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Online Social Work Programs for Active Military and Veterans

We Welcome Active Military and Veterans

Best for Vets College

Yellow Ribbon School

Since 2009, the University of Kentucky has been recognized by Military Times as a Best for Vets school among public universities in the state. We’re aware of the unique challenges service members and veterans face, and it’s our mission to provide you with exceptional service and accessibility.

  • Maximize military benefits to minimize out-of-pocket expense
  • Get connected to the right resources to ensure success
  • Discover additional ways to save time and money earning your degree

Our online social work programs are the ones service members need to take the next step in their social work career. Service members who have experienced first-hand how beneficial counseling and support can be are eager to continue this core value of service and be the mental health and wellness resource people deserve.

Military Friendly School, 2023-2024 Silver

Military Times

Since 2009, the University of Kentucky has been recognized by Military Times as a Best for Vets school among public universities in the state.

2023-2024 Silver Level Military Friendly® School Recognition

The Military Friendly Schools survey is the longest-running most comprehensive review of college and university investments in serving military and veteran students. Award-level schools have gone above and beyond the standard, showing true commitment and dedication in their efforts to support military students.

GI Bill®

Tuition Assistance

Our military support teams can help you determine eligibility and use the variety of programs available to make your out-of-pocket costs as low as possible.

Government-Based Education Assistance

As an active-duty, guard, or reserve service member, a veteran, or their spouse or dependents, you can use a variety of GI Bills to help fund education costs.

You can compare benefits easily by using the GI Bill Comparison Tool and viewing current payment rates.

Forever GI Bill®

The Forever GI Bill® expands the eligibility for and the amount of benefits provided in the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, as well as the length of time veterans have to use them. See Full Details >>

Post-9/11 GI Bill®

Get help with tuition and fees and money for housing, books, and supplies. If you’ve served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).

If you’re a member of the reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015, you may qualify to receive restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. See Full Details >>

Montgomery GI Bill® — Active Duty

If you have served at least two years on active duty, the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) can help you pay for up to 36 months of education benefits. You must meet eligibility requirements in one of four categories. See Full Details >>

Montgomery GI Bill — Selected Reserve

The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard or Air National Guard personnel. If your obligation started after June 30, 1985, or for some types of training, after Sept. 30, 1990, you may be eligible for this benefit. See Full Details >>

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E; Chapter 31)

Formerly referred to as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, this program helps you explore employment options and addresses training needs. In some cases, your family members may also qualify for certain benefits. See Full Details >>

Designed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this program aims for the VA and degree-granting institutions to pay the difference between GI Bill benefits and the program’s total cost. The Yellow Ribbon Scholarship is automatically applied if your tuition costs exceed the maximum state cap for tuition reimbursement and if you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100% rate. It does not apply for active-duty service members, spouses, or veterans receiving less than 100% of the benefit.

We’re proud to contribute the maximum percentage rate of 50% for a limited number of students per term. See Full Details >>

DoD Tuition Assistance (DoD TA)

DoD TA can cover tuition expenses up to $250 per credit hour if you’re eligible as an active military service member.

Visit your service branch for more information:

Kentucky National Guard Tuition Assistance

Members of the Kentucky National Guard may be eligible for state financial aid programs. Guard members can find programs, eligibility, award amounts and applications on the KHEAA website.

Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits

If you’re a qualified service member, you can transfer all 36 months or a portion of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child. The DoD approves a transfer of benefits. Learn about transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)

If you’re the child or spouse of a veteran or service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities, you may be able to receive between 36 and 455 months of benefits to pay for school or job training through the DEA program—also called Chapter 35. See Full Details >>

Military Spouse Career Advancement

See Full Details >>

For more information regarding the GI Bill or Tuition Assistance benefits, contact VA Certifying Official Amy Southwood at or (859) 257-1148.

We understand that the transition back to civilian life, especially academic life, may pose unique challenges for our military students. The University of Kentucky provides dedicated support for our military-affiliated students to keep you moving toward your goal.

This group includes student veterans and dependents dedicated to the advancement, education, and support of all veterans attending and working at the University. They work with the Veterans Resource Center and Team and the Student Government to facilitate the needs of non-traditional students. Find out more about them here.

The Veterans Resource Center’s goal is to ensure a smooth transition to college by helping you determine your eligibility for, and connect you to, your education benefits. The Veterans Resource Team is made up of dedicated professionals from several departments who have the common goal of helping UK’s military and veteran population accomplish their academic mission. Find out more here.

The VSOCC is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employee with access to the VA records system. UK’s Vet Success on Campus Counselor Joel Andrade can be reached at if you would like to take an interest and aptitude test or get coaching about vocational goal-setting.


Transfer Your Credits

You can save time and money earning your degree by transferring credits and applying for scholarships. Eligibility requirements and award amounts vary, so be sure to read the full details if you think you qualify for a program.

  • Our application fee is waived for military service members and veterans.
  • Late fees accrued while awaiting VA tuition payment are waived.
  • Student veterans are given priority registration windows, so you can get the coursework you need to complete your degree sooner.

You can save time and money earning your degree by transferring previous college credits and earning credits for your military service or career experience.

We recognize a distinct difference between accepted credit and usable credit and will only award credit that can be applied toward your degree. This prevents you from accumulating too much general credit that may negatively impact your financial aid or benefits.

If you would like your military experience to be evaluated for college credit, please forward your Joint Services Transcript or Community College of the Air Force transcript to the school as part of your admissions application.

UK’s access to your Joint Service Transcript is normally granted within 24 hours of your request. You may also request an unofficial review of your transcript to determine how many credits you may receive.

Scholarship Opportunities

To help you fund your education and shorten your search time, we offer this quick list of scholarships and scholarship search sites. It is not meant to be all-encompassing, and you should seek additional sources as you’re able.

Active-duty military, veterans, and their families can find numerous scholarship opportunities with the following organizations.

American Legion

The American Legion’s purpose is to enhance the well-being of America’s veterans, their families, our military and our communities by devotion to mutual helpfulness. Learn more about their scholarship opportunities:

The American Legion’s Legacy Scholarship provides college funding to children of Post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty or have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

Paralyzed Veterans of America offers funds to PVA members and immediate families through the Educational Scholarship Program. You need to be a PVA member, the spouse of a member, or an unmarried, dependent child to be eligible. See Details and Application >>

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

The VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” provides active military and veterans with the financial assistance they need to complete their educational goals with a scholarship award of up to $5,000. See Details and Application >>

There are a number of state and federal scholarship programs designed to meet the needs of the spouses and families of veterans. In addition to the list here, you should also review the other scholarship opportunities on this page.

Fry Scholarship

If you’re the child or surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, or a member of the Selected Reserve who died from a service-connected disability on or after the same date, you may qualify for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship which grants up to 36 months of benefits including money for tuition, housing, books and supplies. Learn more about the Fry Scholarship >>

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

If you are a child of a U.S. military service member who died due to military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11, you may be eligible for this federal grant which awards $5,983.34 to $6,495, depending on eligibility. See Full Details >>

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA)

KHEAA offers tuition waivers to the children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans. See Full Details >>

Veterans United Foundation Scholarships

If you are a surviving spouse or child of a deceased service member from a service-related death or a veteran with a 100% service-connected disability, you could be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship from the Veterans United Foundation. See Details and Application >>

We’ve made a good-faith effort to curate a shortlist of free, external scholarship search sites.* Many times, simply searching on the “military” or “veterans” categories on these sites can bring up a list of additional resources.

U.S. Department of Labor

Search more than 7,500 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities with their free scholarship search tool.

An ad-free, open-access scholarship search engine that does not require registration. They list more than 20,00 award programs offering more than $85 million in funding. Search now.


Unigo offers a number of ways to search for a scholarship and facilitates matching your profile to scholarship opportunities. If you’re not ready to set up a profile, you can still search through thousands of scholarships using their category filters. Search their categories now.


An independent education organization, UniversityHQ provides students with the necessary resources to prepare and plan their career path in their chosen field. You can search for scholarships, financial aid, grants, and loans here.

*Please note that these are not our sites, and we are not responsible for the content on them. We do not represent or warrant that information contained on the linked pages is complete or accurate and always suggest you verify the information before you act upon it. You can use the Federal Trade Commission’s Scams page to educate and protect yourself and your family.

Additional Military Resources

Find quick links to the military resources you are most likely to need.

Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Find a VA location, learn more about benefits and health care and access your records.

Quick Links:

Expanding educational opportunities by providing financial and informational resources that enable Kentuckians to attain their higher education goals. They aim to help you plan and pay for college and offer specific college scholarships and grant opportunities.

The National Resource Directory is an online partnership for wounded, ill, and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them. It is a searchable database of resources vetted for service members, veterans, family members and caregivers. You can learn more here.

woman at table outside with US Army tumbler

Serve Your Fellow Citizens as a Licensed, Clinical Social Worker

Continue your mission of excellence in service and complete a UK online social work degree program on your way to becoming the licensed mental health and wellness professional others deserve.

  • Our Licensing Preparation Initiative includes specific instruction and exam structure throughout the program — we’re first in the state in undergraduate and graduate licensing pass rates for first-time test-takers.**
  • Choose a certificate in areas like Clinical Social Work Practice, Substance Use Disorder, or an Individualized Plan of Study.
View Program Details

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

UK military student retention and graduation rates are best among public universities in KY.

Specialized Military-Related Coursework

The CoSW offers coursework that is specialized for addressing the needs of military service members and veterans. Our social work curriculum addresses mental health, substance abuse, family violence, and more – all areas that military social workers encounter every day on the job. Explore some course highlights below:

  • SW 530 Responding to Military and Veteran Populations:

    This course provides an overview of social work practice with U.S. military members, veterans, and military families. Students will learn to appreciate the unique experiences and stresses of military members and their families, and resultant implications for helping professionals serving this population.
  • SW 580 Substance Misuse:

    This course is designed to challenge and develop the student’s knowledge of and ways of thinking about substance use and misuse. It provides clinical and scientific knowledge about the nature of substance misuse and the effect of substance misuse on individuals, families, health, and development. It also introduces current evidence-based treatment and prevention approaches.
  • SW 626 Forensic Mental Health: Evaluation and Treatment:

    An intensive analysis and study of forensic mental health, including court evaluation, courtroom testimony, and treatment of the victim.
  • SW 738 Guided Independent Work: Military and Veteran Populations:

    This guided independent study is a graduate student-directed learning experience, for which faculty provide oversight and direction. Participation in SW 738 requires critical thinking and reflection regarding relevant material, the conceptualization of an independent study project, and the development of an electronic portfolio which addresses each learning outcome.
Explore the Online MSW Curriculum

What Do I Need to Apply?

While the admission requirements for the online BASW, MSW and DSW programs are the same for all students, U.S. military service members and veterans follow specific steps when applying.

Note: The Army MSW program is a separate program offered at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and is a selective admission process through the Department of Defense. See Army MSW application information here.

Begin Your Application Process

  • Prior to submitting your BASW application, contact VA Certifying Official Amy Southwood at or (859) 257-1148.
  • Prior to submitting your MSW application, email Tim Emrick in the Graduate School, with the following:
    • The email address used to create your MSW application, and a copy of your orders or military ID.
    • Tim Emrick will email you when your application fee waiver is complete. You will then be able to submit your application.
  • For information on the DSW application, or any additional questions, please reach out to your Admissions Counselor at 833-358-1721.

Military Behavioral Health Lab

The Military Behavioral Health Lab is another way we are fulfilling our commitment to provide high-quality services and conduct rigorous research that improves the lives of military personnel and dependents.

The lab serves as an umbrella department focused on initiatives around military behavioral health. Its goal is to address the mental health and wellness issues that affect active-duty, reserve, and veteran military populations and their families. Our work, such as heart rate variability biofeedback to treat post-traumatic stress, generates vital empirical knowledge by testing much-needed clinical interventions.

military students carrying flags onto football field

About the Army UK MSW Program

This highly selective program delivers our high-caliber MSW curriculum in a condensed face-to-face format at the satellite site, developing qualified clinical social workers for positions across military service branches. Students from the U.S. Army, Army National Guard, Marines, Air Force, and Navy, as well as civilian employees from the Department of Defense, are eligible to apply to the program.

Students in the online MSW program benefit from the same academic excellence and tradition of military support as our students in the on-campus and Army programs. According to Dr. Chris Flaherty, director of the Military Behavioral Health Lab, 70 percent of Army social work officers hold a UK diploma.

Note: The Army MSW program is a separate program offered at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and is a selective admission process through the Department of Defense. See Army MSW application information here.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can apply for grants, scholarships, and federal financial aid.

You can also apply for federal student aid. University of Kentucky’s Federal school code is 001989.

Yes; you can participate in your online program from wherever you need to be. You can also pursue readmission for military-related absence — read more here.

Yes, you can. We are required to report the net tuition cost to the VA after applying grants, scholarships, discounts, etc., that apply to tuition. The balance is what VA will pay under chapter 33.

No. You will not receive a W-2 from the VA, and benefits paid under any law administered by VA should not be reported as income to the IRS.

The University understands the important role that family members play in the support and success of our veterans. The Veterans Resource Center extends its services to those family members in order to assist them in reaching their academic goals. Read more about the benefits for family members here.

You don’t. The Yellow Ribbon is part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and is automatically applied if your tuition costs exceed the maximum state cap for tuition reimbursement and you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100% rate.

Go to the VA’s education application page and follow their instructions.

If you are a veteran, use the Find a Form link, search and complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for VA Education Benefits. The VA will send a COE via mail in about 8 weeks.

To access your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), please sign in to your account. Once you log in to your account, you can make this request. You will only be able to view the benefit if you were awarded educational benefits.

Request and provide an official copy of your JST or CCAF transcript during the admissions process, along with your prior college transcripts and high school transcripts so they can be evaluated.

You can order your transcripts using the appropriate military branch link below. Please note that you will likely be prompted to manually accept the DoD’s security certificates.

Please contact our VA Certifying Official, Amy Southwood, at or (859) 257-1148.

You can also visit

It is possible. If you’re authorized to use more than one GI Bill benefit, you’re allowed to use up to 48 months of benefits, but one at a time. If you have used your entire chapter 30 and have never used a different chapter (31, 32, 34, 35, 1606, or 1607), you could be eligible for an additional 12 months if you have not reached your delimiting date.

* 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 website at

**Ranking based on most recent data (1.3.20)