You may have seen the phrase "military friendly" used when researching colleges and universities, but what is a military friendly school? Basically, it's a designation to help military students understand if a college or university offers special programs and support designed especially for military servicemembers and veterans. This can be a crucial first step in choosing where you want to study, because a military friendly school can offer valuable resources to help you navigate the admissions and financial aid processes. Some may even grant you college credit for military experience.
Where Do I Look?
There are several resources to help you find a military friendly college. One reputable source is Victory Media's annual listing of the country's Military Friendly® Schools. This publication compiles a list of the top 20 percent of colleges and universities according to the level of service they provide to military students. Their list is derived from a survey open to more than 10,000 VA-approved schools, and rankings are based on criteria include academic credibility, support services, flexibility, tuition assistance and more.
Another resource is Military Advanced Education's Guide to Colleges and Universities, which also ranks schools based on key categories that pertain to military students. These include items such as support services, flexibility in class scheduling, financial aid and military culture. Rankings are based on the results of a survey that includes questions such as whether a school is a signatory of the Department of Defense's MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), if faculty/staff are trained in veteran reintegration issues and military culture, and whether active-duty servicemembers receive reduced tuition.
What Does A Military Friendly School Offer?
What should military students look for in a university? In addition to referencing the military friendly college rankings mentioned above, look for signs that the schools and programs you're exploring have specific elements in place that demonstrate that they truly have the unique needs and interests of military students in mind. These include offerings such as designated military admissions and financial aid advisors, military grants and discounts, and flexibility in how and where courses can be completed. Also be sure to look for military-friendly policies such as the option for deployment holds as well as options to receive credit for military experience through ACE credits, CLEP exams, and military transcript evaluations.
Ready to learn more? Explore AIU's Military Student Guide.