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Can You Go to College While Serving in the Military?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

If you serve in the military and are thinking of moving forward in your education, then it is possible to pursue a degree while continuing your service. Online programs and military-friendly schools offer flexibility to help active military students balance higher education and service obligations.

How to Choose a College or University While in the Military

Members of the military who attend online universities can take part in classes anywhere and anytime; however, not all programs are equal. Finding an online degree program built to help service members succeed is essential for active-duty personnel, especially those serving overseas.

Even if your intention is to advance your career in the military, then pursuing a degree may still be beneficial. Furthermore, if becoming an officer interests you, then you’ll likely need to earn a bachelor’s degree.1

Why Do Military-Friendly Schools Matter?

Military-friendly colleges offer three elements designed to help smooth the path for students attending college while in the military:

  • Flexibility – Online programs allow students with Internet access to make progress toward their degrees. Look for programs that offer around-the-clock access to course materials, discussions, lectures, an online library and resources and 24/7 technical support via Email, phone or live chat.
  • Financial Assistance – Knowledgeable financial aid advisors can help active-duty service members and their families understand their benefits during active duty and financial aid opportunities available after active service, such as the GI Bill®, which may cover some or all college costs for qualifying veterans.2 Additionally, institutions may offer reduced tuition rates for active service members or grants to military and veteran spouses.
  • Helpful Deployment Policies – Military-friendly schools have policies in place designed to help military students succeed, such as deployment-leave policies that allow students to put their education on hold for the length of their deployment and return when it ends.

Military students and veterans can also earn credit for qualifying military experience and professional experience outside the military. Search colleges and universities that offer prior learning assessment evaluations to help make the most of your military experience.

Furthermore, certain universities evaluate students' prior college credit, CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), and DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) exam scores, as well as any certifications already held to help determine program criteria that may already be met.

Pursue Your Degree While You Serve

As you consider college while serving in the military, gather information about degree programs to maximize your time and the benefits that come with serving.

Are you ready to further your education? Learn more about how military students can pursue degrees at AIU.

1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Military Careers." Retrieved from: (Visited 10/22/18). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
2. VA, "GI Bill®." Retrieved from: (Visited 10/22/18).

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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Classes Start October 25, 2023