Finding Military Family Education Benefits

Montana Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager Paige Held poses with two happy family members. Senior Airman Nikolas Asmussen/U.S. Air National Guard
Montana Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager Paige Held poses with two happy family members. Senior Airman Nikolas Asmussen/U.S. Air National Guard

For example, family members are eligible to use the benefits of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Program, Scholarships and Grants, and the Spouse and Dependent Education Assistance program (DEA).

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges

SOC member schools understand the hardships military (family) students face due to frequent transfers, so they have designed credit transfer practices that minimize loss of credit and avoid duplication of course work. Many SOC institutions also award credit for tests such as the CLEP, ECE, and DSST national testing programs. See our SOC page for details.

Dependents Scholarships and Grants

In addition, each service or designated service aid organization, offers family members special education benefits like tuition assistance, grants, and loans. These benefits are often specific to your current Permanent Duty Station or other criteria.

Visit our Military Family Education Assistance page to get more details on the many programs offered to military family members.

And don't forget to check out Military/Veteran Scholarship opportunities. Thousands of scholarship specifically designed for military family members go unused each year. Check out the Scholarship Finder. This free service helps our members locate the military scholarship that best fits their needs.

Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance

VA also has a program for Survivor and Dependent Education Assistance (DEA) that provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition.

The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

Fry Scholarship

The Fry Scholarship is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that makes education benefits available to the surviving spouses and children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001.

The scholarship was created to honor the memory of Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas. With only a week left in his Iraq tour in 2006, Fry injured his hand and was given the option of going home early with a Bronze Star. Fry declined the offer and volunteered to go on one last run to defuse bombs. Fry was killed March 8, 2006, by an improvised explosive device in Anbar province, Iraq, leaving behind his widow and three small children.

Like Post-9/11 veterans, eligible surviving spouses and children attending school may receive full tuition coverage at state-operated colleges and universities, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance under this program.

Related Topics

Spouse Education Family and Spouse Family Education

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at