Recently the US News and World Report came out with their 2018/2019 best colleges lists. One of those lists was the Best Colleges for Veterans.

The Methodology

To make the best list for veterans, the school had to meet all four of the following criteria:

  1. Certified by the VA to accept the GI Bill
  2. Participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program or be a public school that charges in-state tuition to non-resident veterans
  3. Must have a veteran or active duty service member student population of at least 20 students
  4. Must be in the top half of the Best Colleges rankings

The Ranking

While there were 102 colleges and universities total in the complete list, here are the top 20 ranked schools (in order) meeting all four criteria:







1 Stanford University Stanford, CA $51,354
2 Dartmouth College Hanover, NH $55,035
3 Cornell University Ithaca, NY $55,188
4 University of California Los Angeles, CA $13,280
5* Georgetown University Washington, D.C $54,104
5* University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA $56,225
7* Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA $55,465
7* University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA $17,350
9 University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI $15,262
10* New York University New York, NY $51,828
10* University of California Santa Barbara, CA $14,472
10* University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC $8,986
13* University of California Irvine, CA $15,516
13* University of Rochester Rochester, NY $53,926
15 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA $12.424
16* College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA $21,830
16* University of California Davis, CA $14,463
18 Boston University Boston, MA $18,080
19 Tulane University New Orleans, LA $54,820
20* Pepperdine University Malibu, CA $53,932
20* University of Georgia Athens, GA $11,830
NOTE: * = Tied with another school at that list position

The GI Bill

One of the criteria to make this list was accepting the GI Bill. If using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it  pays up to 100% of the in-state resident tuition and fees at public schools. However, for private schools, it pays up to $23,671.94 per year (2018/2019 rate). The Post 9/11 GI Bill also pays a monthly housing allowance based on the school’s location and up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The difference between what the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays and what the school charges could be offset by the school’s Yellow Ribbon Program (YR) – another one of the criteria. Depending on the school’s YR Agreement, it could waiver up to 50% of the difference with the VA paying an equal amount (on top of the amount it already paid).

Or the school could have agreed to pay a lesser percentage in which case the VA would also pay less, and the difference left would have to be paid either out-of-pocket or with other funds such as scholarships or grants.

Also, depending on how a particular school tailors their YR program, the number of students they accept into the program can greatly vary from only a few to unlimited. Other variables include the maximum amount paid per student per year and the degree level and the division or school covered. Sometimes only a particular campus of a multi-campus school is covered by their YR.  Look for a comparison of YR programs for undergraduates of the schools on this list in an upcoming article.

As you can see, there are many different options as far as choice of location and tuition and fee rates in just these 20 ranked schools – let alone the whole 102-ranked in the complete list. The list in this article can help you sort out which schools may be right for you.  If not, look at the complete list for veterans for more schools.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.