Going to college is expensive; that’s a given. But what many students don’t know is that some colleges (and majors) are a better value than others. In other words, graduates earn more because of not only where they went to school, but also the major chosen.

Top 7 STEM Schools for Veterans

Right now of course, and into the foreseeable future, the STEM fields are great choices as far as a major. They generally pay more not only starting out, but well into the career when compared to the amount invested to get the degree. Let’s look at the top seven STEM schools and programs for veterans.

1. Webb Institute

Located in Glen Cove, NY, this school produces some of the nation’s top naval architects and marine engineers that go on to work for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and civilian ship-building companies. In 2019/2020 class, they job placed 100% of their graduates. Students live on campus – a 26-acre private estate.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge, MA is home to MIT. Established in 1861, it is one of the premier schools to produce graduates in science and technology that serve to help our Nation and the world for that matter, well into the 21st century. But it is not easy to get into; out of 21,312 applicants for the 2023 class, only 1,427 were accepted.

3. Harvey Mudd College

This school located in Claremont, CA, offers nine engineering, science and mathematics-based majors sprinkled with some humanities and social science courses to produce a more rounded graduate. They have a renowned Clinic Program which puts juniors and seniors in industrial companies where they work on solving real-world technical problems currently experienced by the company to which they are assigned creating a specialized type of internship.

4. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, this school focuses on producing engineers – especially in the fields of biomedical, civil and optical. They are proud of the fact that 98% of their graduates are job-placed within six months of graduation at an average starting salary of $73,000. All students receive financial aid, scholarships and grants as needed to attend.

5. California Institute of Technology

CALTECH, located in Pasadena, CA, is recognized as one of the world’s best science and engineering institute. It owns and operates large-scale research facilities, such as the
Seismological Laboratory and is heavily involved in space exploration research with it owning Palomar and W.M. Keck Observatories in addition to managing NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

6. Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus

Located in Atlanta, GA, Georgia Tech is ranked as the top school for return on investment – an accolade they have been regularly awarded for several years. Over 700 businesses have hired Georgia Tech graduates; in 2018, their graduates average starting salary was $72,000.

7. Colorado School of Mines

This unique school located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, CO, is proud of their nerdiness. As a matter of fact, they embrace it. But even with all that nerdiness, they only accept high-caliber students into their rigorous curriculum.

As a result, Mines produces scientist and engineers that are known for their work ethic, problem-solving abilities and teamwork focus – all traits employers are looking for but seem hard to find in today’s world of applicants. With only a student body of around 5,900, they have a 17:1 student-faculty ratio.

School Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay % of STEM Degrees Annual Tuition Yellow Ribbon Program/ Public or Private?
Webb Institute


$81,500 $137,900 100% $52,420 No/ Private
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


$88,300 $158,100 69% $53,790 Yes/ Private
Harvey Mudd College


$91,400 $162,500 85% $79,539 Yes/Private
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


$76,600 $137,700 96% $71,661 Yes/ Private
California Institute of Technology


$87,600 $150,300 97% $77,718 Yes/Private
Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus


$74,500 $137,300 80% $50,270 Yes/Public
Colorado School of Mines


$75,800 $142,800 93% $57,955 No/Public


Note 1: Post 9/11 GI Bill STEM students may also be eligible for a Rogers STEM Scholarship which can add up to nine additional months of benefits.

Note 2: The current tuition and fees rate paid by the VA for Post 9/11 GI Bill users attending a private school is limited to $25,162.14 per year. Public school is paid in full.

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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.