The Best University For Veterans In Each State

Kathy Morris
by Kathy Morris
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Veterans going to college face different challenges than traditional college students.

For one, only 15% of student veterans are traditionally aged college students. Often student veterans are older, with families and other responsibilities competing for their attention. Veterans may be dealing with trauma or injury from their service.

Yet, all too often when veterans decide to pursue higher education, institutions see money bags. Veterans intent on using their GI Bill are often targets of unsavory institutions and exploitative marketing schemes. These institutions often drain vets of their benefits, giving them little in return.

On the less malicious side, some institutions simply don’t do as good of job at graduating veterans. They offer less services and support, leaving veterans on their own to make the tough transition from soldier to student. What universities do the best job at equipping veterans for success in academics and beyond?

Better yet, what is the best university for veterans in each state? As older students, veterans may have less mobility to move across the country for a school of their choice. Working spouses, school aged children, and other family concerns may make proximity a necessity. Similarly, veterans have spent a lot of time living away from their family and community, as they leave the service many seek to close that distance.

We dove into the data to find the university in each state where veterans have the best outcomes. You can see our methodology further down, but first let’s see which colleges got an A+!

Alabama — Auburn University

Earning Above 28k: 72.60%
Completion Rate: 73%

At Auburn, Veterans can know that they are going to the school to best fit their needs. In addition to having the best resources for success, students at Auburn can rally behind the school’s vibrant football scene.

Alaska — University Of Alaska Anchorage

Earning Above 28k: 64.90%
Completion Rate: 31%

As a University of Alaska Anchorage graduate, veterans can rest easy knowing that their degrees will likely get them stable jobs and incomes. Plus, who wouldn’t want to attend school in one of Alaska’s main hubs?

Arizona — Arizona State University

Earning Above 28k: 69.60%
Completion Rate: 66%

With a high completion rate and income potential, veterans can rest easy knowing they are taken care of at Arizona State University. The univerisity is well-known for it’s online programs, so veterans can have the flexibility they need.

Arkansas — University Of Arkansas

Earning Above 28k: 66.90%
Completion Rate: 61%

Going to this university does not only mean veterans are going to the best school in the state, but also one of the top research schools in the nation. So if you’re a veteran considering a career in research, don’t forget to check out this school.

California — University Of California, Los Angeles

university-of-california-los-angeles

Earning Above 28k: 72%
Completion Rate: 93%
The University Of California is one of the best public university systems in the world. UCLA welcomes veterans and those who are accepted are likely to finish their degree.

Colorado — University Of Colorado Denver

Earning Above 28k: 71.70%
Completion Rate: 50%

Join the mile high club and check out the University of Colorado Denver. As a student at this university, veterans can explore the outdoors and have a stable income after graduation.

Connecticut — University Of Connecticut

university-of-austin-texas

Earning Above 28k: 77%
Completion Rate: 77%

Connecticut veterans should put the University Of Connecticut at the top of their list. The University Of Connecticut has the best scores for veteran graduation and earnings of any other institution in the state.

Delaware — University Of Delaware

Earning Above 28k: 78.50%
Completion Rate: 79%

At the University of Delaware, veterans can take advantage of all the internships the close location to Philadephia and Baltimore have to offer. With programs from associates to PhD, and a great graduation rate, veterans enrolling at this school can rest easy knowing they’ve picked a great choice.

Florida — University Of Florida

university-of-florida

Earning Above 28k: 74%
Completion Rate: 87%
UF is an excellent choice for veterans. Their online and in person courses provide flexibility. In addition, the Office of Student Veteran Services, Collegiate Veterans Success Center, and Collegiate Veterans Society provide support for veterans transitioning into the education world.

Georgia — Georgia Institute Of Technology

georgia-tech

Earning Above 28k: 86.20%
Completion Rate: 86%

Looking to get a great STEM degree as a veteran? Then don’t forget to check out the Georgia Institute Of Technology, the best school for veterans in Georgia. With high graduation rates and amazing entry-level incomes, veteran graduates who attend this school can be confident in finding a career that works for them.

Hawaii — University Of Hawaii At Manoa

Source:Ken Lund

Earning Above 28k: 63.90%
Completion Rate: 60%

If going to school on an island seems appealing, veterans should take a look at this university in Hawaii. As the best school for veterans in this tropical state, veterans will have access to a great education and post graduate career opportunities.

Idaho — University Of Idaho

Earning Above 28k: 59.00%
Completion Rate: 59%

You don’t have to love potatoes to love this school (although many will admit that Idaho potatoes are pretty great). Veterans at the University of Idaho have great opportunities in community outreach programs and research.

Illinois — University Of Illinois At Chicago

university of illinois

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Earning Above 28k: 67%
Completion Rate: 70%

Veterans who attend the University Of Illinois can rest easy knowing they are attending an institution with a track record of setting veterans up for success. UIC graduates a higher than average percent of the veterans who attend.

Indiana — Purdue University

Source:David Delso/

Earning Above 28k: 77.90%
Completion Rate: 70%

If you’re a veteran who likes engineering, research or football, Purdue might be a college for you. With great post-graduation incomes and a higher than average graduation rate, Purdue is a great choice for any veteran.

Iowa — University Of Northern Iowa

Earning Above 28k: 73.90%
Completion Rate: 66%

As the best university in Iowa for veterans, you can rest easy knowing your needs are met at the University of Northern Iowa. Students here have access to over 90 majors and programs, so you can know you’re going to find the best program for you at this university.

Kansas — University Of Kansas

Earning Above 28k: 71.80%
Completion Rate: 62%

There’s no place like home… at the University of Kansas. With higher than average graduation rates and entry-level incomes, this unviversity is a perfect fit for any veteran in Kansas.

Kentucky — University Of Louisville

Earning Above 28k: 65.50%
Completion Rate: 53%

Ever wanted to live in the South? If so, this university is perfect for any Southern-seeking veteran. With research opportunities in sea, space and land, this flagship university is a great pick for any veteran.

Louisiana — Louisiana State University

Earning Above 28k: 72.10%
Completion Rate: 67%

Ever wanted to go to a school near New Orleans and one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S.? Look no further than this research-oriented university with higher than average post-grad incomes perfect for veterans.

Maine — Maine Maritime Academy

Maine Maritime Academy

Source: Wikipedia

Earning Above 28k: 86.00%
Completion Rate: 61%

The Maine Maritime Academy boasts its well-known engineering program. As a military-associated school, the Maine Maritime academy would be a great fit for veterans who enjoy the sea, engineering and last but not least, lobster.

Maryland — University Of Maryland, Baltimore

university-of-maryland

Earning Above 28k: 93%
Completion Rate: 88%
Veterans who attend the University Of Maryland, Baltimore have an 88% chance of achieving their bachelor’s degree. It shows in their earning potential- having one of the higher rates of students earning above 28k on the list.

Massachusetts — Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Source: Wikipedia

Earning Above 28k: 85.70%
Completion Rate: 74%

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a great option for veterans because of their military connections. If you’re a veteran interested in nautical science, don’t forget to check out this school on the Massachusetts coast.

Michigan — University Of Michigan – Ann Arbor

university of michigan

Source:

Earning Above 28k: 76.70%
Completion Rate: 90%

It’s no surpirse that the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is the best school for veterans in Michigan. This university is well-known for its medical and research programs, not to mention their liberal arts studies. With a high graduation rate, veterans attending this school will know that this school works hard to get it’s students diplomas.

Minnesota — University Of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Earning Above 28k: 75.20%
Completion Rate: 77%

Veterans can find a home away from home at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. At this university, both graduation rates and incomes after graduation are higher than average — a perfect combination for veterans looking for a good educational experience.

Mississippi — University Of Mississippi

Earning Above 28k: 65.50%
Completion Rate: 58%

Head down South to the University of Mississippi and get a great start on your educational journey. Ole Miss is Mississippi’s flagship school and is great for veterans who are interested in research.

Missouri — Missouri University

Earning Above 28k: 80.50%
Completion Rate: 68%

Mizzou is ready for veterans to join the ranks with their vibrant student base. The University of Missouri has a good graduation and rate and a higher than average post-graduation income, a great pair for veterans excited to start college.

Montana — Montana Tech Of The University Of Montana

Earning Above 28k: 65.90%
Completion Rate: 43%

Interested in getting a STEM degree? Look no further than Montana Tech, the best university for veterans in Montana. With many different programs available, you can be sure to find the perfect program at this university.

Nebraska — University Of Nebraska

Earning Above 28k: 69.90%
Completion Rate: 63%

At the University of Nebraska, veterans can take advantage of programs that can utilize their specialized skills and experience, such as their National Strategic Research Institute. In addition to veteran-friendly educational programs, this university has a good graduation rate and entry-level job incomes.

Nevada — University Of Nevada , Reno

Source:Ken Lund

Earning Above 28k: 67.10%
Completion Rate: 58%

With over 460 educational programs, veterans can be sure to find a good program for them at the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition to receiving a good education, veterans can graduate this university knowing their degrees have a good chance of leading to a job with a good income.

New Hampshire — Granite State College

Earning Above 28k: 58.80%
Completion Rate: 51%

Granite State College is committed to supporting veteran education and over 13% of the student population are veterans and current service members of the military. Combine that with a good post-graduation incomes, veterans should keep this university on their short list.

New Jersey — College Of New Jersey (The)

Earning Above 28k: 80.90%
Completion Rate: 84%

The College of New Jersey is a great option for any veteran. With great graduation rates and post graduation incomes, veterans can choose this university knowing they will be in good hands.

New Mexico — New Mexico Institute Of Mining & Technology

Earning Above 28k: 67.80%
Completion Rate: 54%

Veterans looking into engineering and other tech degrees should check out this small school in New Mexico. Graduates from this school enjoy great incomes and job opportunities, especially in the engineering field.

New York — Binghamton University

binghamton university

Earning Above 28k: 74%
Completion Rate: 81%
Binghamton University is the number-one ranked public university in New York. Veterans receive a stellar education here, with a better-than-average chance of finishing their degree.

North Carolina — University Of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

university-of-north-carolina-chapel-hill

Earning Above 28k: 75%
Completion Rate: 90%
The University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill was founded by a Revolutionary War Veteran. Today they continue to honor that military tradition, welcoming vets warmly. The stats show those vets are well-served educationally.

North Dakota — University Of North Dakota

Earning Above 28k: 76.80%
Completion Rate: 50%

If you love snow and cold weather, don’t forget to check out the University of North Dakota. With over 225 programs, veterans can be sure they’ll be able to find a great fit in the oldest school in the state.

Ohio — Ohio State University

Earning Above 28k: 68.70%
Completion Rate: 68%

Not only is Ohio State University the highest ranking school in the state overall, but it is also the highest ranking school for veterans. Students of this university can choose from over 200 majors, so veterans can be sure to find a program that best fits their interests.

Oklahoma — University Of Oklahoma

Earning Above 28k: 73.20%
Completion Rate: 65%

For veterans looking for online degree programs, this school might be the perfect option having ranked in the top 10 for online programs for the past four years. Online and in person, students looking to go in person also have over 170 programs to choose from.

Oregon — Oregon Institute Of Technology

Earning Above 28k: 78.70%
Completion Rate: 49%

Excited to pursue a STEM degree? The Oregon Institute of Technology is the perfect place to start for any veteran. Plus, graduates can rest easy knowing that entry-level incomes for graduates at this school are higher than most.

Pennsylvania — West Chester University Of Pennsylvania

Earning Above 28k: 71.20%
Completion Rate: 71%

At West Chester, veterans can benefit from over 3,400 career and internship opportunities throughout the school. In addition to that, 88% of graduates are either employed or in graduate school.

Rhode Island — Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College

Source: Wikipedia User Kenneth C. Zirk | CC BY-SA 4.0

Earning Above 28k: 62.90%
Completion Rate: 50%

If you are a veteran looking to move to a small state, look no further than Rhode Island College. This school offers a military resource center, so veterans can feel confident going to school after service.

South Carolina — Citadel, The Military College Of South Carolina

Earning Above 28k: 76.90%
Completion Rate: 71%

Veterans looking for a military-related educational experience should check out the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. In addition to veteran services, this school offers a high graduation rate and a good post-graduation income.

South Dakota — South Dakota School Of Mines & Technology

Earning Above 28k: 79.50%
Completion Rate: 60%

Veterans interested in mining, engineering and other tech degrees can find excellent programs at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Grads from this school also benefit from great post-graduation incomes.

Tennessee — University Of Tennessee Chattanooga

Earning Above 28k: 66.90%
Completion Rate: 68%

If you like BBQ and country music, don’t forget to check out the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. This school has a veteran resource center to help veterans on their educational journies as well as many different degree programs to choose from.

Texas — University Of Texas At Austin

university-of-austin-texas

Earning Above 28k: 77%
Completion Rate: 80%
The state of Texas has one of the largest number of military residents in the US. Geographically, the University of Texas at Austin is undoubtedly convenient to many Texan veterans. In addition to location, students have a decent earning potential and a high degree completion rate.

Utah — University Of Utah

Earning Above 28k: 70.60%
Completion Rate: 68%

If skiing is your passion, the Univeristy of Utah might be the place for you. This school not only has good graduation rates, but also has the resources to help veterans land well-paying jobs after earning their degrees.

Vermont — University Of Vermont

Earning Above 28k: 67.70%
Completion Rate: 77%

Located in what was voted the best college town in America, the University of Vermont offers a vibrant college life and academics to students. Veterans can feel confident in this school’s ability to help them graduate college and find careers perfect for their interests.

Virginia — University Of Virginia

georgia-tech

Earning Above 28k: 78.60%
Completion Rate: 92%

The University of Virginia boasts their extremely high graduation rates. Veterans who are looking for a great support system to help ensure they suceed in college would enjoy the University of Virginia’s excellent academics.

Washington — University Of Washington- Seattle

university-of-washington-seattle

Source:MeganP

Earning Above 28k: 76%
Completion Rate: 82%
The University of Washington is a research focused university. Veterans looking to focus on research, or work in Seattle’s thriving tech scene, would be well served by the University of Washington.

West Virginia — Shepherd University

Shepherd University

Earning Above 28k: 58.80%
Completion Rate: 50%

This liberal arts instutition is perfect for any veteran looking for a degree program in the arts and sciences. Students looking to make an impact on their community would enjoy the various community outreach programs at this school. in addition to professional and social opportunities available to students at Shepherd.

Wisconsin — University Of Wisconsin- Madison

university-of-austin-texas

Earning Above 28k: 79%
Completion Rate: 85%

The University of Wisconsin is not only the best college for veterans in Wisconsin, it has the 8th highest scores on our list. Veterans who attend UW have a high completion rate and statistical better earnings. That is a lot of reasons for veterans to seriously considering becoming a badger.

Wyoming — University Of Wyoming

Earning Above 28k: 68.50%
Completion Rate: 58%

At the University of Wyoming, students can choose from a diverse set of programs. In addition to excellent academics, students have access to amazing outdoor adventure opportunities. These benefits, in addition to great post-grad income potentials, makes this school a great fit for any veteran.

How We Determined The Best Universities For Veterans

There are a multitude of factors that contribute to veterans’ success in college. Active and supportive veterans’ organizations, personal life circumstances, and academic programs are all a few areas that can contribute to student performance. However, for this study we focused on a few metrics that determine veteran success:

Using data from the we ranked 517 colleges on:

  • Rate of completion
  • The percent of students earning 28k+ a year after attendance
  • The percent of student tuition spent on instruction vs other administrative costs

The lower the score in each category the better. For example, a college that graduated every single one of its veteran students would have a 100% completion rate, and receive a #1 in that category.

We only looked at public schools with 4-year degree programs. We excluded private schools because while veterans fare well at Ivy League institutions (and when not excluded these colleges dominate the top 10), only a fraction of veteran students attend these organizations and we wanted a big, expansive look at the best colleges for veterans. Of course, it is worth noting that veterans who attend Yale-calibar schools have excellent outcomes.

The Best University For Veterans In Each State

These are the top college for veterans in each state- based on degree completion, earnings, and the percentage of tuition the college spends on instruction- when broken down by state.

However, as we mentioned earlier, location is a driving factor in choosing which college to attend- which is why we opted to find the best college for veterans in each state.

Veterans who use their GI Bills at these organizations will be well-served by institutions that graduate veterans who attend and position them for a career. Similarly, these colleges spend a good chunk of vet’s tuition on vets. Veterans seeking a solid education would not be remiss to seriously consider these schools.

The Best University For Veterans In Each State

State University Earning Above 28K Completion Rate (%)
Alabama Auburn University 72.6% 73
Alaska University Of Alaska Anchorage 64.9% 31
Arizona Arizona State University 69.6% 66
Arkansas University Of Arkansas 66.9% 61
California University Of California, Los Angeles 71.7% 92
Colorado University Of Colorado Denver 71.7% 50
Connecticut University Of Connecticut 77.1% 77
Delaware University Of Delaware 78.5% 79
Florida University Of Florida 73.5% 87
Georgia Georgia Institute Of Technology 86.2% 86
Hawaii University Of Hawaii At Manoa 63.9% 60
Idaho University Of Idaho 59.0% 59
Illinois University Of Illinois At Chicago 69.5% 67
Indiana Purdue University 77.9% 70
Iowa University Of Northern Iowa 73.9% 66
Kansas University Of Kansas 71.8% 62
Kentucky University Of Louisville 65.5% 53
Louisiana Louisiana State University 72.1% 67
Maine Maine Maritime Academy 86.0% 61
Maryland University Of Maryland, Baltimore 92.7% 87
Massachusetts Massachusetts Maritime Academy 85.7% 74
Michigan University Of Michigan – Ann Arbor 76.7% 90
Minnesota University Of Minnesota – Twin Cities 75.2% 77
Mississippi University Of Mississippi 65.5% 58
Missouri Missouri University 80.5% 68
Montana Montana Tech Of The University Of Montana 65.9% 43
Nebraska University Of Nebraska 69.9% 63
Nevada University Of Nevada , Reno 67.1% 58
New Hampshire Granite State College 58.8% 51
New Jersey College Of New Jersey (The) 80.9% 84
New Mexico New Mexico Institute Of Mining & Technology 67.8% 54
New York Binghamton University 73.7% 81
North Carolina University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill 74.7% 90
North Dakota University Of North Dakota 76.8% 50
Ohio Ohio State University (The) 68.7% 68
Oklahoma University Of Oklahoma 73.2% 65
Oregon Oregon Institute Of Technology 78.7% 49
Pennsylvania West Chester University Of Pennsylvania 71.2% 71
Rhode Island Rhode Island College 62.9% 50
South Carolina Citadel, The Military College Of South Carolina 76.9% 71
South Dakota South Dakota School Of Mines & Technology 79.5% 60
Tennessee University Of Tennessee Chattanooga 66.9% 68
Texas University Of Texas At Austin 76.8% 79
Utah University Of Utah 70.6% 68
Vermont University Of Vermont 67.7% 77
Virginia University Of Virginia 78.6% 92
Washington University Of Washington – Seattle 75.5% 82
West Virginia Shepherd University 58.8% 50
Wisconsin University Of Wisconsin – Madison 78.9% 85
Wyoming University Of Wyoming 68.5% 58
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