Nearly half a million veterans and their families are taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which gives them tuition, book stipends and housing allowances for postsecondary education. Not all institutions qualify under the bill, so veterans need to be sure that the institutions they want to attend are eligible. To be eligible for funding, the institution must be approved by the Web Enabled Approval Management System. Many WEAMS schools are also yellow-ribbon schools, which means that GIs can attend free or at a reduced cost.
Many traditional colleges have online certificate programs, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Both large universities, such as the University of Texas, which has 50,000 students, and small colleges, such as Texas Women's University, have online degree programs. Each college or university has different degree programs, both graduate and undergraduate programs. Some universities offer degree completion programs in nursing, criminal justice or business. Qualifying universities are listed on the Veteran's Administration website by state.
Several for-profit colleges have online associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs that qualify under the GI Bill. The University of Phoenix offers degrees in over 100 programs. Online degree programs include communications, environmental science, criminal justice, education, human services and psychology. Strayer University, another online for-profit college, offers 27 degree programs, mostly in business, human resources, management and marketing. The university also has locations throughout the United States, as does the University of Phoenix, which allows students to attend classes on campus as well as online if they choose.
Community colleges also offer associate degree programs online. Check carefully when applying to community colleges, because some community colleges offer degree programs completely online, while others offer hybrid courses -- which means that some courses must be done on campus, while the rest are completed online. Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana is an example of a community college with online degree programs in cybertechnology in both network security and in programming, for example. Other degree programs include computer information systems and business administration. The State University of New York system has over 100 online associate degree programs in everything from accounting to travel and events management. You can double check whether the community college you want to attend is eligible for veterans' benefits by going to the veterans administration website.
Like community colleges, many vocational and technical schools have online courses. Some schools have a hybrid course component, much like community colleges, but many schools have certificate and degree programs that are completely online. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers online certificate and degree programs at all of its 16 vocational schools. Examples of degree programs include accounting, business and construction management. As with the other colleges and schools, check the vocational school with the VA website to ensure benefits.
- ABC News: U.S. Veterans: By the Numbers
- University of Texas: UT Undergraduate Courses Online
- Texas Woman's University: Online Degree and Certificate Programs
- University of Phoenix: Just the Facts
- University of Phoenix: Degree Programs
- Strayer: Accredited Online College
- SUNY: Online Degrees
- Army Study Guide: Yellow Ribbon Program
Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.