6 Best Online College for Military Spouses (2024)

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    6 Best Online College for Military Spouses (2024)

    As a military spouse, continuing your education can be challenging due to the nomadic military lifestyle. With frequent relocations, it’s difficult to commit to on-campus degree programs that require physical attendance.

    This is where online colleges for military spouses shine by providing flexible, accredited programs that you can complete from anywhere—even while accompanying your service member on assignments abroad.

    In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top options for earning an online degree as a military spouse. We’ll break down key factors like cost, accreditation, program options, military discounts, and support services designed specifically for those in the military community.

    What to Look For in an Online College

    When selecting the right online program, it’s important to evaluate several important criteria. Let’s define some of the most essential considerations.

    Regional or National Accreditation

    All reputable colleges must be accredited—this validates that the school meets rigorous standards for things like faculty credentials, curriculum, student support services, and more.

    Look for regional accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting bodies or national accreditation by an approved agency. Accreditation ensures your degree will be respected by other schools and potential employers.

    Cost and Financial Aid

    The total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, and books, will vary significantly between schools. Compare estimated out-of-pocket expenses for both in-state and out-of-state students across public and private options.

    Look also for military spouse tuition assistance, scholarships, and grants that can help offset expenses. Many have generous policies to support the military community.

    Program Flexibility

    Ideally, you need a school that’s adaptable to your ever-changing schedule as a military spouse. Opt for programs offering multiple start dates throughout the year instead of just fall/spring semesters.

    Course formats like 8-week terms allow for breaks without falling behind. Consider fully asynchronous, self-paced programs if relocations necessitate pausing studies temporarily.

    Available Degree Programs

    Consider academic strengths across associates, bachelor’s, master’s and certificate options. Make sure your chosen field of study, like business, nursing, or teaching, is represented in online formats. If you’re pursuing an advanced degree, ensure credits from your prior school are transferable.

    Student and Alumni Support

    Beyond just academic advising, look for dedicated military spouse advisors, peer mentoring, career services assistance, library resources, counseling services and more. These extras often make or break the online college experience, especially for nontraditional students.

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    Technology Requirements

    Check minimum computer specs and reliable internet access needed for online coursework. Schools with mobile-friendly learning platforms enable studying from anywhere as long as base libraries or hotspots are accessible during moves.

    Keeping these key points in mind will help you identify schools optimized to serve military spouses through flexible, affordable, accredited degree programs. Let’s dive deeper into some top contenders.

    Best Online Colleges for Military Spouses

    There are several outstanding online college options designed with military spouses in mind. Here are a few of the highest rated programs based on factors like cost, flexibility, military spouse services, and academic quality:

    American Public University System (APUS)

    As one of the earliest pioneers of online education, APUS has long supported the military community with discounted tuition, personalized advising,

    and hundreds of in-demand degree programs from certificates to doctorates. Flexible 8-week courses align well with PCS moves. For accredited online degrees at an affordable price, APUS is a top pick.

    Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

    With over 80% of students attending online, SNHU has perfected the digital learning experience. They offer one of the most generous military spouse tuition discounts at 25% off.

    Programs feature accelerated 7-week terms, 5 start dates per year, and military-friendly policies to help spouses attain degrees smoothly. Flexible, highly-rated options in business, psychology, computer science and more.

    University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

    As the largest public online university, UMUC has educated members of the military for decades. Discounts on tuition and fees make the prestigious Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees affordable for military spouses. Their ‘Stopouts’ program allows temporary pauses in studies during deployments or moves without financial penalty—perfect for unpredictable circumstances. UMUC also places a strong emphasis on career services support.

    Western Governors University (WGU)

    Competency-based programs at WGU allow for self-paced monthly enrollment and completion of coursework based on demonstrated skills rather than time spent in classes. Military spouses can quickly earn their degree while balancing family demands. And at just $3,000 per 6-month term, affordability is a major draw—especially with WGU’s15% military discount. Top-rated teacher education, IT, and business programs are very military spouse friendly.

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    Liberty University

    As the largest private nonprofit online college in the U.S., Liberty University has more than 40 accredited programs for military spouses to choose from. With generous grants totaling up to $6,000 per year and a dedicated military affairs office, Liberty makes higher education attainable regardless of deployment schedules. 12-week semester courses also provide scheduling flexibility that assists smooth relocations every couple years. Highly-rated programs in theology, psychology, criminal justice, and more.

    Grantham University

    Grantham focuses specifically on supporting non-traditional students like career changers and military families. Aside from 35% off tuition for spouses, Grantham’s rolling admissions allow entry any month of the year

    —so you’re never waiting to get started. They also offer prior learning assessments to potentially reduce time to degree. Top online degrees include computer networking, accounting, business administration, computer science, and more.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are answers to some of the most common questions military spouses have when considering online education:

    What types of degrees are best suited for online formats?

    Nearly any field can be studied fully online now. Popular choices that translate well to virtual classrooms include business administration, accounting, communications, criminal justice, computer science, healthcare administration, nursing, engineering, education, and more. Just about any major or minor can be completed today without stepping foot on campus.

    How do I transfer credits from a previous school?

    Contact the potential transfer school’s registrar and request a transcript evaluation. They will review your completed courses from the prior institution and advise which credits qualify to fulfill requirements at the new school. Be sure to ask about maximum transfer limits, common course equivalencies, and credit for military training or experience as well.

    Will employers respect an online degree?

    As long as your online degree is from a reputable, accredited college, it holds the same value as one earned on-campus. Many employers now realize online programs provide working professionals flexibility to balance education with career responsibilities. Focus on skills gained, not delivery method. With the growth of remote work too, where you earn a degree matters less than what you learned.

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    How do I pay for an online degree as a military spouse?

    Top options include VA education benefits like GI Bill (Chapter 33 or Chapter 35), Tuition Assistance (TA), MyCAA, and scholarships from Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA).

    You may qualify for additional need-based Pell Grants, loans, or employer reimbursement too. Contact your base education office and schools’ financial aid teams for spouse-specific options. With discounts, waiving fees/expenses is common as schools want to support the military.

    What if I need to pause my studies during a deployment or PCS move?

    Reputable schools understand these are realities of military life and make accommodations. Many will allow degree-seeking military spouses to take “breaks in attendance” without penalties as long as you communicate expected duration.

    This protects your academic progress and financial aid eligibility upon return. Also helpful are 8-week terms, rolling start dates, and self-paced competency programs that decrease disruptions from family duty obligations.

    How do military online classes actually work?

    Most involve watching prerecorded video lectures, reading digital course materials, participating in virtual class discussions via message boards or video chat, submitting written assignments online, and taking assessments electronically either during live proctored exam periods or within given flexible time windows.

    Technology requirements are basic—just a reliable computer or mobile device with internet access. All interactions are through a school’s learning management system for maximum flexibility.

    So in summary, online programs provide the ideal educational solution for busy military spouses needing flexibility and portability. With commitment to your studies and support from schools’ military services, earning your degree is very achievable even while following service members between bases worldwide. Prioritize accredited options from the top colleges highlighted here to set yourself up for success.

    Conclusion

    Pursuing higher education as a military spouse is challenging yet rewarding. With online options designed specifically for your transience, advanced degrees are now more accessible than ever before. Leading programs from APUS, SNHU, UMUC, WGU, Liberty, and Grantham equip military spouses with affordable, accredited credentials that translate to career opportunities no matter the duty station.

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