Military spouses often put their educational and career goals on hold while they support their servicemembers who are protecting our country. While they may want to continue their education, financial constraints, frequent moves, and family care obligations can make it difficult. Fortunately there are military spouse scholarships available that can help ease the financial burden of college expenses and enable spouses to take classes towards undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certain licenses and certifications. Many of the scholarships can even be used at online colleges, which can make scheduling and attending classes easier and more convenient.
Take advantage of these scholarships for military spouses and pursue your dream! Visit each website below to learn more about the scholarships, eligibility criteria, and exclusions.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill – The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers servicemembers who have accumulated at least 90 days of active duty on or after September 11, 2001 and received an honorable discharge the opportunity to receive up to 100 percent funding for tuition and fees for an in-state public college and up to $18,077.50 per year for private or foreign schools. It also offers a monthly housing allowance and a books and supplies stipend. An eligible servicemember can transfer all or any unused portion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse. There are certain criteria that must be met. See the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for details.
Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP) – This need-based program run by the non-profit organization, Army Emergency Relief (AER) helps spouses of Army members obtain a 4-year undergraduate degree. Students can study part time or full time but may not be already fully funded by other sources such as the GI Bill. Scholarship applications are accepted from January 2 through May 1 every year. The organization also offers the Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP) for military spouses stationed in Japan, Korea and Europe.
NMFA Scholarships – Spouses who are married to an active duty, reserve, guard, retired, medically retired, or wounded service member are eligible for a National Military Family Association (NMFA) scholarship. Funds range from $500 to $2,500 and you have to apply for the award each year, even if you have received an award in the past. The funds can be used for a variety of educational expenses including GED, associate, bachelor, master, and PhD programs, trade schools, certification programs, licensure fees, and more. The NMFA offers additional military spouse scholarships through select partner schools.
MyCAA Scholarship – The My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship Program provides up to $4,000 to spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2 who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders. Spouses married to members of the National Guard and reserve component in these same pay grades are also eligible. Spouses of Coast Guard members are not eligible. The MyCAA Scholarship can be used to pay for tuition costs related to most associate degrees, as well as approved licensure, certification and testing costs. This scholarship has many exclusions, so be sure to visit the website or see this Fact Sheet for details.
Many individual schools also offer scholarships and tuition discounts to military spouses. Here are just a few:
Kaplan University has teamed up with the American Freedom Foundation to offer both full and partial scholarships. Up to 900 scholarships are offered, each covering more than half the costs of an undergraduate degree at Kaplan University. There are GPA requirements and some exclusions. See the website for details.
Bryant & Stratton College Online offers a Salute to Spouses scholarship. Spouses of active duty personnel are eligible to receive up to $6,000 towards a Bryant & Stratton College Online degree. The school offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs online.
Columbia College offers spouses of active duty military members or members of the Guard and Reserves a 20% tuition discount for undergraduate in-seat classes. Columbia College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and has 36 campuses around the United States. Some of the locations include Fort Drum in NY, Fort Stewart and hunter Army Airfield in Georgia, NAS Jacksonville in FL, and other areas convenient to the military. The school also offers a Spouse’s Opportunity Grant which covers tuition for one in-seat or one online course. The grant is only good during the first session of attendance at Columbia College.
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has many merit and need-based scholarships that are specifically designed to help military personnel and their spouses pay for a college education. Visit the military scholarship page to learn more about the HSBC North America Military Family Scholarships, the Major General James and Dorothy Freeze Scholarship Fund, the Scholarship for Military Spouses, and others.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers military spouses up to a 30% discount on its online degree programs. For the past three years the school has also partnered with Operation Homefront to honor one military spouse with a $5,000 scholarship.