Thanks to funding from the federal government and the state of Alabama, veterans and military personnel and their families can get a free college education at the best military-friendly colleges in Alabama. You can earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from the best military colleges in Alabama without cost.
The best colleges for veterans in Alabama offer transition assistance programs to help you shift into civilian life. Veteran education benefits cover not only tuition but also books, a housing allowance, and relocation costs to the campus of your choice.
Is It Hard to Get Into a Military-Friendly College in Alabama?
It is not hard to get into a military-friendly college in Alabama, particularly if you are eligible for US Military education benefits like the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program (ANGEAP). Military-friendly colleges offer financial aid and transition assistance programs to ease your enrollment as a former military veteran student.
Funding for Military-Friendly Schools in Alabama
In Alabama, there are 49 military-friendly schools (Yellow Ribbon Schools) offering GI Bill education benefits for US Military personnel, veterans, and their families. Among these military-friendly schools are the University of Alabama and Troy University.
These programs currently offer benefits for veterans’ education in Alabama:
- Alabama GI Dependent Scholarship Program
- Montgomery GI Bill
- Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)
Is College Free in Alabama if You Are a Veteran?
College in Alabama can be free if you are a military veteran eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The GI Bill, as well as other Alabama veteran benefit programs, cover tuition, books, housing, and relocation for eligible students. These benefits can also be transferred to spouses and dependents of veterans, depending on eligibility and years served.
Is Alabama a Good Place to Go to a Military-Friendly College?
Alabama is a great place to go to a military-friendly college. There are 49 Yellow Ribbon Schools in Alabama that recognize the Post-9/11 GI education benefits, as well as other programs like the Alabama GI Dependent Scholarship Program and the Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program (ANGEAP). These programs and schools will do all they can to help ensure your college career is fully funded.
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Factors Vets Need to Consider When Choosing a School in Alabama
- Transition assistance programs. Reintegrating into civilian life can be a stressful process after active military duty. Be sure to only choose military-friendly schools in Alabama with transition assistance programs for a seamless transition into academic life.
- Joint Service Transcripts (JST) recognition. Consider choosing schools that recognize your JST and will grant you college credits for your military training. University of Alabama at Birmingham will give you up to 24 credit hours for your military training.
- Career goals. Consider your career goals when choosing a school and an academic program. Veterans make great business owners and have an edge when applying for a government agency and G.I. jobs.
- Job placement. Veterans gained skills during military service of great value for civilian employers. Veterans find well-paid positions working as strategic analysts and managers for IT security firms. Think about your future employer when choosing a school.
- Location. Education benefit programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill include a housing allowance and money for relocation so you can live near the campus of your choice.
Best Military-Friendly Colleges in Alabama at a Glance
|College||# of Students Earning Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits||Average Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits Awarded|
|Auburn University||Undergrad: 689Grad: 132||Undergrad: $11,874Grad: $12,755|
|Auburn University at Montgomery||Undergrad: 172Grad: 23||Undergrad: $8,207
|Jacksonville State University||Undergrad: 110Grad: 28||Undergrad: $7,269
|Samford University||Undergrad: 53Grad: 27||Undergrad: $20,293
|Troy University||Undergrad: 765Grad: 249||Undergrad: $6,692
|University of Alabama||Undergrad: 827Grad: 152||Undergrad: $11,063
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Undergrad: 311Grad: 156||Undergrad: $8,682
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||Undergrad: 285Grad: 43||Undergrad: $7,750
|University of North Alabama||Undergrad: 298Grad: 56||Undergrad: $7,658
|University of South Alabama||Undergrad: 224Grad: 107||Undergrad: $9,123
Best Colleges for Veterans in Alabama
How Does the Post-9/11 GI Bill Work?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a form of federally-funded financial aid and benefits package that provides extra support for military service members and their families with the aim to help their job and/or educational training efforts.
Who Is Eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
You are eligible for education benefits if you have served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. You are also eligible if you received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service.
Honorably discharged US Military personnel with a service-related disability who served at least 30 continuous days after September 11, 2001, are also eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. These benefits can also be transferred to the dependent children of qualifying veterans.
What Does the GI Bill Cover?
The GI Bill covers the full in-state tuition and fees for accepted academic programs from military-friendly universities all over the US. It also includes a monthly housing allowance, assistance for the cost of books and supplies, and money to help students move from rural areas to housing facilities near the school.
Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the GI Bill
- You can use your benefits to earn undergraduate or graduate degrees, as well as to pay for tutorial assistance to help you earn those degrees.
- You can also use your benefits to train for a specific career. For example, you can pay for flight training, entrepreneurship training, or on-the-job training.
- You can benefit from up to 48 months of education benefits, but many applicants are eligible for only 36 months.
- If your service ended before January 1, 2013, your GI Bill benefits expire 15 years after your last separation date from active duty.
- If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, your GI Bill benefits won’t expire.
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How to Apply for the GI Bill and Related Benefits
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regulates GI Bill benefits eligibility. Not all veterans are eligible for the same benefits, so you should start by finding out your eligibility. Below are the five steps to apply for the GI Bill and receive its educational benefits.
Step 1: Find Out If You Are Eligible
To find out if you are eligible for the GI Bill-related benefits, visit the GI Bill eligibility webpage, which is part of the US Department of Veterans Affairs website. You can also call the Education Call Center (ECC).
Step 2: Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool
Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to compare your benefits at different schools. You can search for schools by name or location. Keep in mind that GI Bill benefits include money for relocation and a housing allowance to live close to the campus of your choice anywhere in the US.
Step 3: Prepare Your Documents
Your documentation must include your Social Security number (SSN), bank account direct deposit information, education and military history, and basic information about the university and the program you want to attend.
Step 4: Apply Online, by Mail, or In-Person
To apply online, open an account on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website and submit your electronic documents. If you want to apply by mail, call the ECC and request a printed application form. To apply in person, go to a VA regional office near you.
Step 5: Wait for the VA’s Decision
It takes an average of 30 days for the Veterans Affairs office to make a decision. If your application is approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the mail. You can request a decision review if you disagree with a VA’s decision on your benefits claim.
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What Documents Do I Need to Apply for the GI Bill?
To apply for the GI Bill and receive the Certificate of Eligibility from the Veterans Administration, you’ll need to provide valid documentation to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
These are the documents you need to apply for the GI Bill:
- Social Security Number
- Bank account direct deposit information
- Education and military history
- Basic information about your preferred school
What Are the Best Online Military-Friendly Colleges in Alabama?
The best online military-friendly colleges in Alabama include Auburn University, Troy University, and Samford University. These universities offer a balanced curriculum and include virtual labs, online forums, and 1:1 meetings with instructors and academic advisors.
These are the best online military-friendly colleges in Alabama:
- Auburn University
- Auburn University at Montgomery
- Samford University
- Troy University
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
Best Online Colleges for Veterans in Alabama
Can I Get College Credit for My Military Training?
Yes, you can often get college credit for your military training history. Many military-friendly colleges in Alabama give students college credit for their military training. For example, University of Alabama at Birmingham will give you up to 24 credit hours for your military experience after submitting your Joint Service Transcripts (JST).
If you are in the Army, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard, you can request your JST from the Joint Service Transcripts website, or you can request it from the Community College of the Air Force website if you are in the Air Force.
As a Vet, Do I Have to Meet the Same Requirements as Regular Students?
Yes, you have to meet the standard graduation requirements as regular students to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. However, military-friendly schools in Alabama often provide additional support to veterans, such as extended time to complete a degree plan or the opportunity to receive college credit for your military training.
Applying to College: 5 Tips for Veteran Students
Transitioning to civilian life can be challenging for veterans coming from military life. Fortunately, military veterans are appreciated and welcomed by the best higher education institutions in the US. Here are five tips to get the most out of your college education.
- Think nationally. Your GI Bill education benefits include a monthly housing allowance, so you can live near the campus of any eligible university in the country. You also get financial support to cover relocation costs.
- Use the transition assistance programs. Military-friendly schools offer transition assistance programs to reduce the stress associated with transitioning from active service to civilian life. Schools with these programs increase student success.
- Scholarships and grants. Many schools allow you to be eligible for their scholarships and grants programs even if you are receiving Veterans Affairs benefits.
- Understand your education benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill and other initiatives to support the education of US military personnel are constantly changing. Keep yourself updated on your military benefits through the eBenefits portal.
- Choose military-friendly colleges. Military-friendly colleges offer more than preferential tuition fees for veterans. They also host veteran student networks and are connected to employers interested in hiring graduates with military experience.
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Should You Attend a Military-Friendly School in Alabama?
Yes, you should attend a military-friendly school in Alabama because you can use your military benefits to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree for free at countless schools in the state. Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill program, you can get tuition assistance, a monthly housing allowance, and money to relocate to the campus of your choice.
In addition, education benefits can be transferred to military spouses and their children so they can have a free or affordable college education. Alabama is home to some of the best military-friendly colleges in the US that will support these financial aid programs, as well as provide additional support to make your college journey as seamless as possible.
Military-Friendy Colleges in Alabama FAQ
Yes, eligible veteran dependents can go to college for free in Alabama and earn an affordable undergraduate or graduate degree. Personnel with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits can transfer up to 36 months of benefits to their spouse or dependent.
Veterans make the most money in healthcare, government, and defense contracting positions. Veterans also get an edge in the hiring process for government jobs and positions in the military and defense industry.
The best jobs for veterans include IT security specialists, land surveyors, and safety managers. These jobs require skills and competencies that are part of military training. Veterans also earn high salaries working as operation managers, nurses, investigators, and drivers.
Yes, Alabama is a veteran-friendly state that offers attractive employment, education, and housing benefits for veterans and their families. In Alabama, veterans also enjoy special tax breaks and incentives for business and land ownership.
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