allowance to help pay your bills, we recognize this may put you at risk of being unable to stay in your home. If you face the possibility of losing your residence, please contact our National Call Center for Homeless Veterans…”

If you need assistance, here’s the contact info:

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans

1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)

(Courtesy: DVIDS)

A Solution – How GI Bill Users Can Avoid These Issues

Hindsight is 20/20. So how do we stop the cycle of GI Bill users who succumb to for-profit institution ploys?

Here’s one solution: Don’t even look at for-profit schools when searching for a degree program.

This online database only has not-for-profits in it. Therefore, you can search for schools with specific military assistance programming and all the schools that will populate in your search will be non-profits.

Starting the search with this tool will help college-bound students to completely avoid the mess of for-profits. 







How Top Public Universities Serve Student Veterans

US News & World Report just rolled out their latest list(s) for top colleges and universities in the United States for 2017! Like we have done previously, we’re going to stack  The Top Public National Universities against our standards to see just how well these top institutions serve student veterans and military personnel. 

(Courtesy: University of California Berkeley)

2017 Top 7 Public National Universities

(You’ll notice there is a tie for #2 this year.)

#1. University of California-Berkeley

#2. University of California-Los Angeles

#2. University of Virginia

#4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

#5. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

#6. College of William & Mary

#7. Georgia Institute of Technology

***All public schools are now required to provide in-state tuition to veterans and eligible dependents in order for the school to remain eligible to receive GI Bill education payments.

How These Schools Serve Veterans

#1. University of California- Berkeley

Participates in 11 of the 17 Military & Veteran programs we deem crucial for higher education institutions to adhere to/participate in.

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $13,510

In-state Graduate Tuition: $13,510

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 389


Maybe we’re just being greedy, but in our eyes only offering credit for military experience and not awarding credit for DSST and/or CLEP Exams is a negative.


Berkeley’s MBA program created their own Veterans group which creates avenues for mentorship and career assistance. There is also an impressive list of staff dedicated to student veterans on campus: a Veterans Services Director, individuals in the office of the Registrar who specifically serve Veterans, and a Coordinator of Veterans Outreach. WOW. 

(Courtesy: UCLA’s The Daily Bruin)

#2. University of California-Los Angeles

Participates in 11 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $12,736

In-state Graduate Tuition: $11,220

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 460


There seems to be a lot going on in terms of research and collaborative medicine at UCLA for military, veterans, and their families including one program that looks particularly interesting: Operation Mend. A career-driven veterans program is called Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.


UCLA’s site states, “You will receive very limited transfer credit from your military training.” Unfortunately that is the only glimpse of offering military and veterans an opportunity to use prior knowledge/experiences toward a degree program at UCLA.

(Courtesy: The Odyssey Online)

#2. University of Virginia

Participates in 10 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $15,192

In-state graduate Tuition: $14,164

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 575


They don’t award credit for either the CLEP or DSST Exams.


Unfortunately we couldn’t find anything that sets UVA’s veterans programs apart. That’s not to say that there isn’t, but we couldn’t find anything after extensive digging.

#4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Participates in 13 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $13,856

In-state Graduate Tuition: $20,638

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 390


University of Michigan Ann Arbor has the P.A.V.E Program (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education) which pairs incoming student veterans with trained current student veterans to help the new students successfully navigate the transition to college. Also their Student Veterans Council has representatives from several centralized student services offices across campus which keeps a voice for veterans active across campus.


DSST Exam credits aren’t accepted at this campus. DSST scores are used for both upper and lower level credits, and CLEP credits are almost exclusively for lower level credits.

(Courtesy: UNC Chapel Hill)

#5. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Participates in 14 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $8,591

In-state Graduate Tuition: $9,143

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 419


Their Boot Print to Heel Print Orientation Program  caters a special orientation program for veteran and military students transitioning from service. Chapel Hill proves their emphasis on taking care of student veterans through the Challenge Coin Nomination. This award represents the acknowledgement of exceptional excellence and success of military members and those who support them through their missions.


Chapel Hill doesn’t offer credit for the DSST exam.


#6. College of William & Mary

Participates in 8 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $19,372

In-state Graduate Tuition: $8,009

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 352


The College of William and Mary states, “Students with prior service in the Armed Forces of the United States may present the Joint Services Transcript or other documentation to the Office of the University Registrar.  Equivalencies to William & Mary courses rarely exist, but where they do, credit may be granted with departmental approval.  The ACE Guide will be consulted, but its recommendations do not automatically apply.” It sounds like there’s no guaranteed way to use prior knowledge or experience to acquire course credit for a program at William and Mary.


This college is approved for TA Funding. Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses of its members. William & Mary also offers Priority Registration to those military, veterans, and dependents who qualify ensuring that they are able to enroll in the courses they need. 

(Courtesy: Georgia Institute of Technology)

#7. Georgia Institute of Technology

Participates in 10 of 17 Veteran & Military programs

In-state Undergraduate Tuition: $11,394

In-state Graduate Tuition: $12,344

GI Bill Student Enrollment: 270


Georgia Tech doesn’t offer any means of using prior experience/knowledge for acquiring college credit. (They don’t offer credit for Military Experiences, the CLEP Exam, or DSST Exam.) Bummer.


Georgia Institute of Technology has one of the best Veterans websites we have seen.


In Conclusion…

Hopefully, our investigation into each university has given you a better picture of what these top institutions are currently doing for military and veteran students. For more information on each university’s military programming check out each university’s respective profile on a free resource that specifically tracks not-for-profit higher education institutions’ military and veteran programming.

(Featured Image Courtesy of University of Michigan Ann Arbor)


What Colleges Look For In Prospective Student Veterans

You knew what your military superiors wanted & expected of you, but you are now faced with the question, ‘What do admissions counselors look for and want from you?’ Here’s how to go into the admissions process with a clear strategy and end goal in sight as a military affiliated student.

Applying to college as a military veteran

Approach the college application process like you would any opportunity in the military. Get to know who is making the decision, have a conversation with them, and make sure they remember you for the right reasons.

Once you have researched your ideal college or university and have spoken to admissions counselors, you’re ready to begin the application process. But, how do you appropriately highlight your experiences in the military to them? How will your time in service translate onto a college campus?

Let’s first discuss what institutions are looking for in prospective students and how you can use that framework to your advantage.

What colleges look for in prospective students

  • Leadership
  • A willingness to take risks
  • Initiative
  • A sense of social responsibility
  • A commitment to service

According to the dean of Admissions at The University of Tulsa, the above six points are the best indicators of what students will bring onto campus. Uniqueness within these areas and characteristics is what is going to make you stand out to the admissions panel.    

The 6 characteristics demonstrated through military experiences

  • Leadership — In the military you were most likely appointed to lead a project or a mission. However small or big that leadership position was it doesn’t negate the fact that you were the leader. Take this opportunity to expand on that particular situation and how you see your learned leadership skills will transfer into your campus life.
  • A willingness to take risks — Putting yourself in harms way voluntarily is a huge risk you took when you signed up for the military. The tricky part about this is that life on campus is not life or death. How can your risks in the military translate into calculated risks on campus? Will you start the campus’s first ever Veterans club with the knowledge that it could flop? 
  • Initiative — When have you taken initiative and what was the outcome? 
  • A sense of social responsibility — Do you feel you have an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large? Is that why you went into the military? Where did your sense of social responsibility sprout from?
  • A commitment to service — You’ve got this one covered. Why did you choose to go into military service? How else have you applied service in your life? What does serving others mean to you?


Make sure to articulate in your application what you’ve learned from your experience while serving our country.” — UC Berckley Veteran Site 

“What is it that makes you unique, and how will you contribute to the life of our campus?” 

How will you contribute to campus?

College campuses try to be all that you need. However, they also want to make sure that you are what they need. Institutions want well-rounded, dynamic students who will make a difference on campus. So, go ahead… start brainstorming. How are you going to contribute to your campus?

A game-changing tip for veterans applying to college:

It’s really difficult (or so I think) to write about oneself and toot your own horn. So let someone else do it! Put careful thought into a mentor or superior you have worked with closely and who can speak about you on different levels. Ask if they would be willing to write a recommendation letter on your behalf and submit it along with your application. You don’t have loads of recent grade reports to speak for you if you just got out of the military. Instead, you have real life experiences and relationships with people who can speak about your past.


Related Articles:

15+ Universities with the Most Veterans Programs

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.

Universities with the Most Important Veterans Programs

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*.

*More on this later.

Schools with the Most Veteran Support Programs

  1. Southern New Hampshire University Online
  2. Columbia College Missouri
  3. Colorado State University Fort Collins
  4. Northern Arizona University
  5. University of South Florida
  6. University of Arizona
  7. Upper Iowa University
  8. Kansas State University
  9. Wright State University-Main Campus
  10. Old Dominion University
  11. University of North Dakota
  12. Southern Illinois University- Carbondale Campus
  13. Eastern Kentucky University
  14. Jacksonville University
  15. Austin Peay State University
  16. University of Utah

All of the above college and universities have the following programs/policies in place:

The Importance of These 8 Veterans Programs

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 most advantageous to seek out schools that have most, if not all, of the above programs that apply to you.

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 runaround.

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 (TA) 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.

RELATED: Schools Fully Covered By Tuition Assistance

Yellow Ribbon Schools

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 be on your way to enrolling at a college or university that should be able to support you and your needs.





Evangel University Is Dedicated to Veteran Success

Evangel University combines an affordable and welcoming campus with a dedication to academic excellence, spiritual empowerment and future success. Let’s see how they apply this to ensuring veteran success.

Evangel University “Boldly Christian, Unquestionably Academic.”

Now, more than ever, students are looking for a university that offers what they need to become well-rounded students. Evangel students are thirsty to be engaged and educated both spiritually and mentally. Does this sound like an institution that would fit your needs?

Overview of Evangel University

Steeped in history, Evangel University is also breaking down barriers to become a cutting-edge, private, Christian institution in rural Missouri.

“Our commitment to the integration of faith, learning and life attracts students from a wide variety of Christian backgrounds. These students have a strong commitment to academics and an even stronger desire to combine their Christian faith with every aspect of their lives.”

With a current enrollment of 2,200 students (including undergraduate and graduate), Evangel offers its students over 100 academic programs including adult and graduate degree programs with average classes sizes at just 25 students.  However, if heading onto the 80 acre campus in Springfield, Missouri isn’t for you, online courses are also available.

Evangel University &  Student Veteran Success

Exciting news for student veterans at Evangel… In February 2016, the university received a long-awaited SVA chapter. Current student veteran enrollment is 81, with 19 veterans on campus as faculty and staff.

A few of the programs that Evangel offers: awarding credit for the CLEP Exam, Yellow Ribbon Program, and its new SVA Chapter.

(Courtesy Evangel University)

Life at Evangel University

Evangel was recently named one of America’s most affordable and inviting campuses. For you veterans choosing to live on campus, this will help to extend your GI Bill benefits.

To really get to know what life is like on campus it’s best to go straight to the source… We suggest reading up on student publications, newspapers, and blogs (like the Evangel campus blog) so that you can get the best picture of what life is like on campus. What better way to learn what the school is really all about and decide if its a place where you want to be?


Check out Evangel’s profile on CollegeRecon and begin your conversation with their admissions counselor today.



How The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success Program Helps You Graduate From College

I recently found an article about the issues faced by student veterans at my alma mater. The article perfectly outlined why student veterans drop out of school.

I figured that other universities were experiencing the same problems as my school, and wanted to know what was being done to solve these issues.

That’s when I looked deeply at the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success. These are proven steps that community colleges, colleges and universities can implement to help you transition from the military and into the classroom, and then thrive once you are there.

Problems Faced By Veterans In College

You’ve probably heard of or experienced stories like the article described:

  • The student veteran community felt unsupported by the university’s administration.
  • The director of the Veteran Resource Team resigned because he was unable to effectively maintain a successful veterans program.
  • The veteran students had inadequate facilities to meet and talk about their experiences together.

And incredibly, veterans were being harassed by fellow students.

The university administration promised improvements, but there was a stark contrast between what was promised and what was delivered.

Sound familiar to you?

(Courtesy: Alex Horton, The Atlantic)

Never Assume School Will Be Easy For You

Transitioning to civilian life can be difficult enough. So many veterans already face readjustment issues, along with recovery from physical and mental injuries.

And without extra assistance, a lot of veterans will fail to graduate.

What about the GI Bill?

You might ask, won’t the GI Bill give veterans all the help they need?

The GI Bill provides funding, but it’s not a support system.

The GI Bill is intended to get you through college and back into the working world. Most veterans who served on active duty since September 10, 2001 qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Of the GI Bill, Tom Tarantino of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says:

“The GI Bill isn’t a thank you for your service. What it really is is a readjustment benefit. It is giving them the opportunity to do something that is constructive for their mind and their body, that gives them a mission and allows them to move forward in life. It’s a backstop so you’re not walking right off the plane from combat in to the civilian world. It was designed to be a soft landing.”

Not only does GI Bill money pay for your education, it’s also a huge incentive to colleges and universities because your GI Bill payment is guaranteed by the government.

So it’s in the schools’ best interests to provide a great environment and support for veterans attending school, right?

Why then do so many schools fail to keep veterans on campus? Is it because school administrations don’t understand what student veterans need to succeed in college?

(Image: Stephen M. Katz | The Virginian-Pilot)

The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success Is a New Program Built on Proven Methods

The 8 Keys to Success was developed by President Obama’s administration in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The 8 Keys program answers the concerns of academics and veterans’ advocates, who warn that many schools today are unprepared to deal with the unique needs of current and former service members.

The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success Provide These Guidelines

1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.

2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.

3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.

4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).

5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.

6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion.

7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.

8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.

The 8 Keys to Success provide standardized guidelines and programs for all schools to help them support YOU.

(Image: Larry Abramson/NPR)

Want an Easy Way to Find THE Right School for You?

When you’re choosing your target colleges, look for schools who adhere to the 8 Keys to Success. These schools want to do right by you and have promised to work hard to earn your trust.

You can find all the schools who have committed to these standards on the 8 Keys website. It’s a massive spreadsheet, but it’s a good resource to have.

Of course, CollegeRecon provides that information in our school profiles.

You can research schools on to find those institutions with the right balance of veteran support – 8 Keys to Success, credits for military experience, financial assistance – and personal preferences that are right for you.

Use the data points to guide you, do your research, and pick the school that’s right for you.

Just remember that the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success are important factors to consider.

Can the 8 Keys help you succeed in school?


But what do you think? Have you attended a school who is committed to the 8 Keys and did not provide a good experience for you? Do you attend a college who hasn’t committed to the program, yet exceeds your expectations?

Let us know in the comments below.

(Featured Image Courtesy: Arizona State U.)

Noodle works with top U.S. universities to build and manage online programs. Use the calendar to book a meeting and we'll send you a survey to prepare you for the appointment. Then we'll help answer any of your questions over the phone to kickstart your search. Our counselors are partial to recommending partner universities, but they'll help you find the right path regardless, even if that means suggesting another school. We won't share your data with any schools unless you want us to.

New England Institute of Technology Helps Student Veterans

Getting a degree in as little as 18 months sounds impossible to some, but not to the student veterans at New England Institute of Technology.

(Courtesy: Pipe Communications)

About New England Institute of Technology

The New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) offers its 2,813 students Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Online Degrees in over 50 programs. With a school calendar running on quarters instead of semesters, NEIT classes begin four times a year, in January, March/April, July and October.

For students with changing schedules (cough cough, student veterans and military personnel), this school calendar compliments their lifestyle well.

NEIT is located in rural East Greenwich, Rhode Island and has attracted 223 military connected students to its campus. Although it is a private institution and is not cheap (current tuition is $23,301 a year), NEIT is only a 2-year program as opposed to four years.

(Courtesy: New England Institute of Technology)

How NEIT Supports Veterans

The New England Institute of Technology supports its student veterans and military connected students through a handful of financial and academic ways.

Currently enrolled students who are eligible receive a BAH of $1,870 and a hefty annual payment from the Yellow Ribbon Program.

“Starting in the Fall 2016 quarter, the college will provide up to $3225 annually in Yellow Ribbon benefits to each eligible student, which is matched by an equal $3225 annual maximum by the Veterans Administration.”

To help their students hit the ground running with some credit under their belt, NEIT awards ACE Credit for military experience and the CLEP exam, and follows ACE standards for credit. (All of these programs and jargon are fully explained here.)

US News & World Report Ranked

Not only does the New England Institute of Technology have many options, but it is also nationally ranked by US News & World Report, whose annual Best Colleges rankings put NEIT’s Online Bachelor’s Program as #49 on their list!

Outside of the Classroom

Looking to get involved on campus? Wanting more than just a degree? The New England Institute of Technology also has a multitude of interesting activities and clubs, but one highlight is called SkillsUSA.

SkillsUSA is national organization that prepares America’s workers, and offers training programs in technical occupations. Students are taught communication skills, work attitudes and self-reliance. This organization promotes an understanding of the free enterprise system and involvement in community service.

If New England Institute of Technology sounds like a good fit for you, check out their full profile and start a conversation with their admissions counselors.



Exit mobile version