Editor's note: Military Times is supplementing our Best for Vets series of survey-based rankings with themed computer-based rankings from College Factual. College Factual uses public databases to evaluate colleges. These rankings were not compiled by Military Times.
A major in political science can be a rewarding choice that offers students a number of areas of study. Political science majors can study various types of politics, international relations, public theory, law and public policy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists are enjoying faster than average job growth. A 22 percent increase in the number of positions available is expected through 2022.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the political sphere, College Factual has you covered. Below you'll find 10 veteran-friendly schools to earn a political science degree. College Factual ranked these colleges using a number of criteria, including the size of the veteran population, the quality of education, and the number and quality of veterans' benefits offered by the school. The full ranking methodology can be found here. Salary data is an estimate made with data provided by Payscale.
1. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University is a large public university that offers a good value to students. ASU participates in three of the four federal programs that help set standards for veteran education. Another reason for the high ranking? ASU has more than 3,500 GI Bill recipients, meaning you're likely to run into other veterans there. ASU is known for providing veterans with a wealth of services, including scholarship assistance, financial aid and counseling services. ASU's political science program ranks No. 107 in the nation, according to College Factual, and graduating students have an average early career salary of $40,000 and a mid-career salary of $85,000.
2. Rutgers University — New Brunswick, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers University is a large, public research university located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The political science program at Rutgers is ranked No. 49 overall by College Factual and is a popular major at the school with about 300 graduates each year. Political science graduates from Rutgers have an average early career salary of $43,000 and a mid-career salary of $78,000. Rutgers offers many veterans-focused benefits such as career services, mentoring and financial aid assistance.
3. University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, Norman, Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a large, public university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU offers numerous benefits for veterans, and it participates in two of the four main government programs offered to veteran students and is a Pat Tillman Foundation University Partner. Students attending OU for the political science program have average early career salaries of $44,000 and mid-career salaries of $89,000. GI Bill benefits help cover a large percentage of yearly tuition, making OU a great value for veterans.
4. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University is a large, public university offering an excellent value for student veterans enrolling in the political science program. FSU also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, making tuition even more affordable — if not completely free. Students graduating from FSU in the political science program can expect an average early career salary of $37,000 and a mid-career salary of $73,000. About 1,000 student veterans attend FSU.
5. University of South Florida — Main Campus, Tampa, Florida
The University of South Florida is a large, public university and is a popular destination for veteran students: USF has just over 1,900 GI Bill recipients. Veterans make up about 6 percent of the total student body. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill in place, out-of-pocket expenses could be as little as nothing. USF students majoring in political science have an average early career salary of $34,000 and a mid-career salary of $75,000. USF offers numerous services and benefits to student veterans. This includes an awareness program called "Got Your Six," career mentoring and out-of-state tuition waivers.
6. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
George Washington University is a large, private school in the nation's capital. About 10 percent of the student population are GI Bill recipients, making the student body a very veteran-friendly environment. Although GWU participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program — having awarded just over $2 million last year — you may still have an out-of-pocket expense attending this prestigious school. GWU's political science program is ranked high for veterans as well as high overall by College Factual, with graduates reporting average mid-career salaries of $90,000. GWU also offers other services and benefits to veteran students including vocational rehab, counseling and career services.
7. The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas at Austin is a large and diverse public university located in a quickly growing city. Of the nearly 40,000 students that attend UT, more than 1,000 are GI Bill recipients. All students pay the same rate whether their residency is in or out of state. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, UT students could pay as little as $2,678 in tuition per year. Students majoring in political science see an average early career salary of $40,000 and a mid-career salary of $90,000. UT prides itself on providing numerous benefits and services to student veterans. This includes financial aid and VA benefit counseling, career services and academic tutoring.
8. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech University is a large, public university that has a sizable student veteran population of over 1,000 students. TTU doesn't charge different prices based on state residence. If you meet the right conditions, and with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, students could attend TTU for free. Political science graduates will earn an average early career salary of $40,000 and a mid-career salary of $77,000. The Military and Veterans Programs department offers students counseling, financial aid advice, and activities and events to keep the community close.
9. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is a large, public university that participates in three of the four government programs that help set standards for veteran education. Of the 20,000 students that attend UK, more than 800 students are GI Bill recipients. UK tuition costs, when considering the Post 9/11 GI Bill, could be as little as $4,094 per year. Students graduating from the UK political science program report average early career earnings of $37,000 and mid-career salaries of $72,000. The UK student Veterans Resource Center and University of Kentucky Student Veterans Association make the University of Kentucky a positive and welcoming environment for student veterans.
10. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
The University of Arizona is a large, public university where approximately 1,300 students are GI Bill recipients, making the population of veteran students high compared with other schools. UA's yearly tuition costs for Post 9/11 GI Bill recipients is about $9,200. Students graduating from UA in the political science program report average early career salaries of $39,000 and mid-career salaries of $72,000. UA offers veteran students a number of services and benefits, including health and wellness counseling, career services, and financial aid; Scholarship Universe was set up to help students manage and apply for scholarships in a simple, easy-to-use manner.