The United States is the country with the biggest military spending in the world. If you add up the other 9 countries’s spendings in the top 10, you don’t reach the U.S. military budget.
With such a pedigree, it is no surprise that the military is embedded into American culture. To put things in perspective, there are over 17 million veterans in the U.S., according to the United States Census Bureau. And this is just veterans. Think how many more people are currently serving. For the record, it’s a little less than 2 millions.
The U.S. Army is massive, so it makes sense they have lots of welfare programs designed for soldiers and their loved ones. Military people often spend years away from their home, in one of the U.S. many military bases worldwide. And their spouses must attend to the kids while living alone.
Military spouses are eligible for plenty of benefits, including healthcare, easier access to credit, and education. Many businesses also give military discounts to military personnel. There are also programs that help them get a job in the federal government.
In this article, we are going to see what are the best online colleges for military spouses, and what makes them so.
Getting an Education as a Military Spouse
Education is king in the current world, and military spouses can access many benefits if they decide to pursue higher education. The reasons for these programs are many:
- People who are serving are often absent from home
- Unemployment among military spouses is high
- It’s a way of thanking people for their service
What separates military spouses from regular students is the access to military-specific help programs, like MyCAA. These programs offer grants or scholarship aimed at military spouses. If you always dreamed of going to college but never could, these programs are a godsend.
The U.S. Department of Defense gives spouses access to their personal career coach. If you need help to understand MyCAA benefits, investigating career options, or what programs would best benefit you and your skill set, schedule a career coaching session.
These education bonuses work great with the federal agencies programs using the military spouse non-competitive hiring process. These programs give spouses preferential treatment in the hiring process, but you still need to meet the requirements for the job.
So, if a certain degree is needed for these job openings, the grants and scholarships can be a great stepping stone to getting a job with the government.
The Support You Can Expect
Want to get a job as a civilian in a specific military field? There are grants and loan programs for you. Examples include the CGMA education grant and loans for coast guards, or the NCMRS education help program for marines.
Online colleges are a great way for military spouses to advance their education. If you have kids, or you have a full-time job, but still want to level up your resume, they are the perfect solution for you.
The power of online colleges is in their flexibility. You aren’t forced to go to class at specific hours. As long as you have time to watch the recorded lessons, you’ll be fine.
College is expensive, but it’s worth it. Getting a degree gives you a high return on your investment, as long as you get the right degree and make use of it.
Let’s paint a hypothetic scenario: you spend $20.000 to get a degree from an online college, and thanks to it, you get a job that pays you $10.000 more than your current job. It’d take you only 2 years to repay your degree, and from then on, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Degrees are also helpful because they help you advance quicker in your career. And if you don’t have a job, they make it so much easier to get one.
The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO)
This is a program that offers military spouses resources to get back in education. It is an entire website dedicated to offer all the information and help necessary to pick the right university course for spouses.
There you can learn more about possible career paths based on your skills and interests. You can also get help in picking the right college for you.
There are other nice perks for participating in the MySECO program, such as free LinkedIn Premium, a Resume Builder, and access to relevant statistics and data about employment trends in your area and national wages.
The 20 best online colleges for military spouses
There are certain factors that make colleges better than others for military spouses. You can tell if a college cares or not about military personnel. Check if your college of choice offers dedicated support to military personnel and spouses.
Things like the college having a way to contact support services for military personnel, or if it offers special services like counseling to military spouses. And of course, accepting grants and scholarship programs like the GI Bill.
Editor’s note: all colleges on this list are accredited. It’s the main factor that makes a college trustworthy. Non-accredited schools aren’t taken seriously by anyone, so there’s no point in listing them here.
Georgia State University offers over 200 programs online. If you’re looking to get a degree and start a career in a new field, you won’t be disappointed with GSU. The university’s method of online teaching offers great flexibility, which is perfect for military spouses who might be alone at home with children, or working a day job. Time isn’t always on your side, especially when you have plenty of obligations.
The college offers a Military Outreach Center, an institution that offers military students support and guidance, from application to graduation. If you are unsure if you qualify for potential military benefits as a spouse, or you don’t know about your potential careers, this is an excellent service.
Most military spouses have been out of school for a while. If this sounds like you, take advantage of the free counseling offered, it’s going to save you a lot of time and future headaches.
GSU is great because getting your degree won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It has reasonable prices for a degree. You’re still getting top-quality education too, so don’t think that cheap equals bad.
If you are a military spouse looking for great education and support facilities geared towards your situation, it’s hard to top GSU.
Amridge University is a private non-profit college focusing on online learning. Much like other schools on this list it’s been awarded with the Military Friendly School award. This school used to be only about theology, but it has now expanded to offer courses in business administration, systems management, criminal justice, family therapy, and so on.
Amridge offers courses at all levels, including PhDs. What makes it a military friendly school is its lowered tuition for military spouses. You get a hefty discount if you are one.
Education-wise, Amridge is slightly worse than other colleges on this list, because it doesn’t offer as many programs. Still, being an online-focused institution, you’ll notice that there are some perks to studying here. Professors are more experienced with online teaching than in most other schools.
Thanks to the heavy discounts, and all the financial aids available to military personnel, studying at Amridge University won’t end up being too expensive.
Drexel is an accredited institution located in Philadelphia. It has been recognized as a top 10 Military Friendly Online School for years at this point. What makes Drexel special is its heavy tuition discount for people affiliated with the military. This includes military spouses. You can get a tuition discount ranging between 10% and 40%, depending on your program of choice.
Plus, Drexel accepts scholarships from the Yellow Ribbon Program. And it offers a counseling program for military personnel and their immediate family.
Drexel offers many programs for its bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Examples include a BS in Psychology, a BS in Behavioral Health Counseling, and a BS in Criminology and Justice Studies.
There are also programs designed to help military spouses find a job in the federal government, through the preferential employment program, like a BS in Computing and Security Technology.
The biggest downside with Drexel is its price. It is crazy expensive to get a degree, even if you account for all the financial aid available to military spouses. Is it a big issue? Kind of, since there are other university that are just as reputable that cost a fraction. That’s why Drexel is so low on this list.
The University of Arizona (UA) is an accredited institution located in Tucson. What makes UA one of the best online college for military spouses? Much like every other college on this list, flexibility is one of the key factors.
There are over 100 different courses offered by the college, like accounting, biology, communication, electrical and computing engineering, and emergency medical services. You can earn your bachelor’s or graduate’s degree online.
Military support is abundant at UA, with a program that reduces your tuition if you are eligible for it. If you want to follow on your spouse’s steps, and want to serve your country, perhaps in a non-violent way, there are plenty of courses for you, for example in cybersecurity.
UA is a Yellow Ribbon school, which means you can get extra financial aid, even if you aren’t covered by the post 9/11 GI Bill.
Penn State World Campus offers great services for military personnel and their families. They offer extensive counseling programs to help you decide which is the best course of action for your goals.
Additionally, the university offers an aid program for people serving during the semester in which they are registering. The program is available to military spouses too.
Penn State’s education offering is excellent. You can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, associate’s, undergraduate’s, graduate’s, and doctoral’s degree online. There are over 150 courses to pick from, so you can pick the best career path for you.
Naturally, with such strong ties with the military, you’ll find plenty of courses designed for spouses looking for a job with the federal government, where you’ll get preferential employment.
Warning: the program is only available for military personnel and their families who work in the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Armed Forced.
Indiana University is another excellent choice for military spouses looking for an advanced degree. It offers over 200 undergrad majors with extreme flexibility. You can decide when to watch the recorded lessons and ask questions of the professors whenever you want.
Military-wise, IU offers plenty of help, both regarding the help you should expect as a military spouse, and the financial benefits / tuitions you can apply for.
The University is ranked 76th among U.S. universities, and 47th for veterans. Tuition costs aren’t that high either, and the school becomes quite affordable if you get grants or scholarships.
Liberty University is a private college located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Its strength is in the flexibility of its programs. If you are someone who doesn’t have much time because of kids or your job, then this is a great choice for you.
What makes Liberty so good for military spouses is its unwavering support for military affairs. The college offers lots of support to military personnel and their loved ones. They offer many programs geared specifically for military personnel, scholarships, and residential military benefits.
With such strong credentials, you are probably wondering why it’s not higher on this list. The reason is that it is a Christian institution, which is not for everyone. It depends on your sensibility for religious topics. I don’t want to put as first a school that isn’t right for everyone.
8. Grantham University, Lenexa, Kansas
Grantham University was founded in 1951 by Donald Grantham, a retired World War II veteran who was an engineer during the war. Hence, it is no surprise that the university has maintained a policy of maximum military-friendliness over the years.
The university is fully compliant with all national military-related programs, creating a welcoming, low-cost environment for military personnel and their families. Plus, when you combine this pro-military policy with the fact that Grantham University offers some of the lowest tuition rates in the country, you discover that military-affiliated students can almost school here for free.
Additionally, the college offers a series of programs to assist active service members and retired veterans further. Military-affiliated students can enjoy all forms of financial aid, scholarships, and corporate programs. Active service members and vets also get reduced Special Hero Tuition that pegs costs at $250 per credit hour for both graduate and undergraduate programs.
Students at Grantham University can join any of 50+ degree and certificate programs in disciplines like healthcare, technology, business, criminal justice, nursing, and computer science.
Plus, all courses at the college adhere to fully flexible coursework schedules with no set login times.
9. Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
With Eastern Kentucky University Online, you get the product of over a century of high-end instruction wrapped into convenient, flexible distance education programs. Here, classes follow an 8-week-term setup with adaptable scheduling and start points spread out across the year.
Furthermore, students here are exposed to a wide range of options, including degree and certificate programs in disciplines like police studies, veteran studies, sports management, and homeland security.
Military spouses applying to EKUonline can benefit from various national aid programs, of which the university is an active participant. The college also offers reduced tuition rates to active military personnel on both graduate and undergraduate programs. Also, all military-affiliated students, including veterans, get to finish the undergraduate application process at no cost.
10. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
At the University of Kansas, students can join any of several hundred online certificates, undergraduate, and graduate programs in disciplines from almost every niche.
Military spouses looking for career-advancing education will fit right in here too, as the school runs a dedicated career center that provides career help in the form of employer connections and resumes building to military-affiliated students.
Furthermore, another crucial program at KU is the office of graduate military programs. This unit liaises with the department of defense and military academic institutions to develop specialized graduate programs for active service members and veterans.
In addition to facilitating the development of curricula, seminars, and research that aligns with the needs of the nation’s military, this office also takes an active role in promoting and creating new aid and support programs for enrolled military-affiliated students.
11. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The University of Minnesota runs a digital campus that offers 17 undergraduate programs entirely online that military spouses can enter. Additional flexible programs available here include several hybrid options, with between 50% and 80% of the total coursework available online.
Since the programs follow a design blueprint to match the lives of students with multiple commitments related to work, childcare, or military service, participants can fully optimize the setup of their program around their current schedules.
Furthermore, all University of Minnesota online students get to pay resident tuition rates, and military-affiliated students often get the option of a full refund on individual classes if their schedules mandate withdrawal.
The University of Minnesota’s Digital Campus is fully compliant with all national military assistance programs as well as the workforce innovation and opportunity act, which targets unemployed or underemployed citizens, providing aid with fees and tuition for approved educational programs, degrees, and certificates.
12. University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is another excellent university for any military spouse, considering an online degree to enhance their job prospects.
At OU, military-affiliated students get to take advantage of a standing waiver that lets them pay resident tuition irrespective of their current state of residence. This feature provides significant benefits to military families who are often on the move.
Besides, the school is also an active participant in all top national military aid programs, and military-affiliated students here can convert portions of their military service into credit towards their degree program.
With The University of Oklahoma’s Extended Campus online program, you gain access to five career-focused bachelor degree programs in liberal studies, administrative leadership, aviation, criminal justice, and lifespan care administration. The school also runs ten graduate degrees in disciplines like organizational leadership, communication, human relations, and museum studies.
13. University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
The University of Nebraska Omaha has one of the most prominent online education platforms in the country and is an excellent choice for both military personnel, veterans, and military spouses.
At this college, students can pursue any of a wide selection of bachelor degrees, master degrees, and certificate programs in a wide range of disciplines.
Furthermore, the University of Nebraska Omaha also offers a unique Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies degree exclusively targeted at adult, transfer, and military-affiliated students. Here, students can choose from a selection of career-oriented concentrations like aviation studies, cybersecurity, geography, criminology and criminal justice, gerontology, information technology, and management information systems.
Plus, the school runs a career pathways learning unit that helps by providing career-building services for military-affiliated students.
14. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
While UAB’s claim to fame is in being one of the renowned traditional universities in the U.S., the college is surprisingly one of the best places for military personnel and spouses seeking online distance education programs.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the only traditional colleges that run an ancillary online program exclusively for military-affiliated students. It’s UAB Salute program offers service members, veterans and their families with both graduate and undergraduate degree programs with an emphasis on maximizing their utilization of military education benefits.
Besides, the university has a dedicated office of veteran recruitment and student services that offers additional services and consultations to enrolled military personnel, veterans, and families throughout their stay at the school.
Furthermore, with this program, military-affiliated students can also enjoy extended military scholarships as well as the ability to apply up to 24 military credits toward any degree program on the platform.
UAB is also a yellow ribbon school as it does not limit the number of students that can enroll at the college with military aid.
15. Trident University International, Cypress, California
Trident University International is an online college with a strong reputation for serving military personnel, military spouses, military families, and veterans. Currently, the university has an alumni base of 30,000+ graduates, over 22,000 of which are veterans, active-duty personnel, dependents, or military spouses.
The college proudly emphasizes its servitude to the U.S. military, and it continually optimizes its services and to meet the specific needs of military personnel and their families.
One military-friendly program here is their service for-credit program that lets students convert service time into course credits. The school also hosts a counselor program that targets military-affiliated students explicitly, helping them optimize their degree programs for maximum aid and proper alignment with their career goals.
Degree programs on offer here include two associate degrees, 28 bachelor degrees, 39 master degrees, five doctoral degrees, and 21 certificate programs in disciplines like Business Administration, Homeland security, Education, Educational Leadership, Emergency and Disaster Management, Computerized Accounting, Health Administration, and Health Sciences.
16. the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
Few online colleges offer as much support to military spouses and other military-affiliated students like the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to full support for all national aid programs, the school offers several unique perks to military families like accelerated programs, free textbooks, and access to a personal advisor to help maximize aid and optimize their schooling options.
Programs on offer here include a selection of 30+ certificates across multiple educational levels in fields like human resources, leadership studies, criminal justice, healthcare administration, teacher leadership, industrial and organizational psychology, applied arts, applied sciences, and business.
Furthermore, business and management degrees are big at Incarnate Word, with concentration
17. Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Alabama
For military families that relocate more frequently than most, one of the best options for you is Columbia Southern University, a fully online college with zero campus presence required for all its programs.
Furthermore, the university is fully compliant with all significant assistance programs for military families. Also, it provides additional intra-school assistance in the form of a specialized military support unit that provides VA and TA benefits, while helping to ensure that military-affiliate students get the maximum benefits they can out of available programs.
At Columbia Southern University, students can also convert military training and experience into credit towards their degree program, with up to 75% credit transfer possible for undergraduate programs, and 50% applicable towards a graduate program.
Programs on offer here include seven associate degrees, 29 bachelor degrees, 17 master degrees, one doctorate, and 17 certificate programs in disciplines like business, information technology, criminal justice, and business.
18. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
For military spouses looking to get into engineering and other technical fields, one of the best military-friendly online colleges is the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Here, students can enter comprehensive programs in industrial and systems engineering, petroleum engineering, astronautical engineering, and financial engineering.
Alternatively, you can pick from any of the college’s 84 online degree programs, including disciplines like education and teaching, gerontology, dentistry, and design.
The University of Southern California offers full support for all of the top aid programs for military families. Also, military spouses enrolled here to gain access to the school’s dedicated veterans certification office that helps military-affiliated students find assistance programs that they are qualified to enter.
The school also hosts a unique Military Social Work program that offers training to interested students on how to effectively care for their families in their often unique living situations.
19. American Public University System, Charles Town, West Virginia
American Public University System is one of the largest military-friendly online colleges in the country because the school has an enrollment of 65,000 military-affiliated students.
In addition to several intra-school programs that give financial, social, and consultative assistance to veterans, service members, and military families, the American Public University System is also a member of the Tuition Assistance Programs that caps tuition for military-affiliated students at $250 per credit hour.
Students here can choose from an online offering of 37 master degrees, 47 bachelor degrees, and 24 associate degrees in a host of disciplines including psychology, disaster management, health sciences, criminal justice, and electrical engineering.
20. University of Maryland Global Campus, Adelphi, Maryland
With more than 90,000 students enrolled from locations around the world, the University of Maryland Global Campus is one of the largest distance education platforms in the world, and it’s also extremely military-friendly.
The online college has full support for the Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition assistance program as well as a host of other aid programs for military families. Besides, UMUC has a dedicated military and veterans advising team that works with both the school and students to ensure that military spouses and families get the best plans for their current situations.
Furthermore, the school also offers prior learning and transfer credit programs for military-affiliated students that enables the conversion of experience in the armed forces into credits towards a degree program.
The University of Maryland Global Campus has 120-degree programs on offer, with a 100% acceptance rate across all programs. Hence, all military spouses can get in here irrespective of their level of education or current professional situation.
Military personnel and their loved ones get a lot of benefits from the government. Rightfully so. They are working hard to make the world a better place. All schools on this list offer similar help. Counseling to pick the right degree, what jobs you can expect to do, and they’ll also help you find the right financial aid program for your situation.
The fundamental differences between these schools are their prices, and the education they offer. While all of them are accredited and will give you top-quality education, some universities are better than others.
You’ll find out that getting a degree from any of these schools will give you a great boost in the eyes of your current or future employers. Employers are always looking for employees who will go the extra mile to stand out.
Getting a degree as a military spouse is definitely a great way to do so.