How to find a Military Friendly School

military friendly schools

What does it mean to be a “Military Friendly” school?

Wherever you are in the process of transitioning from the military, chances are, you’ve looked into your post-secondary education options and military-friendly schools. A basic search for “military-friendly schools” generates a multitude of lists and university rankings that some find overwhelming and difficult to navigate. The expansion of online programs offered opens more opportunities for you to find a program that’s best suited for you, but the endless choices can make the process stressful.

So, what defines a military-friendly school? Does it really need to be labeled “military friendly” in order to deliver quality education and support for our service members and veterans? You may go into detail during your local TAP Workshop, but a few things to look for are GI Bill, Military Support, and flexibility.

Does my GI Bill cover the tuition?

Initially created to help the veterans of World War II, The G.I. Bill is a VA education benefit that servicemembers earn to cover the costs of education or training. There are different programs the VA offers, such as Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill. The VA provides a GI Bill Comparison Tool designed to help veterans distinguish which program they want to use and if their school of choice is a GI Bill approved school. The first thing you should be looking for in terms of a military-friendly school is if it is GI Bill approved.

Does the school have a military support department?

One of the most useful services offered by higher education institutions is some type of military support department. Even if your school of choice is GI Bill approved, you still should carefully consider the resources they offer. Some helpful tools to look for are:

  • Military & Veteran page – are you easily able to locate military and veteran information on their home page?
  • Support throughout the application process – does this school offer step by step assistance during the application process?
  • Transfer credit options – does this school accept credits earned while in the military?

How flexible is the degree program?

Depending on where you are in your transition, it may be to your benefit to enrolling in a degree program that is flexible. There is a lot up in the air during this time, you may be planning on moving or starting your own business, and it’s important to consider how accommodating the program is. Many accredited colleges offer self-paced or accelerated degrees and many more offer different start dates throughout the year so you can take a break and tend to the inevitable life events.

The bottom line is, as long as you’re financially secure in your decision, choose the college that you feel is best for you. Look beyond the “military-friendly” label and explore the military support page and degree programs. Whether you’re planning for military retirement, have served one contract, or plan on transferring your benefits to a loved one, be sure to consider the GI Bill, military support department and flexibility in the curriculum as crucial components to their military friendliness.

Joseph Crane

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