College Money Ideas for Military Spouses

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.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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9 thoughts on “College Money Ideas for Military Spouses”

  1. Great post, There are likewise a great deal of grants for military youngsters. The particular case that strikes a chord is the Scholarships for Military Children Program that is subsidized primarily by organizations that give merchandise to grocery stores. Each base that has a store honors one grant for every year to a qualified candidate. There’s additionally the Heroes’ Legacy grant for offspring of military individuals executed or crippled in real life. It’s imperative to check with the budgetary helper office of the school you anticipate going to. Numerous privately owned businesses have grants and awards that give additional application focuses to groups of military individuals, as well. You need to get out there and ask, however.

  2. Being a military spouse certainly has it’s own set of challenges. I can’t imagine what my partner faces everyday. But I know that being home, managing life alone, being both parents, working or getting an education, it’s all a challenge. I am so grateful for the financial help that is now offered for military spouses and even military children! Financially, college can just be such a burden for a young family, but it is also so important for our economical future. This was a great list of resources, like the comments above, there are also a lot of helpful resources for the children in the military. Thanks for the resources!

  3. There are also a lot of scholarships and grants for military children. The one that comes to mind is the Scholarships for Military Children Program that is funded mainly by companies that provide goods to commissaries. Every base that has a commissary awards one scholarship per year to a qualified applicant. There’s also the Heroes’ Legacy scholarship for children of military members killed or disabled in action. It’s important to check with the financial aide office of the school you plan on attending. Many private companies have scholarships and grants that give extra application points to families of military members, too. You have to get out there and ask, though.

  4. These are some amazing opportunities for service members and their spouses. It is a shame that so many of them go unclaimed. Hopefully this post will help get the word out. This really is a form of free money (or a pay raise or bonus), only even better: it gives the users a chance to get an education which has the potential to make their lives better, as well as their families.

  5. This is a great article, as I run across many military spouses who are unaware of the opportunities that are available. These benefits are especially valuable for securing the education and skills in jobs that are easily transferable. The high mobility rates that earmark the military lifestyle make it difficult for spouses to find new jobs in new communities. The assistance with education, along with resources for finding employment and for starting a business, are invaluable. I encourage all military spouses to explore all of the potential benefits outlined in this post.

    1. If military spouses take the time to educate themselves about the different ways to come up with money for college, they can really help themselves. It amazes me how many scholarships go unclaimed. It amazes me how many benefits never get used. Nothing will get handed to you on a silver platter, but if you go out and look, just about any military spouse can get a free college education.

  6. Great post, Justin. As a military spouse, you can get a free college education (or almost free) if you take the time to educate yourself about the scholarships and grants available. You should visit the education office, do some research online, and talk to someone at your university about what is available to you. It might just blow your mind.


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