Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs

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Department of Defense

Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability

In addition to the very generous education benefits offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there is a special provision of the program that allows career servicemembers to share their remaining GI Bill (education) benefits with immediate family members. The key factor is whether or not the member has used any of his or her GI Bill in the past; only unused benefits can be transfered. This means that if the member has used 12 months of his or her GI Bill, then there is only 24 months of benefit left to share.

Servicemembers must meet specific criteria to be eligible to transfer their GI Bill benefits. This includes having at least six years of service and an obligation to serve at least four more.

Learn more about the rules for transferring GI Bill benefits.

Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) 

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to employment in portable career fields.

Spouses can contact MilitaryOneSource for education counseling and help finding alternative funding sources. Call toll free at: 1.800.342.9647.

Click here to learn more about the MyCAA Career Advancement Accounts program.

Learn more about Spouse Employment opportunities and programs.

Veterans Affairs

Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance Program

The Spouse and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. 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.

Click here to learn more about the Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance Program.

State Provided Education Benefits

Educational benefits for families, particularly the children of deceased, MIA, POW,  and disabled veterans, may be available in some states. Military.com has developed an on-line general summary of educational benefits for veterans, surviving spouses and their dependents.

Click here to learn more about State Education Benefits.

Private Scholarships and Grants

While looking for money for school many surviving spouses and their families overlook the over $300 million of military - and veteran - related scholarships and grants. These scholarships often go unclaimed due to the following misconceptions:

 

  • VA education benefits eliminate the need for scholarships and grants.
    • False - The truth is that the Survivor and Dependent Education Assistance program offers great benefits it may not cover everything. There are hundreds of scholarships and grants specifically designed to help cover education related costs, so you don't have to.
  • Scholarships are too difficult to win and applying requires too much work.
    • It is true that some scholarships require a written essay. But, it is important to remember that scholarship and grant applications vary widely, and some require nothing more than a short application. Besides you should think of it this way: It may be the only essay you ever get paid to write.
  • Scholarships are too difficult to find.
    • False - Many scholarships go unclaimed because students don't know where to look. Fortunately, there is a great online resource to help servicemembers find the scholarship and learn how, where, and when to apply. Visit the Military.com's Scholarship Finder today and get started on your way to finding free money for school.

Here are some quick tips to help your search:

  • Do your homework. Take advantage of the free online scholarship search at Military.com's Scholarship Finder. The Scholarship Finder lists over 1,000 scholarships from a variety of sources.
  • Don't limit yourself. You qualify for non-military related scholarships too. Visit your local library to find scholarship directories that list awards based on age, state of residence, cultural background, and field of study.
  • Search in your military community. Many service aid organizations and associations, like the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, offer scholarships, grants, and low interest loans to help cover education expenses.
  • It's never too soon to start your scholarship search. Many scholarship application deadlines are as early as a year in advance.

Remember: Not applying for scholarships is like turning down free money. Get started on your search for scholarships today - visit the Military.com Scholarship Finder.

Army

Army Family Education Programs

The Army offers the following Education Programs for its Spouse and Family members.

SOCAD is the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the Army. SOCAD consists of colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degree programs on or accessible to Army installations worldwide. SOCAD colleges form networks in which each college accepts credits from all the others.

SOCAD guarantees that you and your adult family members can continue toward completion of your degrees even though the Army may transfer you several times. There are also degrees available by distance learning that require no classroom residency.

Visit the official SOCAD website for more details.

Army Emergency Relief (AER)

Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP) is a need-based education assistance program designed to provide spouses of active duty Army Soldiers and widows(ers) of Army Soldiers that died while on active duty, and are residing in the United States, with financial assistance in pursuing educational goals.

The purpose of the program is to assist spouses/widows(ers) in gaining the education required to allow them to qualify for increased occupational opportunities.  Individuals who receive free tuition as a result of their employment will not receive tuition assistance from AER. However, they may apply for assistance for fees, supplies or books (no duplicates) for classes in which they are enrolled.

SEAP is limited to $2500 maximum per academic year.

Learn more about the Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program

Spouse Education Assistance Program (EAP): If you are assigned in Europe, Korea, Japan or Okinawa, Army Emergency Relief offers your spouse a grant to assist with the costs associated with pursuing his or her education, up to a maximum of $350 per term.

Learn more about the Spouse Education Assistance Program.

Air Force

Air Force Family Education Programs

The Air Force offers the following Education Programs for its Spouse and Family members.

Servicemember's Opportunity Colleges (SOC) colleges and universities are dedicated to helping your family and you get college degrees. You can take courses in your off-duty hours at or near military installations in the United States, and overseas.

Visit the official SOC website for more details.

Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)

General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program

The centerpiece of the Air Force Aid Society's education initiatives is the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program which provides grants 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 (stateside) of active duty members and Title 10 AGR/Reservists; and surviving spouses of deceased personnel for their undergraduate studies. The value and success of this program, is demonstrated in the 74,679 grants disbursed since the first awards were made for the 1988-1989 academic year. In recognition of escalating college costs, the  award amount for grants is now $2,000 for all qualifying applicants.

 

This grant program remains competitive in its need-based selection criteria, uniquely tailored to recognize the proper weighing of family income and education cost factors, and is administered by ACT Recognition Program Services. ACT, located in Iowa City IA, is an independent, not-for-profit organization with over 40 years experience in providing support services to scholarship sponsors.

Awards for each academic year are announced in June each year. Use of funds is limited to tuition, books and fees, or other direct educational expenses.

See the official General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program website for more details and to learn how to apply.

Navy

Navy Family Education Programs:

The Navy offers the following education Programs for its Spouse and Family members.

SOCNAV is the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the NAVY. SOCNAV consists of colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degree programs on or accessible to NAVY installations worldwide. SOCNAV colleges form networks in which each college accepts credits from all the others.

SOCNAV guarantees that you and your adult family members can continue toward completion of your degrees even though the Navy may transfer you several times. There are also degrees available by distance learning that require no classroom residency.

Visit the official SOCNAV website for more details.

The Navy Maine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)

Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP)

The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers STAP to your spouse if you are on active duty and stationed in an overseas (OCONUS) location. Your spouse may be a full or part-time student studying toward a vocational certificate, or an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Amounts granted:

 

  • Undergraduate level maximum of $300 @ semester and $1500 @ year.
  • Graduate level maximum of $350 @ semester and $1750 @ year.

To request an application form and information about deadlines, contact one of the following NMCRS offices: Guam, Guantanamo Bay, London, Naples, Okinawa, Roosevelt Roads, Rota, Sigonella, or Yokosuk.

Visit the official Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP) website for more information.

VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program

To apply, you must be the spouse of an active duty member or the dependent child of an active or retired member of the Navy or Marine Corps. You must also be a full time undergraduate student at an accredited college or university.

  • 1000 grants are awarded each academic year at $2000 each.
  • Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student loan of up to $3000.
  • The loan repayment begins within 30 days of award and must be repaid by allotment within 24 months.
  • Application deadline is 1 March of each year.
  • Late applications will not be considered for the scholarship; however they will be evaluated for a loan.

Visit the official VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program website for more details.

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Family Education Programs

The Coast Guard offers the following education Programs for its Spouse and Family members.

SOCCOAST is the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the Coast Guard.

  • SOCCOAST consists of colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degree programs on or accessible to Navy and Marine installations worldwide.
  • SOCCOAST colleges form networks in which each college accepts credits from all the others.

SOCCOAST guarantees that you and your adult family members can continue toward completion of your degrees even though the Marine Corps may transfer you several times. There are also degrees available by distance learning that require no classroom residency.

Visit the official SOCCOAST website for further information.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) offers a Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) of up to $160 per year. You can use this grant for ANY family member's education expenses. However it does not cover Tuition expenses. This grant can also be used to pay for ASVAB, CLEP, SAT, and other study guides. CGMA also offers several education related loans.

To apply contact your local CG Mutual Assistance Representative or Education Officer. Visit the CGMA website to learn more about the programs offered by Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

The Coast Guard Foundation provides $300,000 annually in educational grants to enlisted personnel working towards their college degree.  Learn more at http://www.cgfdn.org/

Additional Education Assistance: The Coast Guard also offers dependent spouses and Federal Coast Guard employees the opportunity to take CLEP, DANTES, and other tests at no cost.

Visit the official Coast Guard website for more information.

Marine Corps

Marine Corps Family Education Programs

The Marines offers the following education Programs for its Spouse and Family members.

SOCMAR is the Servicemember's Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the Marines.

  • SOCMAR consists of colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degree programs on or accessible to Navy and Marine installations worldwide.
  • SOCMAR colleges form networks in which each college accepts credits from all the others.

SOCMAR guarantees that you and your adult family members can continue toward completion of your degrees even though the Marine Corps may transfer you several times. There are also degrees available by distance learning that require no classroom residency.

Visit the official SOCMAR website for more details.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)

The Admiral Mike Boorda Seaman-to-Admiral Educational Assistance Program offers grants and/or interest-free loans of up to $2,000 a year to eligible active duty servicemembers accepted to the following programs:

  • Enlisted Commissioning Program
  • Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program
  • Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program

The program is also open to Midshipmen who have been released from active duty for immediate assignment to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Program. Application is made through the Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit, or by contacting NMCRS Headquarters.

Visit the official Admiral Mike Boorda Scholarship Program website for more information.

Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP)

The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers STAP to your spouse if you are an active duty servicemember stationed in an overseas (OCONUS) location. Your spouse may be a full or part-time student studying toward a vocational certificate or an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Amounts granted

  • Undergraduate level - maximum of $300 @ semester and $1500 @ year.
  • Graduate level - maximum of $350 @ semester and $1750 @ year.

To request an application form and information about deadlines, contact one of the following NMCRS offices: Guam, Guantanamo Bay, London, Naples, Okinawa, Roosevelt Roads, Rota, Sigonella, or Yokosuka.

Visit the official Spouse Tuition Aid Program website for more information.

VADM EP Travers Scholarship and Loan Program

To apply, you must be the spouse of an active duty member, or the dependent child of an active or retired member of the Navy or Marine Corps. You must be a full time undergraduate student at an accredited college or university.

  • 1000 grants are awarded each academic year at $2000 each.
  • Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student loan of up to $3000.
  • The loan repayment begins within 30 days of award and must be repaid by allotment within 24 months.
  • Application deadline is 1 March of each year.
  • Late applications will not be considered for the scholarship; however they will be evaluated for a loan.

Visit the official VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loans website for more details.

Related Topics

Family and Spouse Spouse Education GI Bill Transfer

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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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