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Military Association Benefits

Amanda Crowe, executive director of In Gear Career, and her family.

In addition to the traditional government funded sources of education support, servicemembers can rely on assistance from service specific military associations for low interest loans, grants, scholarships and other forms of education support.

The following is a quick summary of each services relief organization.

Army Emergency Relief (AER)
Army Emergency Relief maintains two scholarship programs – the Spouse Education Assistance Program and the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program for dependent children. Both scholarships provide financial assistance for students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. 

Visit the Army Emergency Relief site for more details.

The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)
The Society’s Education Assistance Program offers interest-free loans and grants for undergraduate/post-secondary education at an accredited 2- or 4-year education, technical or vocational institution in the United States.  This financial assistance is available for children of active duty, retired or deceased Sailors and Marines; and for spouses of active duty and retired Sailors and Marines.

Spouses of active duty Sailors and Marines stationed and living outside the United States are also eligible for the Society’s Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP).  For STAP assistance, contact your nearest overseas NMCRS office.  NMCRS office locations and business hours are located here: http://www.nmcrs.org/locations.

NMCRS Education Assistance Program:
The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society offers interest free loans, grants, and scholarships.

  • Interest free loans and grants range from $500 to $3,000 per academic year
  • Amount to be provided to each applicant will be determined by NMCRS
  • Funds are payable and provided to the student’s academic institution, not the student
  • Funds are to be used only for tuition, books, fees, room, and board
  • Repayment of interest free loans must be by military payroll allotment within 24 months of the loan disbursal (repayment of interest free loans for MECEP/MECP must be within 48 months following receipt of a military commission)
  • Repayment allotments must begin September 1, (or the month following receipt of a military commission for MECEP/MECP students)
  • Students must complete a new application for each academic year

Visit the NMCRS site for more details.

Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)
The AFAS offers grants, scholarships and loans:

  • General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program - This grant program is competitive in its need-based selection criteria, uniquely tailored to recognize the proper weighing of family income and education cost factors. Grants of at least $2,000 are awarded to selected sons and daughters of Active Duty, Title 10 AGR/Reserve, Title 32 AGR performing full-time active duty, retired, retired reserve and deceased Air Force members; spouses of active duty members and Title 10 AGR/Reservists; and surviving spouses of deceased personnel for their full-time undergraduate studies.
  • AFAS Merit Scholarship - The Society awards a minimum of ten $5,000 merit-based scholarships to incoming freshman who have completed both phases of the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant application, and therefore, have already been reviewed for eligibility and had their GPA verified. Selection is based on cumulative GPA, SAT/ACT scores, transcripts, and an essay on a specified topic.
  • Supplemental Education Loan Program - This loan is open only to dependents of regular Active Duty, Title 10 AGR/Reserve on extended active duty, Title 32 AGR performing full time active duty, regular Retired and Retired Reserve with 20+ years of creditable service who applied for the 2015-2016 General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant, as their eligibility has already been verified through the grant application process, and AFAS has the ability to collect repayment by allotment directly from the members' military/retired pay. Maximum dollar amount for each full-time dependent undergraduate student is $1,000, regardless of whether or not they received the need-based Arnold Grant.

Visit the Air Force Aid Society to learn more.

The Coast Guard Foundation
The Coast Guard Foundation offers grants for active duty enlisted members and their spouses, it also offers scholarships to children of active duty, retired, or deceased enlisted members.

  • Grants for enlisted active duty members - These grants are administered by the Coast Guard Institute and range from $250 - $500 per calendar year. For more information see the Coast Guard Institute's website
  • Grants for spouses of active duty enlisted members - These grants are open to spouses of active duty enlisted personnel in pay grades E-3 to E-9. Spouses of Reservists on any type of active duty orders for at least one year in duration in the aforementioned pay grades are also eligible. Grants will be in the amount of $500 and are limited to one payment per calendar year.
  • Scholarships for Coast Guard children - These scholarships are open to unmarried dependent children (under 24 years old) of enlisted men and women on active duty, reservists on extended active duty for 180 days or more, retirees, or deceased members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Applicants must be college bound high school seniors entering an accredited college or technical school for the fall semester or a full-time undergraduate student already enrolled in an accredited four-year undergraduate program or technical school. 

For more information see the Coast Guard Foundation's website.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA)

  • Supplemental Education Grant - The SEG program reimburses documented educational costs specifically required by a course of study. Multiple grants may be awarded up to the authorized amount throughout the calendar year.
  • CGMA Stafford/PLUS Loan Fee Reimbursement - Assistance for those who finance post-secondary education through the Federal Stafford Loan or Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). CGMA reimburses clients for the loan fee (not to exceed 4% of the loan amount) typically charged borrowers at the time funds are disbursed.
  • CGMA Education Loan - Interest free loan (up to $2,000) to help with postsecondary education expenses. Loan repayment begins a month after receipt of assistance. A new Education Loan will not be provided until any previous Education Loan has been repaid. All CGMA members and their families are eligible.

Visit the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance website to learn more.

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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 www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
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