About The Authors
Ron Kness

Ron retired with 36 years of military service. His assignment as Supervisor of Military Personnel Services (including the Education Benefits Section) provided him with a wealth of knowledge, training and experience working with the GI Bills, scholarships, grants and loans for post-secondary education. His last assignment was the 34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division Command Sergeant Major/E-9.

Maggie O’Neill

Maggie O’Neill is a writer from Northern Nevada. Her grandfather served in World War I, helping to search for and identify bodies after the end of the war, and her great uncle is buried in Arlington Cemetery. She’s covered numerous veterans’ events and issues for newspapers throughout Northern Nevada, including writing about service members returning from the Iraq War and the struggles that can be caused by PTSD.



Veterans going to college for the first time face a wide range of challenges. Before classes begin, there’s pressure to find the right school, navigating the new GI Bill, and making sure all necessary materials have been organized and submitted. After D-Day, there’s fitting in socially, staying afloat financially, and working toward a degree that offers true career potential. Also, students who saw combat might have medical issues to deal with, such as PTSD, or need special accommodations on campus to help with travel to and from the classroom.

To help current (and aspiring) student veterans and their families, this comprehensive guidebook serves two complementary purposes:


To address the many challenges that college-bound veterans face daily, including those of a financial, social, academic, medical and geographic nature.


To provide valuable information and resources vetted by actual student veterans who have experienced (and overcome) these challenges first-hand.

The transition from service to school is no easy task, for student veterans or their families. But with the right guidance, well-placed persistence, and a little know-how, it’s certainly worth the effort.

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The Post-9/11 GI Bill rewards veterans for service by covering the cost associated with higher education. Every former service member considering a college degree should tap into these benefits to minimize out-of-pocket costs. Before diving in, however, it’s important to understand both the basics and the gritty details of the GI Bill and its various parts. Below, we provide resources for veterans to find out what’s covered under this bill as well as the additional need-to-know information about the Yellow Ribbon Program and military-specific scholarships.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

Veterans looking for financial assistance for their education can turn to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 GI Bill. Tuition and fees, housing, and books are among the provisions partially or fully covered for veterans who served at least 90 aggregate days of active duty following Sept. 10, 2001. Monies can be used toward education at public and private colleges, universities, and trade schools as well as for licensing, tutorial assistance, and testing, such as the LSAT or SAT. The minimum benefit, at 40 percent, is available for tuition and fees for veterans who served between 90 days and six months while the maximum benefit, at 100 percent, is available for tuition and fees for veterans who served at least 36 months of active duty.

Veterans are eligible for these benefits for up to 15 years from their last period of active duty ending with an Honorable Discharge that consisted of at least 90 days of service after the above September date. Specific benefits are also available to those who have served for at least 30 consecutive days and been honorably discharged due to a service-related disability. With at least six years of qualifying service and still serving, unused benefits can be transferred to a spouse or beneficiaries under this plan, but generally an additional four years of active duty service are required.

Additional Post-9/11 GI Bill Resources for Veterans
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Benefits.va.gov provides a one-page PDF flier that outlines benefits available to veterans based on time served on active duty. Its at-a-glance format can be a good starting point for veterans wanting to understand their basic eligibility.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

    Newgibill.org explains how the Post-9/11 GI Bill replaces the older Montgomery GI Bill system by providing veterans with up-front tuition payments directly to their schools. Veterans can also find a checklist on the site to help them through the various steps in preparing to start school, including applying for plan benefits.

  • Air Force Personnel Center

    This site explains the basics of the Post-9/11 GI Bill for those who have served in the Air Force, also noting that payments from the bill are only eligible for education and training received after Aug. 1, 2009 and not before.

  • Navy Personnel Command

    Those who served in the Navy may find this site useful for its explanation of the Post 9-11/GI Bill. A six-part video series on the bill is also available, addressing topics ranging from eligibility to service obligations to claims.

  • U.S. Department of Defense

    Veterans can find information on this website about the transferability of their GI benefits to spouses and beneficiaries. Transferability processes and procedures are explained, and an application and fact sheet are also available.

  • The White House

    The full impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill can be understood through this 2013 White House press release that showcases the one-millionth veteran to become the recipient of the bill’s benefits. Veterans may find this veteran’s story encouraging as they embark on their own adventures to make use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.


Yellow Ribbon Program

Veterans who want to attend a private or a public out-of-state school could end up paying some of the costs themselves. The Veterans Affairs (VA) sets a national maximum covered for tuition and fees at private schools per academic year and only pays up to the resident rate for public schools. The Yellow Ribbon Program has been set up to help off-set some of these costs, and allows schools to enter into agreements with the VA through which the VA matches every dollar the school contributes toward tuition and fees beyond the maximum covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This amount can help veterans at the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier cover much or all of the difference between what the school charges and what the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays.

Additional Yellow Ribbon Program Resources for Veterans
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Veterans can find specific details about the Yellow Ribbon Program on this site, including that the school of their choice must agree to participate and cannot offer Yellow Ribbon benefits to more than the maximum number of veterans specified in their participation agreement.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

    Newgibill.org provides details about the costs that veterans could face beyond the cap set by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veterans can also use a GI Bill calculator to ascertain the tuition, fees and other costs covered by the VA for specific schools.

  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

    This website provides information on what private schools are doing to make education more affordable to veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program. A FAQs page answers a variety of questions about eligibility and enrollment at these independent colleges.

  • Inside Higher Ed

    This news source explains how more than 700 colleges signed up to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program when it launched in 2009.

  • List of Yellow Ribbon FAQs

    This extensive fact sheet, provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, offers numerous questions about enrollment and provides a governmental e-mail address for veterans to send questions about the Yellow Ribbon program.

  • Schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides a list of schools, searchable by state, that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. However, veterans should contact specific schools listed for more information.

  • Schools not participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program

    This web page, offered through the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, explains why some private institutions may not be participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program.


Grants, Scholarships, and Tuition Assistance

Veterans may be able to recoup tuition and fees for a college education through other financial assistance programs. Many organizations greatly value a veteran’s active-duty commitment and provide options for them to pursue a postsecondary education. Veterans may want to contact the school or schools they are considering attending to see if any specific scholarships are available. Scholarship opportunities may also be offered for spouses, children and other family members of veterans.

Additional Grants, Scholarships and Tuition Assistance Resources for Veterans
  • Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans ScholarshipRead More

    Veterans, reservists and active-duty personnel of Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan or Iraqi Freedom Operations can seek educational scholarships of $2,500 when they are enrolled in a two-year or four-year undergraduate degree program.

  • International Culinary CenterRead More

    With locations in New York and California, this school gives more than $1 million in scholarship money to military veterans interested in culinary or other career training.

  • http://pattillmanfoundation.org/
  • AMVETS National Service FoundationRead More

    At amvets.org, veterans can read about annual scholarship opportunities that are available to them as well as their spouses, children and grandchildren. Most scholarships are available in $1,000 to $4,000 amounts, and online applications are usually posted by Jan. 30 of each year.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Pell GrantRead More

    Children who lost their parents or guardians in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan may be eligible for this Pell Grant award, but must have been under the age of 24 at the time of their parent’s death.

  • Army Women’s FoundationRead More

    Legacy scholarships are offered annually to women who serve in the Army and their children. Amounts awarded are $1,000 for community colleges and $2,500 for four-year institutions.

  • Leave No Veteran BehindRead More

    This organization provides training opportunities for veterans and retroactive scholarships for those who have already completed some type of postsecondary training, but are in financial hardship and need help paying off student-loan debt.

  • Disabled War Veterans ScholarshipsRead More

    Honorably-discharged veterans, military personnel and reservists disabled in the line of duty during Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan or Iraqi Freedom Operations can seek a scholarship of $2,500 when they are pursuing a two-year or four-year undergraduate degree.

  • Marine Corps National League ScholarshipRead More

    Children of Marines who have lost their lives in the line of duty may be eligible for technical training and undergraduate degree scholarships. Additionally, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and spouses of Marine Corps League or Auxiliary members can apply for scholarships.

  • Fleet Reserve AssociationRead More

    A variety of scholarships are available to veterans, military members and their families through this association, which has provided more than $850,000 in educational scholarships since 2000.

  • Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Read More

    Since 1962, this organization has provided more than 30,000 scholarships to children of military personnel to help with their college education costs, with particular attention given to those who have lost a parent in the line of duty or who are especially in need of financial assistance.

  • Google SVA ScholarshipRead More

    Veterans pursuing computer science or a related degree field may be eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship from Google and the Student Veterans of America.

  • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry ScholarshipRead More

    Children whose parents died in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001 can receive up to 36 months of educational benefits at the 100 percent level. Benefits are available until a beneficiary’s 33rd birthday, but cannot be used in conjunction with the Yellow Ribbon program.

  • Swift Transportation CompanyRead More

    Veterans interested in a trucking career can look to Swift Transportation for help with tuition assistance. The company has provided full scholarships to veterans to attend a Swift Academy of their choosing. Selective Reservists (including National Guard) are eligible for $1,000 scholarships. Both scholarships require a one-year commitment.

  • Military Officers Association of AmericaRead More

    This organization makes interest-free loans available to students under the age of 24 who are children of former, active or retired officers or enlisted military personnel. Students must be pursuing a full-time undergraduate program and can receive interest free loans for amounts up to $5,500 that are renewable for up to five years.

  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program Read More

    Educational benefits are provided to eligible beneficiaries of veterans who are completely disabled from a service-related injury or whom have died as a result of duty or from a service-obtained injury. Benefits can be used to toward apprenticeships, certificate and degree programs and on-the-job training.

  • Navy/Marine Corps Relief SocietyRead More

    Interest-free loans and grants are available to the children of veterans (including deceased) and active-duty military personnel dependents who want to pursue a two- or four-year undergraduate education at an accredited institution.

  • Troops to TeachersRead More

    This federal and state funded program helps former and current members of the U.S. military pursue training to start a second career as a teacher. Stipends may be available to eligible candidates.

  • Paralyzed Veterans of AmericaRead More

    Members of Paralyzed Veterans, their spouses, and their unmarried children may be eligible for scholarship money to attend an accredited school or university. More than $300,000 has been awarded since the founding of the scholarship program in 1986.

  • Veterans Education Assistance ProgramRead More

    Veterans who have contributed to an education fund with deductions from their military paycheck will have these matched by the VA on a 2-to-1 basis and can use these funds to seek a certificate or college degree, licensing and certifications, correspondence courses, and more. Veterans that served between 1977 and 1985 may be eligible for this program.

  • Pat Tillman FoundationRead More

    Veterans and their spouses who show leadership potential are eligible for scholarships through this foundation. More than $4.6 million in scholarships has already been given, many to students pursuing degrees at the master’s and doctorate levels.

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars “Sport Clips Help a Hero” ScholarshipRead More

    Up to $5,000 is available to veterans, active-duty personnel, and those in the reserves (all at the rank of E-5 or below) who are in need of financial assistance to be able to attend college and who have been accepted into or are currently enrolled in a VA-approved postsecondary institution.

  • Purple Heart Scholarship Program Read More

    Purple Heart recipients, their spouses, children, and grandchildren may be eligible to receive scholarship funds to help cover costs related to tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses for an undergraduate program.

  • Veterans Student Loan Relief FundRead More

    Veterans who served in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars or in related missions and who attended an undergraduate for-profit school during or after service may be eligible for up to $5,000 in student loan relief. The program is offered through the IAVA, Scholarship America and the Kisco Foundation, and veterans can determine their eligibility through a scholarship verification questionnaire on the site’s home page.

  • Social Finance, Inc.Read More

    Veterans can seek education loans with attractive rates from investors interested in helping with tuition and fees at an academic institution. Veterans must already be enrolled in a program or have completed a program of education. More than 3,000 borrowers have received loans so far.

  • Women’s Memorial Foundation Scholarship Program Read More

    Female military veterans and those on active duty who are in need of financial assistance can apply for a $500 scholarship through this scholarship program when enrolled in either a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

  • Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors ScholarshipRead More

    Members of this organization, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other blood relatives of those serving in the Armed Forces stationed on the Island of Oahu or nearby on Dec. 7, 1941, may be eligible for a $1,000 academic scholarship.


Veterans returning to college may need help adjusting to civilian life to succeed. They may also want assistance improving their academic and study skills, or even just in understanding how to select a college. None of it is easy, and our list of resources below can help veterans to navigate these sticky areas. With up to 88 percent of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars dropping out of college, according to Stars and Stripes, upping the chance for success may be a move in the right direction.

Many veterans need help brushing up on basic math and writing skills, or just in understanding the expectations of a college-level program. Veterans can improve their skills through resources online, as well as through programs available through campus veterans’ centers. They may also wonder what kinds of degrees or majors to study. Finally, they may want to know a how to select a school to attend, if they can obtain credit for classes taken during service, and whether online education is something worth pursuing. That is the focus of this section, and we’ve fully fleshed out the list of resources below to help veterans obtain answers to those questions.

Study skills

More than 1 million veterans have now taken advantage of the benefits that come through the Post-9/11 GI Bill since it became available in 2009, but some want to improve their study skills to increase their opportunities for college success. Many schools offer specific general-education classes for veterans to help them refresh their knowledge in areas such as computer technology, English, math, and writing while others have employed staff specifically to reach out and provide services to these veterans.

For example, Sierra College, in Rocklin, Calif., offers a Boots to Books program, which includes a three-unit English class and a three-unit personal development class, both specifically designed to address the needs of veterans. Students returning to school will want to check with their specific college or postsecondary institution to see what kinds of special services or classes are available for veterans.

Additional Study Skills Resources for Veterans
  • Army Career and Alumni Program Read More

    Transitioning services, counseling, and an alumni board are available for those preparing to transition out of military life to return to civilian living. ACAP sites are available all across the U.S. and military members can click on a U.S. map to find the site closest to them.

  • Peterson’s Online Basic Skills CoursesRead More

    Peterson’s offers two courses, including Online Academic Skills Course for Military Success and College Placement Skills Training for College Success, which may be useful to veterans.

  • Cook Counseling CenterRead More

    Virginia Tech addresses numerous study skills topics in readable format online in areas such as note taking, editing lecture notes, and the SQ3R reading and study system.

  • Study Guides and StrategiesRead More

    Anyone wishing to improve their study skills, including veterans, can find numerous resources on this site that address working with others, classroom learning, studying, time management, netiquette, and more.

  • Defense Activity of Non-Traditional SupportRead More

    This Department of Defense YouTube Channel provides short videos about topics such as motivation and confidence, as well as video clips of service members talking about the decisions they made when it came to pursuing their own paths of education.

  • Study Skills TipsRead More

    The Veterans Upward Bound program at Weber State University offers a variety of study skills tips to veterans on topics that include building a study space, making homemade flash cards, dealing with test anxiety, and establishing time management strategies.

  • High School Diploma ProgramsRead More

    Veterans wanting to complete their high school diploma before seeking a college education will find a list of programs, including several online options, as compiled by the Department of Defense.

  • Veteran’s Career Transition ProgramRead More

    This online program is offered free of charge to veterans and their spouses, and offers an independent study track, professional skills track, and tech track, for improving skills. The program is sponsored through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

  • National Association of Veterans Upward BoundRead More

    This program, offered through the U.S. Department of Education, is available to help veterans gain the academic and life skills necessary for acceptance into a postsecondary institution. A link on the page allows veterans to search by state to find the schools and colleges through which the program is offered.

  • Vetsuccess.va.gov Read More

    A variety of resources are available on this site including an explanation of the free education and counseling services that transitioning service members and veterans of less than one year are entitled to under the Chapter 36 program.


Popular Courses and Programs for Veterans

Veterans return with many different skill sets, but it is not always clear how these translate into skills for a career or into a degree or academic program. Below, we provide a list of resources that may help veterans make decisions about the types of courses and programs available to them. From engineering to nursing to management and IT, veterans often have gained skills during their service that may be applicable to pursuing a degree or a career.

Additional Resources for Popular Courses and Programs for Veterans
  • American Military University

    This online school is specifically aimed at providing academic degrees and training to U.S. veterans, although civilians are, of course, accepted for enrollment. Veterans are able to search for degrees and programs based on the military branch in which they served.

  • EveryDayLife

    An article on this website suggests several subjects, such as engineering and healthcare, that veterans could find interest in pursuing in college.

  • MyNextMove.org

    Veterans and others can match their interests with possible careers and job openings on MyNextMove, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Center for O*NET Development.

  • “Veterans On Campus”

    This slideshow put out by San Diego State University describes the five most popular majors for vets on that campus – criminal justice, electrical engineering, psychology, business administration, and physical education/kinesiology.

  • Veterans-Only Classes

    This article on Inside Higher Ed discusses the way a handful of colleges have created classes that are solely open to veterans.


Credit for Time Served

Veterans may be able to seek credit for the training and experiences they gained while serving in the Armed Forces. These credits can help accelerate learning if applicable to a certificate or academic degree program, or may replace prerequisites or required courses. Below, we list several resources about military transference to college credit, usually made possible through the American Council on Education. Many schools also post information online about their acceptance of these types of credits.

Additional Resources for Academic Credits for Military Education and Training
  • ACE Military Guide

    Veterans can look up military training by the military course number, ACE course number, training site, or other ways to determine which courses the American Council on Education recommends for academic credit.

  • Community College Air Force Transcript

    Service members of the Air Force can request a transcript of their education and training that may be applicable for credit at a community college.

  • FAQ sheet on granting credit

    Veterans may want to take a look at this sheet put out by the American Council on Education to see how their credit can be used for school. For example, even though the ACE may recommend credit for a military course, the school maintains the right to decide how or whether to use this.

  • Joint Services Transcripts

    Military members from the Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy can obtain transcripts that list the classes and training they have completed along with the ACE credit recommendation.

  • Military Times

    This site, sponsored by the Gannett Company, lists 20 online and nontraditional schools that serve military veterans and notes whether they accept ACE credits, which help transform non-traditional educational training into academic credits.

  • “Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations”

    This 64-page guide may prove useful to veterans who want to learn more about the process of turning military education into academic credits.

  • USA Today

    An article published on this news site discusses how at least 26 different states have approved legislation directing their boards of education to develop policies for allowing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to receive college credit for military education and training.


Selecting a College and Program

It may not be easy for veterans to select a college and degree program that is right for them, but many online websites exist to help make the search process easier. First, veterans need to determine if they are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and, if so, what percentage of their education is covered. If they are interested in attending a school that is out-of-state or a private institution, they should additionally research which schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Below, we provide a list of resources to help veterans in their school research process.

Resources for Selecting a College and Program
  • College Navigator

    This site, although not specifically created for veterans, allows students to search through schools by state using criteria such as public and private schools, two-year and four-year institutions, and even those that have a religious affiliation.

  • Federal Trade Commission

    This consumer protection agency offers veterans “8 Questions to Ask When Choosing a College” geared at those transitioning from being a service member to a civilian.

  • SOC Consortium

    Veterans may want to visit this Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges consortium, with more than 1,900 veteran-friendly accredited colleges and universities as members that may offer benefits as varied as reduced academic residency requirements and transfer of credit for veterans.

  • Takepart.com

    Veterans can look through a slideshow on this site to see what schools it lists as having the most success in graduating vets. Penn State University, Texas A&M University and Ohio State University are among those listed.

  • Military Times

    This site, sponsored by the Gannett Company, lists 20 online and nontraditional schools that serve military veterans and notes whether they accept ACE credits, which help transform non-traditional educational training into academic credits.

  • The Yellow Ribbon Program

    Students can look to this U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website page to find out which schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program in the current academic year.

  • U.S. News & World Report

    This news website lists the best online colleges for veterans at the bachelor’s level as well as for business, education, engineering and nursing at the master’s degree levels for a total of 153 of 829 responding institutions ranked. Criteria are based on a number of factors, but the colleges listed offer their programs entirely online and are certified for both the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program.

  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

    Veterans can look through the VA’s six-page guide entitled “Factors to Consider When Choosing a School,” which addresses questions such as how much can be earned with a degree and how to finance an education.


Distance Learning for Veterans

Online education can provide veterans with a balance between school, a family, and a job. These programs allow students to work from home while meeting other goals, like attending doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, or counseling, and can give them more freedom in terms of their time and schedule. Many veterans like online education because of the way it allows them to transition back to civilian life on their own terms, instead of adjusting to a hectic life on campus. Most often, a computer with an Internet connection is all that is needed to access online courses, but schools often post the networking and IT particulars on their websites. Veterans will want to make sure that they have the equipment to meet all of the access requirements. Online education is also covered as part of the Post 9-11/GI Bill, and below, we provide resources to help veterans locate some of the online programs that could be of interest to them.

Additional Resources for Distance Learning for Veterans
  • “Best for Vets: Colleges 2013”

    This story, featured on MilitaryTimes.com, provides information on online schools for veterans, including, for example, that about 75 percent of the 650 schools responding to the survey featured online degree programs.

  • Best Online Programs for Veterans

    U.S. News & World Report ranks the best online bachelor’s degree programs for vets as well as the best online master’s degrees in the areas of business, education, engineering and nursing that were compiled using several different criteria.

  • Military Times

    Veterans can use this quick-glance sheet to see whether the 20 listed online and non-traditional schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, accept ACE credits, and have a veterans’ office, as well as find out other information.

  • The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

    This website provides several valuable details about the use of federal education benefits in financing an online education. For example, a veteran choosing to attend an entirely online school will see the living stipend available through the Post-9/11 GI Bill reduced by 50 percent.

  • Pros and Cons of Online Education for Veterans

    U.S. News & World Report addresses the advantages and disadvantages that veterans can find through online education. One advantage pointed out in the story is that an online education can provide an easier transition back into civilian life.

  • Quick Tips for Student Veterans

    This article, posted on the Vantage Point blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, provides several tips for succeeding on campus.

  • “Student Veterans Speak Up”

    This study, from the University of Nevada, Reno, looks at the struggles that some veterans face fitting in and feeling comfortable on campus, including having troubles with how some instructors may portray the military in a specific light or being called on to represent the voice of the military as a whole. This piece may provide comforting support to veterans looking to validate their own campus experiences.

On Campus Resources

Campuses have a variety of resources for student veterans that range from helping navigate educational benefits to providing counseling opportunities. National associations, like the Students Veterans of America, include area chapters that can prove helpful in providing peer-to-peer resources and support, and aid students in their transition to a college education. National Women Veterans of America also has chapters located across the country that may offer support and resources to women choosing to seek an education on campus. Below we highlight a list of veterans’ centers available on several public college or university campuses that may give veterans an idea of the types of resources that could be offered at their college. These types of services can be important, and, as a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education reported, when they do exist, veterans tend to fare better in school.

Additional On-Campus Resources for Veterans
  • Arizona State University

    The Pat Tillman Veterans Center opened on this Tempe campus in 2011, providing a space of 3,340 square feet for veterans’ services. The university has been named a military-friendly institution by GI Jobs magazine and was also selected as one of the first to roll out the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VetSuccess on Campus program.

  • Georgetown University

    This school, in Washington D.C., offers services, such as applying for financial aid and preparing to seek out a career, through its Veterans Office. Veterans can also find tutoring and mentoring opportunities, spiritual and mental outlets, and on-campus and off-campus clubs geared toward veterans.

  • San Diego State University

    The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center on this college campus provides various services to veterans, including a work-study program. The center is staffed by more than a half-dozen staff members who have worked in various branches of the military themselves including the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

  • The University of Houston

    Two offices on campus help to provide services to veterans, including the Office of Veteran Services and the Office of Registration and Academic Affairs. Together, these reach more than 1,200 veterans, including their spouses, children and other dependents. A Veterans Collegiate Society is also available at the school, helping to create a community of veterans helping veterans.

  • The University of Minnesota

    This Minneapolis-based college provides walk-in counseling appointments during the day through its University Veteran Services. The school also has a chapter of the Student Veterans Association, which is a non-partisan, student-led group for veterans.

  • Youngstown State University

    This university, in Youngstown, Ohio, just launched a $1.25 million fundraising campaign to build a Veterans Resource Center to help create a campus space for veterans. Veterans can find many different resources available ranging from information on the Post-9/11 Bill to links for area veterans services.


Female Veterans

Nearly 9 percent of the veteran population is female, according to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, accounting for up to 2 million women. As National Public Radio reports, these women veterans face multiple issues when returning home, including post traumatic stress disorder and sexual assault trauma, the latter of which they are often disinclined to report because of the stigma that comes with it. Emotional issues may be bottled up and women who return to the states may feel that they lack support from family and friends. Male veterans may discount or undercut the roles that females played in combat service, as an Eye on Ohio story reports.

Female veterans also typically have higher unemployment rates than male veterans, meaning that school could be that much more important. For this reason, female veterans who do decide to return to school may want to take advantage of the services offered through veterans centers and counseling offices. Of course, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also provides support: Nearly 75 percent of its 152 medical clinics across the country now offer female-centered care, according to a Minnesota Post article.

Additional Resources for Female Veterans
  • American Women Veterans

    The organization, which works for the rights of female veterans through advocacy on Capitol Hill and outreach education, also provides various resources to women in terms of education, business and employment opportunities.

  • Cal State at Fullerton

    Veterans Student Services at this school takes note of its female veteran population, and indicates that it reaches 38 percent of this student population. The veteran’s office is supporting female veterans in other ways as well, such as sponsoring the Women Veterans in Higher Education conference in early 2013.

  • Maketheconnection.net

    This website, sponsored through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, allows veterans to read stories about military members returning to school and to relate through shared experiences. Content on the site can be selected for specific demographics, offering gender, time served, and military branch as variables. Women should be able to find higher-education stories and resources on the site that are related to females.

  • National Women Veterans of America

    Female veterans can find support through this organization that sponsors events and regional chapters, as well as hosting a national conference annually each fall.

  • PCC Veterans Center

    Pasadena City College in Pasadena, Calif. offers career and employment and counseling services through its Veterans Club, but also offers specific activities and programs for female veterans.

  • Resources for Womens Veterans

    The U.S. Department of Labor maintains this website that provides resources for female veterans including for mentoring, professional development, and networking.

  • Womens Veterans at UT Austin

    Texas is the second largest state in the country to have the most female veterans, according the University of Texas at Austin. For this reason, the university’s Student Veteran Services makes it a vital part of its mission to provide resources and help to female veterans on campus.


The Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Programs may be confusing to navigate, but the educational benefits offered to veterans at the state level can make understanding what’s covered and what’s not covered that much more complex. Of course, these programs vary significantly from state to state. A few offer nothing additional beyond the federal benefits made available to veterans while others offer scholarships and support to veterans and their family members.

Some states make it a priority to honor their veterans by offering them benefits and educational opportunities or by providing such education benefits to their spouses and dependents. These veteran benefits can reach far beyond education into property taxes, employment opportunities, and even hunting and fishing licenses. However, the criteria to qualify for the state level education benefits are often very specific. Where a veteran lives currently can affect eligibility, but where they lived at the time of enlistment can also come into play. Sometimes the amount of time they have lived in a state before or after service has an impact on the benefits available to them at the state level, too. To help ensure that veterans can obtain the exact information they need is the very reason we list a link to every state-level veterans affairs office below.

Differences by State

Veterans need to invest the time and effort to understand the educational benefits that may be available to them in their state. These benefits may complement or even add to what is available at the federal level. Of course, it’s always best to talk to a counselor in the state’s veterans’ affairs office to find out the specific details. Below, we list the links to veterans’ affairs offices for each state and describe some of the programs and resources available through these departments. This information is solely intended to be informational, and to point veterans in the right direction for seeking out and understanding the various eligibility criteria for programs.

Additional State Resources for Veterans
  • Alabama Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans and family members of veterans in this state may be eligible for the Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program and the Disabled American Veterans Scholarship Program. As well, the state’s Operation Recognition Program awards high school diplomas to honorably discharged veterans who served during specific times, primarily before 1973.

  • Arkansas Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    The state’s department of education can offer free tuition and fees to a state-supported higher education institution to any spouse or child of an Arkansas veteran missing in action or a prisoner of war since 1960. Likewise, the same benefits may be awarded to beneficiaries when a veteran has been killed in the line of duty.

  • State of Alaska Office of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Dependents and spouses of Alaska veterans may be eligible for tuition assistance, given that certain criteria are met. Operation Recognition also awards high school diplomas to World War II veterans living in the state, as well as, upon the request of a family, WWII veterans who are deceased.

  • California Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Both veterans and their dependents in California have a number of educational resources available to them at the state level. This site provides information on opportunities such as the Non-Resident College Fee Waiver, the California Veterans Education Opportunities Partnership, and the Troops to College Program.

  • The Arizona Department of Veterans’ ServicesRead More

    Veterans can find several phone numbers listed on this website to contact personnel within the state’s Veterans’ Education and Training Approving Agency to seek help with educational benefits. A link to the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program is also provided on the site.

  • Colorado Division of Veteran’s AffairsRead More

    As in other states, Colorado offers the Operation Recognition program to its vets, which is open to those over the age of 60 who served in World War II, the Vietnam War or Korean War, and awards them with a high-school diploma.

  • Connecticut Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Veterans in the state may attend its public colleges and institutions tuition free at the undergraduate and graduate level. However, veterans must pay associated costs such as room and board, books, and course fees. Tuition waivers are 50 percent for summer courses.

  • Illinois Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Veterans who have been honorably discharged and who lived in Illinois for at least six months before entering the service may be eligible to have their tuition and fees covered at certain state-supported colleges. Scholarships and financial aid are also available to children of veterans who died in the line of duty.

  • State of Delaware Commission of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Educational benefits are provided to children of veterans who died in the line of duty or are prisoners of war or missing in action. The website contains more information about criteria and the types of costs that may be covered.

  • Indiana Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Children of disabled Indiana veterans may apply to have 124-credit hours worth of tuition and fees waived at a state-supported college while Purple Heart recipients can receive a waiver of tuition and fees to pursue an undergraduate program at a state school or institution.

  • Florida Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Florida provides several state level benefits to its veterans that include the offering of a high-school diploma to those who have been honorably discharged, a waiver for undergraduate education at its public colleges to those who have received the Purple Heart or other similar high-ranking recognition, and four-year educational opportunities for spouses and children of veterans who have died in the line of duty or have been permanently disabled.

  • Indiana Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Children of disabled Indiana veterans may apply to have 124-credit hours worth of tuition and fees waived at a state-supported college while Purple Heart recipients can receive a waiver of tuition and fees to pursue an undergraduate program at a state school or institution.

  • Georgia Department of Veterans ServiceRead More

    Area phone numbers are provided for Georgia veterans to speak with state personnel about the benefits they are provided federally through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other programs.

  • Iowa Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans who did not complete their high school diploma in Iowa due to enlistment in the Armed Forces may be eligible to receive a diploma through the state’s Operation Recognition High School Program.

  • State of Hawaii Office of Veteran ServicesRead More

    While many different employment and living benefits are offered to Hawaii veterans, no educational programs appear to be available to veterans at the state level. Veterans may wish to call the area veterans’ office using the phone number provided on the site.

  • Kansas Commission on Veterans AffairsRead More

    Education assistance may be available to Kansas state veterans but the veterans’ affairs office in Kansas advises calling to find out more details.

  • State of Idaho Division of Veterans ServicesRead More

    A variety of state scholarship programs are available to descendants of Idaho veterans who have lost their lives in the line of duty, been awarded the Purple Heart or are missing in action. As well, the Operation Idaho Scholarship is offered to veterans who have been permanently disabled and their spouses to financially assist them with obtaining a higher education.

  • Kentucky Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War may be eligible for a high-school diploma under the High School Diploma Program when honorably discharged. Tuition waivers are also available to some beneficiaries whose veteran parents have died in the line of duty or have been permanently disabled.

  • Louisiana Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    The spouse and children of a deceased or disabled Louisiana veteran may be eligible for tuition assistance under the state’s Title 29 plan.

  • State of Maine Bureau of Veterans’ ServicesRead More

    The Veterans Dependents Educational Benefits Program offers free tuition at state-supported schools to spouses and children of Maine veterans, who have died in the line of duty, are completely disabled or missing in action.

  • Missouri Department of Public Safety Veterans CommissionRead More

    Veterans of the state may be eligible to receive a high-school diploma through the Honorary High School Diploma program. They should contact a military service representative to find out about other educational benefits that could be available to them.

  • Maryland Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    The Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship and the Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship are offered at the state level to veterans, their spouses, children and other beneficiaries when specific stipulations are met.

  • Montana Veterans Affairs Division Read More

    The state’s veterans affairs division supports the Troops to Teachers program that provides grants and bonuses to eligible service members seeking a teaching career. State veterans can contact regional representatives to find out more about education benefits available at the state level.

  • Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ ServicesRead More

    Children of veterans who died in the line of duty during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom may be eligible for an equal distribution of grant funds through the state’s Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund to attend an undergraduate or postgraduate program.

  • Nebraska Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Dependents of state veterans may be eligible to receive a full waiver for tuition and fees to state-supported colleges and universities. Operation Recognition also offers high school diplomas to veterans of World War II and the Korean War who were unable to obtain their diplomas because of service.

  • Michigan Department of Military and Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans of World War II and the Korean War are eligible to receive a high school diploma if they were unable to complete one due to Armed Forces service. As well, children of deceased or permanently disabled state veterans may receive an annual undergraduate tuition grant.

  • Nevada Department of Veterans ServicesRead More

    Spouses of Nevada veterans may be eligible for some education benefits through the state’s Dependents Education Assistance Program including obtaining access to correspondence courses, preparatory courses, and farm cooperative courses.

  • Minnesota Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans living in Minnesota can find a state GI Bill to take advantage of, as well as a veteran education assistance grant of $750 that can be given to veterans who have already used their GI Bill benefits. A surviving spouse and dependent education benefit is also available for service members who died in the line of duty or afterward as a result of service-related injuries.

  • New Hampshire State Office of Veterans Services Read More

    Children of military members who die in the line of duty or from a service-related injury may be eligible for tuition at a state-supported institution. A $2,500 scholarship for other expenses may also be available. The children of a service person missing in action are entitled to free tuition at a vocational-technical college.

  • Mississippi State Veterans Affairs BoardRead More

    An eight-semester scholarship to any state-supported school or university is available to children of Mississippi service members who are prisoners of war or missing in action.

  • New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans AffairsRead More

    A number of benefits are available to New Jersey veterans and family members including the Vietnam Veterans Tuition Credit Program, the Operation Recognition High School Diploma Program and POW and MIA Tuition Benefits.

  • New Mexico Department of Veterans ServicesRead More

    A partnership has been formed between the state’s department of veteran services and the Veterans’ Resource Center at the University of New Mexico to assist veterans who want to attend the school.

  • New York State Division of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Numerous programs are available at the state level that include Military Service Recognition Scholarships, Veterans Tuition Awards, and Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans.

  • State of Rhode Island Division of Veterans AffairsRead More

    The state’s division of veteran affairs provides a list of colleges and universities within the state and the veterans’ resources that can be found there.

  • North Carolina Division of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Children of deceased, disabled, POW or MIA veterans may be eligible for a four-years scholarship to attend an approved school. Children must be under the age of 25 at the time of application.

  • South Carolina Office of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Free tuition is made available to the children of certain veterans to help them attend a technical institution or state-supported school or university.

  • North Dakota Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Several veteran programs are available at the state level to veterans and their families in North Dakota including Leave No Veteran Behind, the Wyakin Wounded Warrior Academy, and the North Dakota Dependent Tuition Waiver.

  • South Dakota Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Free tuition may be available for honorably-discharged state veterans at the undergraduate level who are not eligible for GI Bill benefits. As well, free tuition is also available to children of service members who died in the line of duty or to dependents of those who are prisoners of war or missing in action.

  • Ohio Department of Veterans ServicesRead More

    Ohio supports the Troops to Teachers Program, which helps to place eligible military personnel in teaching positions and award them with possible stipends and bonuses.

  • Tennessee Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    A $1,000 grant is available to certain eligible veterans who are taking at least 12 semester hours each term. As well, the state offers a high school diploma program for veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. Free tuition is also available to some dependents whose parents died in the line of duty or are prisoners of war or missing in action.

  • Oklahoma Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    A veteran’s education guide is available through the University of Oklahoma that lists scholarship opportunities for veterans and their military families at the state and military levels.

  • Texas Veterans CommissionRead More

    For veterans who have served at least 181 days on active duty and meet other criteria, the Hazelwood Act covers tuition, and most associated fees, for up to 150 credit hours of education at a state-supported school or university.

  • Oregon Department of Veterans’ AffairsRead More

    Programs available in the state include the High School Diploma Program offering high school diplomas to veterans and the Veterans’ Dependent Tuition Waiver for a spouse or child of a service member who died in the line of duty or became completely disabled.

  • Utah Department of Veterans and Medical AffairsRead More

    Numerous education benefits are available to veterans at the state and federal levels as well as through private organizations. State veterans should use the resources provided on the website to find out more about these education benefits.

  • Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans AffairsRead More

    The state offers several programs to its veterans and service members including the Troops to Teachers Program, the Operation Recognition High School Diploma Program, and the Pennsylvania State Grant Program for veterans in financial need of funding their education.

  • Vermont Office of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans can look to the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for information on going back to school and for scholarships that may be available to them.

  • Virginia Department of Veterans ServicesRead More

    Several e-mails and phone numbers are listed on the state website for veterans to contact to find out more about educational benefits available in Virginia.

  • Wisconsin Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Veterans in Wisconsin may be able to receive college credit for training programs they completed while in the military. As well, a high school diploma is available to provide diplomas to veterans who were unable to complete them because of military service.

  • Washington State Department of Veterans AffairsRead More

    Tuition and fees are entirely or partially waived for Washington veterans attending state schools and universities, but the amount waived varies by school. A list of participating schools is provided on the veterans affairs website.

  • Wyoming Veterans CommissionRead More

    Given that eligibility criteria are met, state veterans who served in overseas combat can have 10 semesters of tuition and fees paid for at any of the Wyoming community colleges or the University of Wyoming. Benefits may also be available to spouses and children of military members who died during service.

  • West Virginia Department of Veterans AssistanceRead More

    A list of non-degree and degree programs as well as apprenticeships that veterans can use their federal education benefits for are listed on the state’s Veterans Education and Training Programs Website.

While adapting to life on campus or deciding to work toward a degree, veterans may have medical needs that require attention. Indeed, about 5.2 million adults have post-traumatic stress disorder during a given year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. More women then men typically suffer from PTSD, but this is not the only issue returning veterans face. It’s important to understand that a variety of resources exist to help these veterans connect and to be able to work toward a healthy life.

Though many veterans suffer from PTSD, others may be adjusting to service-related physical disabilities that can include anything from sight or hearing loss to paralysis. These veterans are not alone. In fact, as of 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs indicated there were more than 3.5 million veterans who suffer from a service-connected disability. Veterans on campus can look for support through a veterans services department and/or also through an office of disability services.

Additional Medical Resources for Veterans
  • Disabled American Veterans

    Students can look for local chapters of this national advocacy and assistance organization and with membership become eligible for discounts for certain services at retailers.

  • Disabled Veterans National Foundation

    Veterans who return from service ill or injured, including with brain injuries or PTSD, can find support for transitioning back to civilian life through this national organization.

  • Half of Us

    Veterans who are transitioning to campus life can find a variety of resources on this website, as well as a hotline number to be able to talk to someone about issues or simply ask about additional resources.

  • National Center for PTSD

    This site addresses topics such as coping with traumatic stress reactions, overcoming barriers to care, and considering professional help.

  • Paws and Stripes

    This organization gives support to veterans who suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries by providing them with service dogs to help them work toward building a fuller life.

  • Student Veterans of America

    Local chapters of this organization can offer veterans support for reintegrating into campus and civilian life and provide space for veterans to study, relax and meet others.

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Veterans can read about how post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event and can cause veterans to relive an event, feel numb, or avoid certain going places or doing things that remind them of the event. A number of links are available to vets to help them seek assistance, as well as a link to do an anonymous online screening for PTSD.

  • Vets4Warriors

    This non-profit organization provides a toll-free and confidential hotline number at 1-855-838-8255 for any veteran who wants to talk with a veteran peer about their struggles and adjustments.