For disabled veterans, transitioning to civilian life can be a difficult process. Thanks to the benefits afforded by your the GI Bill®, a college education is a common part of that process. However, traditional, on-campus programs can sometimes be less than ideal for veterans, especially those managing disabilities. College can entail travel, relocation, a difficult cultural adjustment, and a strain on familial obligations.
Fortunately, online college provides flexible solutions, especially for veterans with disabilities. Below, we highlight some of the key resources and accommodations that disabled veterans can use to make the online college experience the best it can be.
If you’re looking for information that you don’t see here, or you need a more comprehensive set of resources focused on military and veteran students, check out our Military Education Headquarters. There you will find guidance on subjects such as picking out the right college for you and your family, transitioning to civilian life, using your GI Bill benefits, and accessing support groups and resources.
Advocacy groups and support resources are available for students with all types of disabilities, both general and specific. To learn more, check out Learning Accommodation Resources and Advocacy Groups
And for more on how disability legislation can impact your student experience, check out Key Legislation Impacting Students with Disabilities.
Both within and beyond universities, a wide variety of resources and support services exist for Disabled veteran students. If you are a Disabled veteran, you’ve earned the right to take advantage of these programs and resources:
Education Support Resources
The military recognizes that a large number of veterans will seek a college or professional education following discharge. In fact, the GI Bill is designed to both encourage this goal and help make it possible. Click here to learn more about the GI Bill and how it can help you obtain your educational goals.
Otherwise, read on to take a look at a few groups devoted to connecting veterans and active service members with educational resources:
- The American Legion
- The Army Continuing Education System
- Coast Guard Education & Training
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
- The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)
- Go Army Ed
- Navy College Program
- Naval Education and Training Command
- VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship
- Voluntary Education
Mental Health Support
Mental health issues are an oft-overlooked and all-too-common reality for many discharged veterans. Fortunately, most schools provide free counseling and therapy services and other mental health resources for students. Some military-friendly colleges may even have counselors who focus on issues specific to veterans, including coping with combat injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you need immediate support, contact your school’s counseling office.
You can also consider looking beyond your college or community for nationwide support networks:
- After Deployment
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Give an Hour
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Center for PTSD
- Treatment Advocacy Center
- VA Campus Toolkit
Military Resources & Benefits
As a veteran, your service entitles you to certain post-military benefits. Though individual needs and situations can vary widely, there are numerous groups, agencies, organizations, and initiatives that can help you along the path to your dream:
- Army Emergency Relief
- Helping a Hero
- Military and Family Support Center
- Military OneSource (MOS)
- National Resource Directory
- National Veterans Foundation
- Student Veterans of America
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
Though the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was repealed in 2011, homophobia and prejudice still persist in the military. Active duty service members and veterans who are part of the LGBTQ community may experience unique anxieties and traumas related both to service and discrimination. Post-military life may offer the opportunity to access a more supportive and open community. If you are an LGBTQ veteran, consider reaching out to your school’s LGBTQ student groups, which exist to provide community, support, resources, and advocacy.
There are also nationwide communities and networks designed to support you:
Physical Disability, Chronic Condition, and Impairment Support
Whether you plan to take online classes or attend a traditional college, physical disabilities and chronic conditions can creating barriers to your educational access and completion. Below are a few groups and resources designed to help you overcome these conditions as you pursue your degree or certification:.
- American Association on Health and Disability
- Blinded Veterans Association
- Disabled American Veterans
- Mobility International USA
- New Mobility
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Semper Fi Fund
- Wounded Warrior Project
Student Veterans Groups
Many schools house students veterans groups, in which student veterans can meet, communicate, and share experiences, both as veterans and as students. This can be a great way to enrich your experience as an online student, providing a sense of community and support beyond the virtual classroom. Contact your school advisor and find out if any such groups are active in your college or university.
Student Veterans Resources Office
Many schools offer Veterans Services or Veterans Affairs offices. Counselors in your veterans affairs office will help you navigate the GI Bill process, explore the full range of your benefits, apply for pertinent scholarships, and connect with resources that can help you manage your disability or any other service-related challenges.
The Best Online Colleges for Military Personnel & Families
For Disabled military service members, veterans, and their families, online college is a valuable alternative to traditional on-campus education, one that allows for greater access and usability regardless of your disability.
The best accredited online colleges also offer military service personnel, veterans, and their families a model with flexibility and convenience to accommodate the needs unique to military personnel. Whether you are an active-duty service person looking for a way to balance service and education, a reservist who must always be prepared for deployment, or a veteran balancing education with family, work, and home life, learn more about The Best Online Colleges for Military Personnel and Families to get some ideas.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/index.asp