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

wisconsin state

The state flag of Wisconsin bares a coat of arms, at the center of which is a shield representing defense. Defense has been at the heart of Wisconsin’s identity ever since it was founded, and it’s a value that’s been borne out generation after generation by state residents who have served in the armed forces.

7% of Wisconsin’s population are veterans, and of those 73% are combat veterans. Over a third of the state’s veterans took part in the Vietnam War, and over a quarter were involved in the Gulf War.

If you’re among the 413,723 veterans who call Wisconsin home, then it’s important to familiarize yourself with the benefits you’ve earned through your service – benefits that are yours to use or transfer to eligible family members. Education benefits are among the most generous of all those, and they serve as your ticket to a secure future and stable career prospects.

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Military Education Benefits

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) is here to serve you. It’s led by a secretary who’s appointed by the governor in consultation with a minimum of six Wisconsin veterans organizations. Its deputy division administrator of veterans benefits is a veteran himself with 17 years of service experience.

The WDVA can help you decipher the eligibility and application processes for federal benefits like the GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon Program. For any Wisconsin school to be eligible to admit you on GI Bill® benefits, it must first be approved by the WDVA.

The WDVA is also a natural resource when it comes to navigating these military education benefits offered by Wisconsin at the state level:

Wisconsin GI Bill and Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant

These two programs are public and private versions of each other with the same goal: to help you achieve your educational aspirations by paying for your tuition and fees.

Eligibility for both programs has a residency and military service component.

For residency, to qualify you need to have been a Wisconsin resident at the time you signed up for active-duty service or be a veteran who’s lived in Wisconsin for the last five consecutive years.

For military service, you must have completed your service under honorable conditions and meet one of the following:

Together these programs cover the greater of either eight semesters or 128 semester credits. You can use either program to cover the full eight semesters or 128 credits, or you can combine them to equal this coverage. But you can’t combine the programs to exceed 128 credits or eight semesters of coverage.

Your spouse or child can also use these benefits if they meet the same residency requirements in the event you are KIA or at least 30% disabled due to a service-related injury.

Wisconsin GI Bill® – Public

Separate from the federal GI Bill®, Wisconsin’s GI Bill® is a state benefit that waives all tuition and fees. It can be applied at schools in the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical College system.

The potential savings provided by this program are huge, potentially $35,640 for an eight-semester bachelor’s degree. This figure is according to our research for military friendly colleges in Wisconsin, based on the cost of an eight-semester bachelor’s degree from a school in the University of Wisconsin system.

Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant – Private

This state grant covers the lesser of either $2,000 or 50% of tuition each semester, and applies to private schools that are members of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU). But that’s just half of this benefit’s advantage.

The other half is that WAICU school members, currently 23 college and universities, agree to fully match the state grant, covering another $2,000 or 50% of tuition. For you this works out to the lesser of either 100% tuition or $4,000 per semester.

For an eight-semester undergraduate degree this benefit means either a full-ride or an extra $32,000 towards your education.

Vet Ed Reimbursement Grant

You can apply for this benefit through the WDVA. You’ll need to use up you federal GI Bill® benefits before funding under this program can kick in, and the amount you receive through a reimbursement grant will also be reduced if you’re receiving other scholarships or benefits.

The maximum amount of tuition this program covers depends on how many days you’ve served on active duty:

This program is income-based. If your annual income is more than $50,000 then you’re ineligible. Likewise, if you already have a bachelor’s degree.

For your education to be eligible for reimbursement it must contribute towards you earning a degree or certificate, and you’ll need to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. You’ll receive reduced credit if you don’t take advantage of this benefit within 10 years after you’re discharged.

If you’re from Wisconsin and you’ve served in the military, your education benefits almost make it more difficult not to earn a degree. This benefit is additionally useful in that it’s not confined to certain public schools or to WAICU private schools

Academic Credit for Military Experience

Say you’ve studied geometry to triangulate enemy signal intercepts, biology as part of your medic duties, or geology to better understand submarine navigation and communication. In Wisconsin you may be eligible to receive academic credit for experience gained in the Armed Forces.

Wisconsin has directed its public and private schools to scrutinize your military record for any possible equivalencies that can translate into earned academic credit. This is done through several programs which the WDVA can help you through:

Possible Station Assignments and Military Bases in Wisconsin

As a service member in any branch of the Armed Forces there’s a chance you’ll come through Wisconsin for training at Fort McCoy, a large facility with a multi-branch training mandate. You may also be involved in training with one of Wisconsin’s Air or Army National Guard units. Wisconsin is home to the following facilities:


Fort McCoy is a total force training center that’s vital for maintaining readiness across all branches of the military. In the mid-1980s it saw over 100,000 troops cycling through annually. During the War on Terror 140,00 troops were trained here, and in the seven months leading up to April 2021 the Navy trained 30,000 of its sailors here.

There are two universities and one technical college located within 40 miles of the fort in LaCrosse. On-base you can find information about additional schools and entrance exam requirements at the Fort McCoy Education and Learning Center located at 1765 South F Street, Building 50.

Air National Guard

Sharing space with the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, this facility’s host unit is the 128th Air Refueling Wing which operates KC-135 stratotankers to ensure the air force has a global reach. Recent operations have supported the global War on Terror. Recent deployments have been as far afield as Nicaragua, Kosovo, Haiti, Qatar, and more.

Home of the 128th Air Control Squadron, Volk Field is the only ANG combat readiness training center in the nation that doesn’t share its airfield with a civilian airport. Here airmen and women learn about elements like airspace, equipment, and facilities.

Army National Guard

This base is home to the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, itself a descendant of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division. Most recently this unit was deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of the state’s largest Guard deployment since World War Two.

Military Friendly Colleges in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin:

Alverno College

Milwaukee, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Health Care
  • STEM
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Education
  • Business and Communication
  • Humanities
  • Arts

Beloit College

Beloit, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • African Studies
  • Ancient Mediterranean Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Asian Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business and Economics
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Cognitive Science
  • Comparative Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Critical Identity Studies
  • Dance and Theatre
  • Data Science & Data Analytics
  • Economics and Business
  • Education and Youth Studies
  • Engineering Program
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • European Studies
  • French Language and Culture
  • Geology
  • Greek and Latin Studies
  • Health and Society
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • International Relations
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • Journalism
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Law and Justice
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Museum Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics Engineering and Astronomy
  • Engineering Physics
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish Language and Culture
  • Theatre and Dance
  • Pre-professional Tracks
    • Engineering Programs
    • Health Professions Advising
    • Pre-Law Preparation Advising

Bryant and Stratton College

Milwaukee / Wauwatosa, WI

Accreditation: MSCHE

  • Legal services
  • Design
  • Healthcare
  • Technology
  • Education

Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of Business and Management
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education and Leadership
  • College of Nursing

Carroll University

Waukesha, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Health Sciences
  • School of Business and Technology
  • School of Education and Human Services

Concordia University Wisconsin

Mequon, WI

Accreditation: HLC


  • Architecture
  • Art and music
  • Business
  • Church
  • Civics and public life
  • Construction and trades
  • Culture and society
  • Data and analytics
  • Economics
  • Education and teaching
  • Entertainment and media
  • Global issues
  • Healthcare
  • History
  • Innovation
  • Language
  • Law


  • Leadership
  • Literature
  • Math
  • Mental health
  • Ministry
  • Nature and environment
  • Philosophy
  • Safety and security
  • Science
  • Software
  • Sports and exercise
  • Technology
  • Teens
  • Theology
  • Writing
  • Youth and kids


  • School of Education
  • School of Business Administration


  • School of Nursing

Edgewood College

Madison, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Arts and Communications
  • Business Marketing and Management
  • Education
  • Government and Public Administration
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Lakeland University

Sheboygan, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Schilcutt School of Business, Science & Technology
  • School of Humanities & Fine Arts
  • Kellett School of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies

Lawrence University

Appleton, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Conservatory of Music

Marian University

Fond Du Lac, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Liberal Arts
  • Math & Science
  • Nursing Human Services & Healthcare

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Milwaukee, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Rader School of Business
  • Civil Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Science 
  • Humanities
  • Social Science and Communication
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • School of Nursing
  • Physics and Chemistry

Nashotah House Theological Seminary

Nashotah, WI

Accreditation: CAATS

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Sacred Theology
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Master of Pastoral Ministry
  • Master of Ministry
  • Certificate in Anglican Studies

Northland College

Ashland, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Climate Change Studies
  • Climate Science
  • Directed Studies
  • Ecological Restoration
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology
  • Forestry
  • Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Geology
  • Graphic Design
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Humanity and Nature Studies
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Music
  • Native American Studies
  • Natural Resources
  • Outdoor Education
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Pre-Health Care
  • Pre-Law
  • Pre-Ministry
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology and Social Justice
  • Spanish
  • Sports Management
  • Studio Art
  • Sustainable Community Development
  • Sustainable Business
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Water Science
  • Writing

Purdue University Global

Milwaukee, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Aviation
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Fire Science
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Legal Studies
  • Nursing
  • Professional Studies
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy

University of Wisconsin

Eau Claire, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • College of arts and sciences
  • College of business
  • College of education and human sciences
  • College of nursing and health sciences

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Milwaukee, WI

Accreditation: HLC

  • Accounting
  • Anthropology
  • Art and Graphic Design
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communication – Business Communication
  • Communication – Communication Studies
  • Communication – Media and Journalism Studies
  • Communication – Public Relations
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Education
  • English – Literary Studies
  • English – Writing
  • Environmental Science
  • Finance
  • History
  • Human Social Services
  • Interdisciplinary (Self-Designed)
  • Management
  • Marine Biology
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Politics and Law – Politics and Government
  • Politics and Law – Pre-Law
  • Psychology
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Spanish
  • Sport and Exercise Science
  • Sport Management
  • Theatre
  • Theology