Men and women with spouses in the military make a number of sacrifices, such as moving frequently and being apart from their spouses for long amounts of time. However, military spouses do not have to sacrifice a college education.
There are several education programs to help military spouses pursue their own education goals. Some of these benefits are designed specifically for spouses of people in the military, such as scholarships, while others are education benefits for the member of the Armed Forces that can be transferred to their spouse.
While you’re pursuing your higher education options and college financial aid opportunities, be sure to consider military college aid programs. Below is information on some of the scholarships and other benefits you may be eligible for.
If your spouse died or became permanently disabled as a result of involvement in active duty, or who is or was missing in action, captured or detained while serving in the Armed Forces, you may be eligible for this money for college. Apply through the Veterans ON-line APPlication (VONAPP) website by filling out the VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance.
The education benefits of this bill, intended for service members, can be transferred to that service member’s spouse through Transfer of Entitlement. These benefits include the cost of tuition, approved fees, books and a monthly allowance for housing, as well as work-study programs to offset school costs. Learn more about the bill at the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Servicemembers’ Opportunity Colleges
Because military families tend to move frequently, they face unique challenges in completing a college degree. This organization helps servicemembers and their children complete degree programs on or near their military installations in the US and internationally or through distance learning programs like online schools. Go to the SOC website for more information on participating colleges and universities and the SOC benefits for each branch of the military.
Military Spouse Scholarships for Spouses of the Wounded, Military Spouse Scholarships for Spouses of the Fallen, Military Spouse Scholarships for All Military Spouses
To help combat the challenges of moving frequently as a military family, this scholarship assists military spouses in pursuing a college degree or other post-secondary education. These scholarships are available to spouses of military members on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard, retirees and survivors. The money can be used to pay for college costs such as tuition and room and board for a masters degree, bachelors degree, a certificate and vocational training. Classes can be held in classrooms or through online schools and be completed full-time or part-time. Apply for the scholarship through the National Military Family Association Website.
Military Spouses’ Education Benefits Tips & Tactics
- Request scholarship applications as soon as you can, ideally at least a year before you start school. Some of these scholarships have lengthy applications and require essays as part of the application, so the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to complete them by the deadline.
- While extensive college aid is available to military spouses, it may not cover all of your costs. Be sure to pursue additional financial aid like federal aid, state aid and institutional aid. Apply for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and other forms of aid through the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form.
- While it can be tempting to skip applying for scholarships and other forms of college aid with lengthy or confusing applications and just get college loans, keep in mind that college loans must be paid back with interest. So the short-term convenience you have can turn in to a long-term inconvenience if you’re facing a 25-year college loan to pay back.
People Who Read This Article Also Read:
Military Financial Aid Programs: the Basics
GI Bill Programs: the Basics
Military Scholarships: The Basics
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
Post-9/11 GI Bill: The Basics