Higher Education Scholarships and Tips for Military Spouses
Earning an advanced degree or new certification is often a viable option for many military spouses, especially if you are looking to enter, reenter, transition to a new career field, or find that next step in your professional employment trajectory.
Higher education is very expensive, so scholarships, grants, or other types of financial support will be beneficial to military spouses and their families and allow a little freedom with personal monetary allocations. Many scholarships and grants are out there, but finding education support is much like the job-search process - you have to research, narrow the possibilities, apply for them, and wait for an outcome.
You can find scholarships and grants through federal and state government agencies, your chosen college or university (check with the admissions officer of the school you plan to attend), nonprofit organization (local chapters and national headquarters), private organizations, community spouses club on your installation, Employment Readiness and Education office on your military installation, and the Department of Education for the state in which you reside or will attend school.
Read application directions carefully and follow them. If you are not eligible for a specific scholarship, do not waste your time applying for these opportunities.
Keep track of scholarships and grants you apply for by creating an Excel spreadsheet or Word document that includes detail such as:
Scholarships and grant resources
Below is a list of scholarships and grants that target military spouses or the greater military community. Although this is not an exhaustive list, hopefully this will get you started in the right direction:
- Air Force Aid Society Education Grant Program
- Air Force Association
- Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Associations (AFCEA)
- Army Emergency Relief (Spouse Educational Assistance Program)
- Coast Guard Foundation
- Commissioned Officers Foundation Scholarship
- Corvias Foundation
- Council of College and Military Educators Scholarships
- Fisher House Foundation Scholarships
- Folds of Honor Foundation
- Hope For the Warriors
- Military Service Recognition Scholarship
- My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)
- National Military Family Association
- Navy Seal Foundation Scholarships
- Navy Supply Corps Foundation Scholarships
- NIWH Military Spouse Scholarship Program
- Pat Tillman Scholars
- ThanksUSA Scholarship Program
- The Military Order of the Purple Heart
- The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)
- U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association Scholarships
- U.S. Coast Guard Work Life Scholarships
- VA Mortgage Center
- Wings Over America Scholarship Foundation
Other options to consider
Post-9/11 GI Bill: If your uniformed spouse has unused Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits that won't be used, get your spouse to transfer those benefits to you (or other eligible family members).
In-state tuition benefits: If you are the spouse of a military servicemember who is on active duty for more than 30 days, you are eligible to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in the state where you reside or are permanently stationed. Once you are enrolled and paying that in-state tuition, you will continue to pay it at that rate as long as you remain continuously enrolled at that institution, even if your servicemember is reassigned out of state.
Federal student aid: The U.S. government wants to help you achieve your educational goals, and the Department of Education should be one of your first resources to check out. Even if you believe your family earns too much to quality for any funding, go through the drill of filling out the FAFSA.
Your employer: If you currently are employed, make sure you are aware of and use any educational monetary support your employer is willing to assist with for professional advancement.
Finally, if a higher education degree is not for you at the moment, make sure you check out Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families for an array of no-cost certification programs.