Military-Supportive GI Bill® Approved and Yellow Ribbon Program Colleges Online and in California

california stateMembers of the Armed Forces hailing from California have played an instrumental role in the development and strength of our military capabilities. Not only have countless thousands of troops cycled through this state as part of their training in addition to native Californians; the state’s many advanced research facilities have successfully birthed key R&D projects throughout history, with more on the way.

In addition to its sheer size, the state’s geography and position along the Pacific Rim have always made it crucial to national defense. The varied terrain and climates make it ideal for training in mountainous and desert environments while the vast expanses of dry lake beds are perfect for testing ordinance and prototype aircraft.

These are just some of the reasons why California is home to massive military installations and more veterans than any other state in the nation.

But veterans also prefer to call California home for another reason: it’s commitment to the well being of the veteran community. An important part of this focuses on education.

Active-duty servicemen and women, discharged veterans, and their families all have access to state-level education benefits in California, that augment or take the place of federally sponsored VA benefits.

You’ve served your country, now it’s time to plan for your future with the education benefits you’ve earned.

California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) Military Education Benefits

CalVet is the state agency dedicated to ensuring active-duty military, discharged veterans, and their families can easily access the benefits they’ve earned. You can think of CalVet as a liaison that helps coordinate between state and federal agencies to maximize your benefits.

CalVet also advocates for quality when it comes to educational opportunities for veterans. It’s the host agency of the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE). Any post-secondary education or career training program in the state eligible to accept GI Bill® benefits must get CSAAVE’s stamp of quality approval, including:

CalVet is also your go-to agency for navigating state-located education benefits you’ve earned through your service.

State University Troops to College Program

The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems together comprise 33 campuses that host over 763,000 students every year. The CSU system offers over 1,800 degree programs while the UC system enrolls more than 1,600 veterans annually.

The UC and CSU systems are committed to helping those who’ve served our country transition from military life to academia and pave a path towards a promising career and stable family. Every UC and CSU school guarantees:

California’s Troops to College program applies to the UC and CSU systems, and extends beyond to state California Community Colleges. Its goal is to help veterans and their families have a seamless transition to civilian life, deal with combat-related stress, and make smart well-informed academic decisions. This is done through a course taught by a combat veteran that’s open for enrollment to any veteran and their families.

VA Work-Study Program

If you’re taking advantage of other benefits like the GI Bill® and are at least a 3/4-time student then you, or your dependents, could qualify for this program.

Work-study as part of this program means you’ll be employed at an approved facility in California such as:

You earn at least either federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 hourly) or California’s minimum wage (currently $14.00 hourly), whichever is higher. Schools can offer even better wages to cover the difference between what non-military work-study students earn in a job that’s equivalent to the one you’re working.

This program goes beyond what the GI Bill® and other federal benefits cover; it lets you earn money to put in your pocket while giving you job experience to put on your résumé at the same time.

California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program (CNGEAAP)

This benefit covers up to 100% of your fees and could apply to you if you’re serving in the California National Guard (CNG) or State Military Reserve (SMR). This benefit could be used at California Community Colleges, within the CSU and UC systems, and at other qualifying public and private schools. You must meet the following conditions to be eligible:

The CNG and SMR are glad you’re serving with them, and they want to help you get even more qualified so your value as a team member increases. This is a win-win, because you can choose your civilian career path and get a qualifying education out of it to boot.

College Fee and Tuition Waiver for Disabled, MIA, KIA Veteran Families

California supports its veteran community, and this means supporting the family members of veterans who are KIA, MIA, or totally disabled due to wartime service. Spouses and children get free tuition and fees waived under this benefit at all CSU, UC, and state California Community Colleges.

This program is separate from the federal Chapter 35 program and in most cases cannot be used concurrently with it, with some exceptions being made for children and Medal of Honor recipients.

The degree options and participating schools in this program abound, with 148 participating schools and hundreds of academic programs. Being separate from Chapter 35 gives the additional option to strategically apply that benefit somewhere else.

In-State College Tuition for Active-Duty, Discharged Veterans and Their Families

This benefit applies to all schools in the California Community Colleges system, and schools in the CSU and UC systems; 148 schools in total. Under this program you’ll pay in-state tuition even if you’re not from California. You can qualify through one of the following ways:

This benefit is applicable to both undergraduate and graduate studies, however there’s a two-year limit for active-duty graduate studies and a one-year limit for family member graduate studies.

The schools participating in this benefit have hundreds of undergraduate and graduate programs to choose from, and the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can quickly add up. According to our research on military friendly colleges in California, the average savings for in-state versus out-of-state tuition at public schools works out to over \$9,000 for undergraduate studies and nearly \$8,900 for graduate studies every year.

Possible Station Assignments and Military Bases in California

California’s military bases have played an instrumental role in the development and strength of our Armed Forces. Its home to some of the largest bases from all branches of the military. It’s not uncommon for those in uniform to spend their entire term of service in California, though it’s just as likely that you’re here for training and then moving on.

Whatever your mission is in California and whatever branch you serve in, you’ll experience life at one of the following bases that the state is proud to host. You’ll be glad to know that as a veteran you’re already eligible for some of California’s education benefits the moment you set foot in the state.

Naval Base San Diego

Known popularly as the 32nd Street Naval Station and the home of the Pacific Fleet with 54 ported ships, this base is second in size only to Naval Station Norfolk. 35,000 military, civilians, and contractors come to work every day at Naval Base San Diego, and on-base housing provides a place to stay for 4,500 people.

Historically home to some of the most important watercraft in the Navy’s fleet, this trend continues today as the base hosts Littoral Combat Ships, the Navy’s most advanced and newest fleet. NBSD is a city unto itself, providing things like family services, entertainment, shopping, dining, and even education.

NBSD also hosts satellite campuses from at least three colleges and is in close proximity to at least five additional universities and colleges in the San Diego area. You can find more information on educational opportunities at Naval Base San Diego by contacting its CNRSW Navy Voluntary Education Region Advisor in Building 3280 B103/104 TSC Complex.

Vandenberg Space Force Base

Christened with its Space Force title in 2021, VSFB is situated on nearly 100,000 acres of land that host 16 launch sites which to-date have seen more than 2,000 launches. Historically specializing in ICBMs, it was only natural for this facility to expand its role to include outer space and satellite launches with the advent of the space age.

Systems stationed here have included Atlas, Nike, Titan, Delta IV, and Falcon 9. Today this base’s partners include the DoD, Air Force, United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and other commercial enterprises.

In addition to launching satellites, Vandenberg also hosts three of them. That is, on-base satellite college campuses, and it’s in close proximity to other colleges and universities in the Santa Barbara area. Vandenberg’s Base Education Center has resources for all on and off-base education and is located at 641 Utah Avenue, Building 13640.

Air Force

Space Force




Coast Guard

Joint Bases

Military Friendly Colleges in California that Accept GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon Program Benefits

Of the more-than 2,000 colleges and universities that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, only around 500 provide full funding and place no limits on the number of eligible students who can take advantage of it. These schools ensure that every eligible veteran who enrolls can count on full coverage of all tuition costs that exceed GI Bill® limits.

You’ll be glad to know that a number of those military friendly colleges and universities are located right here in California:

Abraham Lincoln University

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: DEAC

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Legal Studies
  • School of Law

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Acting
  • Advertising
  • Animation & Visual Effects
  • Architecture
  • Art Education
  • Art History
    Communications & Media Technologies
  • Fashion
  • Fine Art
  • Game Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Interaction & UI/UX Design
  • Interior Architecture & Design
  • Jewelry & Metal Arts
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Motion Pictures & Television
  • Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media
  • Photography
  • Visual Development
  • Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media
  • Short-Term Education
  • Pre-College Art Experience
  • Continuing Education
  • Study Abroad
  • Social Media Management Certificate
  • Liberal Arts Education
  • Graduate Education

Antioch University Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: HLC

  • UG Certificate in Web Development

Beverly Hills Design Institute

Beverly Hills, CA

Accreditation: ACICS

  • Department of Fashion Design
  • Department of Pattern Design
  • Department of ESL

Biola University

La Mirada, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Crowell School of Business
  • Rosemead School of Psychology
  • School of Cinema and Media Arts
  • School of Education
  • School of Fine Arts and Communication
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • School of Science Technology and Health
  • Talbot School of Theology

California Aeronautical University Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA

Accreditation: ACICS

School of Graduate Studies

  • Master of Business Administration


  • Master of Aviation Science

California College Of The Arts

Oakland / San Francisco, CA

Accreditation: WASC

Undergraduate Degrees

  • Architecture
  • Design


  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities and Sciences

Graduate Degrees

  • Comics
  • Curatorial Practice
  • Design
  • Design Strategy
  • Film
  • Fine Arts


  • Interaction Design
  • Advanced Architectural Design
  • Master of Architecture
  • Visual and Critical Studies
  • Writing

California Institute of Arts And Technology

National City / San Diego, CA

Accreditation: ACCET

  • Software Development
  • Networking

California Lutheran University

Thousand Oaks, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Management
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School of Psychology
  • School for Professional and Continuing Studies
  • Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

California Western School of Law

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

School of Law

Chamberlain University

Rancho Cordova, CA

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of Nursing
  • College of Health Professions

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Wilkinson College of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Argyros School of Business & Economics
  • School of Communication
  • Attallah College of Educational Studies
  • Fowler School of Engineering
  • Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
  • Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
  • Fowler School of Law
  • College of Performing Arts
  • School of Pharmacy
  • Schmid College of Science & Technology

Charter College

Oxnard, CA

Accreditation: ACICS


  • Dental assisting certificate
  • Medical assistant certificate


  • Veterinary assistant


  • Business Office Administration
  • Certificate Business Administration
  • A.A.S. Business Management
  • A.A.S. Business Administration
  • B.S. Certificate in Health Unit Coordinator Medical Office Administrative Assistant
  • Certificate Allied Health
  • A.A.S. Medical Billing and Coding


  • A.A.S. Medical Billing and Coding
  • A.A.S. Health Care Administration
  • B.S. Computer Networking Systems
  • A.A.S. Cybersecurity
  • A.A.S. Computer Information Systems
  • B.S. Computer Aided Design
  • Applied Technology

Columbia College

Alameda / Los Alamitos / Nas Lemoore / San Diego / San Louis Obispo, CA

Accreditation: HLC

  • Business Administration
  • Computer & Mathematical Sciences
  • Education
  • History, Philosophy, Political Science & Criminal Justice
  • Language & Communication Studies
  • Nursing
  • Physical and Biological Sciences
  • Psychology, Sociology & Human Services
  • Visual Arts & Music

Concorde Career College

Garden Grove / North Hollywood / San Bernardino / San Diego, CA

Accreditation: ACCSC

Diagnostic Programs

  • Cardiovascular Sonography
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Polysomnographic Technology

Dental Programs

  • Dental Assistant

Nursing Programs

  • Practical Nursing

Allied Health Programs

  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Office Administration

Patient Care Programs

  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Surgical Technology

Concordia University Irvine

Irvine, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Christ College
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business and Economics
  • School of Education
  • School of Health & Human Sciences
  • Townsend Institute

Culinary Institute of America

St. Helena, CA

Accreditation: MSCHE

  • Culinary Arts
  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Hospitality Management
  • Food Business
  • Wine and Beverage Management
  • Food Studies and Sustainability
  • Culinary Science

Devry University

Bakersfield / Anaheim / Irvine / Palmdale / Oxnard / Colton / Sherman Oaks / Sacramento / Long Beach / Fremont / Oakland / Pomona / San Diego / San Jose, CA

Accreditation: HLC

Associate Degrees

  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • IT and Networking
  • Network Systems Administration
  • Business
  • Healthcare

Bachelor's Degrees

  • Business
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Accounting
  • Liberal Arts
  • Media Arts

Undergrad Certificates

  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Business Essentials
  • Cloud Computing
  • IoT
  • Technology
  • Media Arts

Master's Degrees

  • MBA
  • Accounting
  • Project Management
  • Technology
  • Business
  • Healthcare
  • Public Administration
  • Human Resource Management

Graduate Certificates

  • Human Resources Management
  • Project Management
  • Healthcare
  • CPA Preparation
  • Big Data and Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global Supply Chain Management

Dominican University of California

San Rafael, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • School of Liberal Arts and Education
  • Barowsky School of Business
  • School of Health and Natural Sciences

InterCoast Colleges

Burbank / Carson / Elk Grove / Riverside / Santa Ana / West Covina, CA

Accreditation: ACCET

  • AAS Substance Use Disorder
  • AAS Degree Business Administration
  • AAS Degree Cyber Security
  • Mental health/counseling
  • Medical
  • Trade programs
  • Business

Laurus College

San Luis Obispo, CA

Accreditation: ACICS

  • Audio video production
  • Business systems
  • Digital arts and computer animation
  • IT systems management
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Web design and development

Life Chiropractic College West

Hayward, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Basic Sciences
  • Clinical Sciences
  • Technique/Analysis
  • Philosophy/Principles

Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art

Van Nuys, CA

Accreditation: NASADCA

  • BFA Fine Art Degree
  • Fine Art Certificate
  • BFA Entertainment Art Degree
  • Entertainment Art Certificate
  • Intensive Training Tracks

Mayfield College

Cathedral City, CA

Accreditation: COE

  • Computer support technician
  • HVAC/R
  • Medical assisting
  • Medical front office

Menio College

Atherton, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Real Estate
  • Sports Management

Mount St. Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: WASC

Weekend Evening Online College:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Business Administration
  • Criminology
  • English
  • English and Business Administration
  • Film and Media


  • Liberal Arts
  • Pre-Health Science
  • Professional Photography
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

Musicians Institute

Hollywood, CA

Accreditation: NASM

  • Music performance
  • Music production and recording
  • Music industry

National University

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Teaching and education
  • Business and marketing
  • Healthcare and nursing
  • Social sciences and psychology
  • Engineering and technology
  • Arts and humanities
  • Criminal justice and law
  • Science and math

New York Film Academy

Burbank / Universal City, CA

Accreditation: NASAD

  • Film school
  • Acting school
  • Visual arts school
  • Performing arts school
  • Virtual reality
  • Online workshops
  • Teens and kids camps and workshops
  • Study abroad
  • ESL

Newschool of Architecture and Design

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • School of Architecture and Construction Management
  • School of Design

Northeastern University

San Jose, CA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • College of Arts Media and Design
  • Bouvé College of Health Sciences
  • D’Amore-McKim School of Business
  • Combined Majors
  • Khoury College of Computer Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Science
  • College of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Northeastern Explore Program for undeclared students

Occidental College

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • American studies
  • art and art history
  • biochemistry
  • biology
  • black studies
  • chemistry
  • Chinese studies
  • classical studies
  • cognitive science
  • comparative studies in literature and culture
  • computer science
  • critical theory and social justice
  • diplomacy and world affairs
  • East Asian studies
  • economics
  • education
  • English
  • environmental science
  • food studies
  • French studies
  • gender women and sexuality studies
  • geology
  • German studies
  • group language
  • history
  • interdisciplinary writing
  • Japanese studies
  • kinesiology
  • Latino/a and Latin American studies
  • linguistics
  • marine biology
  • mathematics
  • media arts and culture
  • music
  • neuroscience
  • philosophy
  • physics
  • politics
  • psychology
  • public health
  • religious studies
  • Russian studies
  • sociology
  • Spanish studies
  • theatre and performance studies
  • urban and environmental policy
  • writing and rhetoric

Otis College Of Art And Design

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: WASC


  • Communication arts
  • Digital media
  • Environmental design
  • Fashion design


  • Fine arts
  • Product design
  • Toy design


  • Fine arts
  • Graphic Design


  • Writing curriculum

Pacific Oaks College

Pasadena, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Human Development
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Business and Management
  • Teacher Credentialing and Education Degree Programs

Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Psychology
  • Business

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Business Administration
  • Communication
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities and Teacher Education
  • International Studies and Languages
  • Natural Science
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Social Science

Platt College

Anaheim, CA

Accreditation: ACCSC

  • School of medicine
  • School of graphic design
  • School of business and legal studies
  • School of information technology
  • Non-degree
  • Distance education

Professional Golfers Career College

Temecula, CA

Accreditation: ACCET

Professional Golf Management

San Francisco Film School

San Francisco, CA

Accreditation: COE

Digital filmmaking

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA

Accreditation: WASC


Sofia University

Palo Alto / Costa Mesa, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Psychology
  • Business

Southern California Seminary

El Cajon, CA

Accreditation: TACCS

  • The College at SCS
  • Graduate Bible and Theology
  • Graduate Behavioral Sciences

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Accreditation: WASC

Law School

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Los Angeles / San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Psychology
  • Industrial and organizational psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • ABA
  • Marriage couples and family therapy
  • Business psychology
  • Organizational leadership

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

Law School

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Edith Neumann School of Health and Human Services
  • General studies
  • School of business
  • School of psychology

Trident International University

Cypress, CA

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of Education
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Glenn R. Jones College of Business
  • Department of Information Systems

Umass Global University

Fairfield / Irvine / Salida / Monterey / Nas Lemoore / Hanford / Visalia / Ontario / Palmdale / Palm Desert / Moreno Valley / Yuba City / Roseville / Folsom / San Diego / Santa Maria / Travis AFB / Victorville / Visalia /Walnut Creek, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Business & Professional Studies
  • Education
  • Nursing & Health Professions
  • Extended Education

United States University

Chula Vista, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Business and technology
  • Education
  • Nursing and health sciences

University of Arizona Global Campus

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Information Technology
  • Liberal Arts
  • Social & Behavioral Science
  • Forbes School of Business & Technology
  • Arts and Sciences

University of California Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
  • The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
  • Technology Management Program

University of Maryland Global Campus

San Diego, CA

Accreditation: MSCHE

  • Business & Management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Analytics
  • Education & Teaching
  • Healthcare & Science
  • IT & Computer Science
  • Liberal Arts & Communication
  • Public Safety

University of Phoenix

Sacramento / San Diego / San Jose / Costa Mesa, CA

Accreditation: HLC

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Liberal Arts
  • Technology
  • RN to BSN
  • MBA
  • Health Administration
    Information Systems
  • Criminal Justice and Security
  • Business Fundamentals

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences
  • USC Leventhal School of Accounting
  • USC School of Architecture
  • USC Roski School of Art and Design
  • USC Iovine and Young Academy
  • USC Marshall School of Business
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
  • Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
  • USC School of Dramatic Arts
  • USC Rossier School of Education
  • USC Viterbi School of Engineering
  • USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • USC Gould School of Law
  • Keck School of Medicine of USC
  • USC Thornton School of Music
  • USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
  • USC School of Pharmacy
  • Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
  • USC Bovard College
  • USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

University of the Pacific

Stockton, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Benerd College
  • College of the Pacific
  • Conservatory of Music
  • Eberhardt School of Business
  • McGeorge School of Law
  • School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • School of Health Sciences
  • Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy

Webster University

Irvine / El Segundo, CA

Accreditation: HLC


  • Biology
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • International Relations
  • Mathematics


  • Management
  • Media Communications
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology


  • Advertising and Marketing Communications
  • Counseling
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Analytics
  • Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Health Administration


  • Human Resources Development
  • National Security Studies
  • Management & Leadership
  • Marketing
  • MBA
  • Media Communications
  • Nurse Anesthesia Practice
  • Procurement and Acquisitions Management

Westcliff University

Irvine, CA

Accreditation: WASC

  • College of business
  • College of technology and engineering
  • College of education
  • College of law