Being a military wife or an “Army Brat” isn’t as hard as being in the military, but it isn’t an easy job either. Military families make significant sacrifices in supporting their Soldier and the Army itself. I believe that the military has recognized this by offering many different benefits for military families and their spouses for achieving a college education. Here are my three favorite college money ideas for military families and spouses.
– Scholarships and Grants. Military spouses are now eligible to receive up to $6,000 from the U.S. government for educational expenses. In May 2009, the Department of Defense enacted the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program. This initiative pays up to $6,000 for post-secondary education (including distance learning), training, tuition, licensing and credentialing. Additionally, there are hundreds of thousands of scholarships that are geared specifically towards military families and spouses that go unclaimed every year!
– The DoD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program is designed to help military spouses define their career goals, including offering support with information about education programs and most importantly, financial aid options. SECO consultants (1-800-342-9647) are bachelor and master-level advisors and counselors who can help you consider your options for going back to school and how a particular license, certification, or degree program will help you reach your goals.
-The Post 9/11 GI Bill is THE best educational benefit that military families and spouses can take advantage of. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is basically an upgraded and transferable version of its predecessor, the Montgomery GI Bill. Whereas the Montgomery GI Bill only provided benefits to the service member up to 10 years after separation from service, the Post 9/11 GI Bill provides an added benefit of transferring the education benefits to a spouse or dependent child. It provides money towards tuition and fees as well as a yearly book stipend! The service member must apply to be able to transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent child. To learn more about how to apply to transfer educational benefits, visit the VA’s GI Bill Website.
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you’re a part of a military family, I hope that you’re making the most of the resources available to you and considering the Post 9/11 GI Bill as part of your college saving plan, whether you’re saving for yourself or for your children. When you talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck with college savings plans, nothing holds a candle to the higher education opportunities provided by the GI Bill!
Do you have any added tips? Do you have any questions? Please post them below. Thank you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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