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

massachusetts stateMassachusetts has a history steeped in military tradition, even predating America’s big wars in recent generations. This is a place that’s been on the front lines of defending the American way of life going all the way back to the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 at the onset of the American War of Independence. As home to the men who led an eight-year campaign against colonial rule, the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and countless other engagements, the Massachusetts colony was at the heart of revolutionary fervor. Today, the armed services have a marked presence in the Bay State, from Cape Cod to Springfield.

From Boston and Worcester, that military presence is matched only by the sheer number of colleges throughout the state. Boston alone is home to 35 of the state’s 114 universities.

With a strong collegiate presence and tradition of doing the right thing for military affiliated students, it’s no surprise that there are so many military friendly colleges and universities here that make it their business to ensure a top quality college education is accessible to veterans, active-duty service members and their families.

Receiving Benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) offers a generous financial assistance program to veterans meeting certain income qualifications. Through the state’s Chapter 115 Benefits/Safety Net Program, veterans can submit a VS 1 Document to a Veteran Service Officer (each town or city has one) and receive help for things like daily living expenses, medical costs, housing and homelessness prevention, childcare and support.

And when it comes to education benefits, the MA DVS supports the work of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, which offers special financial assistance programs especially for military veterans, service members and National Guard members in the state.

Of course, between the GI Bill®, the Yellow Ribbon Program and other federal VA benefits, any eligible veteran who meets the criteria for full coverage can look forward to a tuition-free college education. But veterans and military families who don’t qualify at the 100% percent level could still use some help in offsetting costs. That’s where the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) steps in

The MA Department of Higher Ed makes the following financial assistance programs available to veterans and military affiliated families:

How to Qualify for Massachusetts’ Categorical Tuition Waivers for Vets & Active Duty Members

If you’re a permanent, legal resident in the state, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education offers a tuition waver to all veterans and active duty service members enrolled in University of Massachusetts programs, state colleges (Framingham State, Fitchburg State, etc.), or community colleges. You can apply the tuition waiver to an undergraduate degree program or certificate program. Here’s what you can do to enroll:

If you want more information about how to use the tuition waiver at your school, contact the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617) 391-6070.

There are some other criteria you’ll have to meet when qualifying for the tuition waiver:

The Veterans Workforce Investment Program

College may not be for you. Thankfully, the state of Massachusetts understands that.

The Veterans Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) is a grant awarded to the Department of Workforce Development and the Division of Career Services. Veterans enrolled in a short-term training program can receive anywhere between $1,200 and $5,000 to help pay their tuition.

By “short-term” training program, the state is referring to any program that’s less than 48 weeks long. So, we’re talking about a program that takes less than a year to complete. It may not seem like much, but that definition covers a wide variety of programs across MA:

There’s options out there. If you don’t end up going to a college after completing your service, consider taking advantage of this grant.

Using the Public Service Grant

The Public Service Grant applies to children of veterans “whose service was credited to the [Commonwealth of MA] and who were killed in action or otherwise died as a result of such service.” To be eligible for the Public Service Grant, you must meet the following criteria:

In addition, as the child of a deceased veteran, you must prove that your parent died in service to the Commonwealth. The DD214 Form satisfies this requirement, which can be obtained from a local Veterans Administration Office. To prove that the veteran’s death was connected to service, the form can also be obtained from the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Boston, MA.

If you meet all of the criteria listed above, you can apply for the Public Service Grant by filling out this form, and submitting it to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. For more information, call the office at (617) 391-6070.

Tuition Waiver for Army National Guard Members

In addition to the tuition waiver for vets and active service members, Massachusetts offers an education assistance program for those in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. If you attend a state college, university, or community college, the state waives all tuition and fees associated with your education.

To receive the waiver, you can submit a Certificate of Eligibility. Designated “TAGMA Form 621-3,” you submit this form to the Massachusetts National Guard Education Office for every 30 credits you take at a qualifying school.

One thing to keep in mind: You can tap into the Massachusetts National Guard Education Assistance Program for up to 130 semester hours. After that, you’ll have to pay whatever tuition and fees the program covered at your school. 

Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund

The Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund (MSLF) is a charitable trust based in Marlborough, MA. It’s a private organization that doesn’t fall under the administration of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education or the MA Department of Veterans’ Services.

The MSLF provides education assistance grants to children of veterans killed in action while supporting military operations after 9/11. If the parent’s death was credited to the Commonwealth of MA, the child qualifies for funding.

The children of fallen MA veterans can use the funds from MSLF to attend any university throughout the country. Students currently benefiting from the program are attending schools such as Stonehill College, the University of Texas

Possible Station Assignments and Military Bases in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a small state, geographically speaking. Culturally, it has a lot to offer. Anyone who grew up here knows there’s a vast difference between Boston and Amherst; Lowell and Bridgewater. Each branch of the service has at least one station at each corner of the state.

Although you may want to have a duty assignment in the Bay State, you could be shipped anywhere in the world. The U.S. has around 750 military bases in foreign nations. That doesn’t count all of the embassies scattered across the globe.

Air Force

One of the more popular military installations in the state, Hanscom Air Force Base serves both civilian and military needs. Bedford’s close to the I-495 and I-93 corridors, providing access to some of the top technology and biopharmaceutical companies in the nation. So, the Hanscom field is a top choice for executives, researchers, and scientists traveling to and from the state.

Speaking of the sciences, Hanscom’s military operations focus more on research and electronics: It doesn’t serve as a base for the Air Force’s flight operations.

Given its proximity to Massachusetts’ major highways, it’s easy to get from Hansom to Boston. And there’s more to explore in that city than its place in Revolutionary history. The city’s strong university presence makes it a vibrant, youthful city brimming with entertainment.

Across the other end of the state is the Westover Air Reserve Base (ARB), the largest ARB in the U.S. Located south east of the Quabbin Reservoir, Westover ARB serves a key role in the Air Force’s flight operations. The base serves as an inspection center for the nation’s fleet of C-5Ms, and manages more than 21,000 military and civilian aircraft landings and departures every year.

What’s around Westover? This is a side of MA that feels more like Vermont or New Hampshire. Instead of tight streets dotted with triple-decker apartments, you’ll find the Berkshires to the west. It’s a dream for any airman who likes to hunt, fish, hike, swim, or ski.


Nestled in one of the rural areas of central MA, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Devens is an Army reserve installation. The base prides itself on being the “installation of choice” for the Army’s regional training requirements. It also serves the operational, logistical, and training needs of local, state, and federal agencies whenever possible. Sprawling across 4,800 acres, more 130,000 service members and civilian personnel call Fort Devens their post location.

Fort Devens sprawls across Harvard, Ayer, and Shirley – all of which are affectionately known as “bedroom towns” among locals. So, it’s a great area to live you have a family. The public schools in the area are some of the best in the country, and Worcester’s just a half hour away if you’re up for a night out.

This is probably one of the most unique bases in the United States, if not the East Coast. Comprised of 22,000 acres, Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) serves five military commands, broken down as follows:

  • Massachusetts Army National Guard at Camp Edwards
  • Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis Air National Guard Base
  • 253rd Combat Communications Group at Otis Air National Guard Base
  • 6th Space Warning Squadron at Cape Cod Air Force Station
  • U.S. Coast Guard at Air Station Cape Cod

Of the 22,000 acres, the Army National Guard arguably has the largest presence. There, soldiers train in bivouacking, camping, and small arms exercises.

There’s a lot to do in the Cape besides swimming during the summer. You can charter a boat to go deep-sea fishing and explore several of the area’s wildlife refuges. If you want a weekend of fun, Provincetown is known for hosting a good time.

Military Friendly Colleges in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts:

Amherst College

Amherst, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • American Studies
  • Anthropology & Sociology
  • Architectural Studies
  • Art & the History of Art
  • Asian Languages & Civilizations
  • Biochemistry & Biophysics
  • Biology
  • Black Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Education Studies
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • European Studies
  • Film & Media Studies
  • French
  • Geology
  • German
  • History
  • Latinx and Latin American Studies
  • Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Russian
  • Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies
  • Spanish
  • Theater & Dance

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

Boston, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Automotive Management – BS
  • Automotive Technology – Certificate/AS
  • CAD Drafting – Certificate
  • CNC Machining – Certificate/AS Pathway
  • Computer Information Technology – AS
  • Construction Management – AS
  • Cybersecurity – Certificate
  • Electrical Engineering – BS
  • Electronics Technology – Certificate
  • Engineering Technology – AS
  • General Education Health Information Technology – AS/BS
  • HVAC&R Technology – Certificate
  • Network and Systems Support – Certificate/AS Pathway
  • Opticianry – AS
  • Practical Electricity – Certificate
  • Software Development – Certificate/AS Pathway
  • Web Design Multimedia – Certificate/AS Pathway

Cambridge College

Boston, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • School of Undergraduate Studies
  • School of Education
  • School of Management
  • School of Psychology & Counseling
  • Center for Professional & Executive Development
  • Business Development

Eastern Nazarene College

Quincy, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Professional Studies
  • Science & Technology
  • Church Society & Humanity
  • Division of Adult and Graduate Studies

Emerson College

Boston, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • arts
  • business
  • comedy
  • communication
  • education
  • film
  • healthcare
  • marketing
  • media
  • politics
  • publishing
  • sports
  • technology
  • theatre
  • writing

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Education
  • Divinity (grad)
  • Design
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Extension (all)

Massachusetts Bay Community College

Wellesley Hills, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • automotive technology
  • business
  • education and human services
  • early childhood education
  • health sciences
  • humanities and social sciences
  • legal studies
  • STEM

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • School of Science
  • Schwarzman College of Computing
  • School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences
  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • Sloan School of Management
  • School of Engineering

MCPHS University

Worcester / Boston, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Acupuncture
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Healthcare Business
  • Medical Imaging and Therapeutics
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant Studies
  • Professional Studies

New England Law Boston

Boston, MA

Accreditation: ABA

  • JD
  • LLM

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

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
  • School of Law (undergrad-grad-doctoral)


  • College of Arts Media and Design
  • Bouvé College of Health Sciences
  • D’Amore-McKim School of Business
  • Khoury College of Computer Sciences


  • College of Engineering
  • College of Science
  • College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Salem State University

Salem, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Maguire Meservey College of Health and Human Services
  • Bertolon School of Business
  • School of Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Robert and Donna Manning College of Information & Computer Sciences
  • College of Natural Sciences
  • Elaine Marieb College of Nursing
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Commonwealth Honors College
  • Isenberg School of Management
  • School of Public Health and Health Sciences
  • Stockbridge School of Agriculture
  • Graduate School

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

North Dartmouth, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Charlton College of Business
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Nursing & Health Sciences
  • College of Visual & Performing Arts
  • Honors College
  • Online & Continuing Education
  • UMass Law
  • School for Marine Science & Technology

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Lowell, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • School of Education
  • College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Francis College of Engineering
  • Kennedy College of Sciences
  • Manning School of Business
  • Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • School of Business, Mathematics, Computing, and Sustainability
  • School of Criminology, Psychology, Social Justice, and Public Policy
  • School of Education, Arts, Communication, and Humanities
  • School of Health, Natural Sciences, and Human Services

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Accreditation: NECHE

  • Africana Studies
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology & Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Arabic Studies
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Art Studio
  • Asian Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
  • Asian Studies
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics, Genomics, & Proteomics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Classics
  • Greek
  • Cognitive Science
  • Comparative Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Contract Major
  • Dance
  • Difference, Power, & Equity (DPE)
  • East Asian Languages & Cultures
  • Economics
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • Experiential Education
  • Film & Media Studies
  • French
  • Geosciences

  • Global Studies
  • Greek
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jewish Studies
  • Justice & Law Studies
  • Latin
  • Latina/o Studies
  • Leadership Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Maritime Studies
  • Materials Science Studies
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Political Economy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Quantitative/Formal Reasoning (QFR)
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages
  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Self-Instructional Languages
  • American Sign Language
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Swahili
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Spanish
  • Theatre
  • Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University
  • Williams-Mystic: The Ocean and Coastal Studies
  • Semester of Williams College and Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Williams Program in Teaching
  • Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Writing Skills (WS)