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As the U.S. military continues to draw down troops around the world, many veterans are returning home and looking to take advantage of the education benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs by enrolling in the best colleges for veterans. Earning a degree can be a powerful step toward a successful civilian career, especially as it will be coupled with the military experience of the individual.

Many colleges and universities participate in the  GI Bill  and  Yellow Ribbon  programs; however, some schools go above and beyond these programs because they are passionate about serving our veterans. Many schools offer support programs for veterans to help them adjust to civilian and academic life. There are many states that have their own financial aid programs to help veterans in addition to the aid offered by the VA.


Below you will find a list of the top 25 colleges and universities for veterans according to U.S. News and World Report. The schools are ranked in our list according to their average 30 year net return on investment as calculated by  payscale.com . The good news for veterans is that their ROI from these schools should be higher than most because of the strong support offered by each of the schools.

Ranking the Best Colleges for United States Veterans

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  1. Texas A&M University, College Station

    College Station, TX

    Texas A&M is one of the most supportive colleges for veterans in the United States. The school has three major offices designed to support veterans, and their unique situation and needs. The Veterans Services Office exists to help veterans and their children take advantage of every financial aid option available to them. The Veterans Resource and Support Center is there to help veterans connect with each other and important resources and associations.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.06 Million

  2. Drexel University

    Philadelphia, PA

    Drexel provides extensive support to active duty veterans and selected reserve. Above and beyond the typical GI Bill support, Drexel offers qualified veterans a $5,000 scholarship towards their education. The school also committed $2 million to the Yellow Ribbon Program, where the university will match the government's contribution to a veteran's education, so the veterans that are a part of the program may attend the university with tuition and fees covered, and an allowance for books.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.02 Million

  3. University of Texas, Austin

    Austin, TX

    The University of Texas provides services for veterans under the GI bill, but the state of Texas goes a step further with the Hazlewood Exemption. The Hazlewood Exemption makes veterans, their spouses, and their dependents exempt from tuition and fees for 150 hours of education, as long as those hours are spent in state funded courses. The University of Texas at Austin is committed to providing this exemption to all qualified veterans. The school also provides extensive veterans services, and is overall excited to welcome veterans and their experience to the university.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $931,100

  4. Binghamton University

    Vestal, NY

    Binghamton University holds special campus events for veterans and devotes Veterans Day to honoring the service of veterans to our country. The school's Office for Veterans Services is attuned to the unique needs and situations of veterans and provides a wide range of services and advice to veterans attending or interested in attending the university. With in-state tuition just over $8,000, BU is one of the more affordable best colleges for veterans.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $861,700

  5. Catholic University of America

    Washington, DC

    Tuition at the Catholic University of America isn't cheap, but its participation in the Yellow Ribbon program is extensive. The school provides a maximum of $99,999 per year in assistance per Yellow Ribbon qualified veteran. The school offers 75 different bachelor's programs through the Yellow Ribbon program, and admits 50 graduate students and 40 undergraduate students on a yearly basis. The school also offers special scholarships to veterans based on their experience and specific situations, and wit a $13,800 annual in-state tuition, Catholic University is among the relatively cheap best colleges for veterans.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $860,500

  6. North Carolina State University

    Raleigh, NC

    NC State University takes great pride in their veteran student population and they show it. In addition to the broad selection of veterans assistance programs, which themselves demonstrate the commitment of the school to serving both active duty and veteran military personnel, they also pay special tribute to graduating veterans at commencement. This last piece isn't necessarily of any practical significance, but it does stand as an example of the school's great respect for veterans, and as a reminder of the sacrifices many have made for this country.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $832,600

  7. Pennsylvania State University

    University Park, PA

    Honorably discharged veterans now receive priority registration at Penn State, ensuring that they will have first crack at the classes they need to earn their degree. The peer counseling program at Penn State allows prospective students that are veterans to receive advice about their pursuit of higher education from other veterans who have experience with the special support systems in place. This ensures that the prospective student is advised by somebody who understands their situation, and has real experience working through the special veterans assistance programs. This prevents veterans from missing out on any of the many financial support benefits.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $798,300

  8. Marquette University

    Milwaukee, WI

    This school offers veterans all of the normal support offered by most other schools including the support detailed in the GI bill. The school also one of the specially selected private universities that participate in the VetEd program, which is offered by the state of Wisconsin exclusively to Wisconsin veterans. These veterans qualify for 100% tuition reimbursement through their bachelor's degree or vocational equivalent, as long as they attend a state institution or one of the select private institutions that participate in the program.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $768,900

  9. University of Oklahoma

    Norman, OK

    Oklahoma provides veterans with a wide range of services and support. The school offers extensive benefits not only to veterans, but to their families as well. The school offers guides to the special veterans forms to ensure prospective students will have all the information necessary to not miss out on any of the special benefits to which they are entitled. OU participates extensively in the Yellow Ribbon program, so in many cases, qualified veterans can earn their degree for free.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $745,300

  10. University at Buffalo

    Buffalo, NY

    The University of Buffalo participates in the standard veterans benefits programs for financial aid. Where the university goes above and beyond is in its programs designed to connect veterans with each other and local organizations in order to form a tight-knit support network in the community.

    30 Year Average Net ROI: $724,500

For our nation’s veterans who are interested in a quality education for themselves or their family members, there are an abundance of opportunities afforded to them. By selecting a university on our list of accredited best colleges for veterans ranked by their return on investment, veterans can be sure their education will provide them with the best possible start to their life after service.

Related Resource:  20 Cheap Online Homeland Security Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)

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