According to the Association of the United States Army, 60 percent of military spouses are looking for work. Getting a job can be difficult because of frequent relocations, but a college degree or professional license can make it easier. Fortunately, there are many accessible online degree programs, and there are plenty of resources with financial aid for military spouses.
This article has the information you need about scholarships and grants for military spouses who are enrolled in undergraduate studies, professional licensure programs, or graduate education. We’ll also review some schools and degree programs that offer financial aid to the families of armed forces personnel.
Does FAFSA Help Military Spouses?
Yes, military spouses can fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) regardless of income level or profession. Military spouses and other eligible dependents of service members should apply for federal student aid and other financial aid programs as quickly as possible. The information you provide in your FAFSA application helps schools determine how much aid you’ll need to cover education costs.
How to Find Financial Aid for Military Spouses
- Check military and government websites for grants and interest-free loans. VA.gov and Finaid.org are great resources for finding financial aid programs that cater to the needs of military spouses and other military dependents.
- Look at community college and university websites. Many schools, like Regent University, offer special assistance programs to veteran students, spouses of active-duty service members, and eligible family members.
- Fill out the FAFSA form. Every eligible applicant to a college or university should fill out the FAFSA form, whether or not they think they need it. It helps college financial aid offices determine the level of financial assistance each candidate will receive.
- Search for non-profit organizations that assist military personnel. Non-profit organizations like ThanksUSA Foundation and Dolphin Scholarship Foundation do a terrific job assisting veterans and military spouses with funding for tuition and other programs.
- Apply for state benefits. Several states in the US, including Missouri and Washington State, offer financial aid benefits to military dependents. Research the benefits available in your state, and apply if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Financial Aid: The Best Scholarships and Grants for Military Spouses
|Scholarship or Grant Name||Provider||Amount|
|General Henry H Arnold Education Grant||Air Force Aid Society||$500 to $4,000|
|Allied Military Scholarship||Allied Van Lines||$1,000|
|Army Aviation Association of America Scholarship||Army Aviation Association of America||Amount varies|
|Army Scholarship Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship||Army Scholarship Foundation||$1,000|
|Spouse Dolphin Scholars Program||Dolphin Scholarship Foundation||Amount varies|
|Folds of Honor Higher Education Scholarship||Folds of Honor Foundation||$2,500 per term|
|ThankUSA Special Military Spouse Scholarship||ThanksUSA.org||$3,000|
|My Career Advancement Account Scholarship||US Department of Defense||Up to $4,000|
|Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D Fry Scholarship||US Department of Veterans Affairs||Full in-state tuition at a public school or up to $22,800 for out-of-state or private school tuition, plus additional cost of living funds|
|VVOSA MeritScholarship||Wings Over America Scholarship Foundation||Amount varies|
The Best Financial Aid Resources for Military Spouses
Several military institutions and private organizations offer military spouses some of the best financial aid resources. These resources include higher education scholarships, grants, and interest-free loans. We’ll discuss them in detail below.
General Henry H Arnold Education Grant | Air Force Aid Society
The program, also known as the Hap Arnold Grant, provides grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 to eligible Air Force and Space Force dependents annually. Each student receives an amount based on their education costs, family income, and level of need. This is a need-based grant, allowing the organization to allocate grants to candidates who need them most.
Allied Military Scholarship | Allied Van Lines
Allied Van Lines offers this scholarship through an essay competition, with two annual winners who receive $1,000 each in financial assistance. This scholarship is for military personnel and dependents who are getting a degree in operations management. You’ll need to submit an essay, a college enrollment verification letter, recent transcripts, and proof of military affiliation.
Army Aviation Association of America Scholarship | Army Aviation Association of America
Better known as the AAAA scholarship, this program provides financial assistance to military dependents who are enrolled in or accepted to an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited college or university. The program caters to current members of the Army Aviation Association of America, along with their spouses, dependent children, grandchildren, and unmarried siblings.
Army Scholarship Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship | Army Scholarship Foundation
Eligible students for this scholarship program include the spouses and children of active-duty US Army personnel. You must be in good academic standing and enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. This scholarship awards students $1,000 per year, and students are encouraged to apply each year they are enrolled in postsecondary education programs.
Spouse Dolphin Scholars Program | The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation
This scholarship is one of several that the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation awards annually. It is available to the spouses of current or former members of the submarine force or support staff. The scholarship recipients can enroll in any program of study, allowing them to take advantage of military benefits to reach their educational goals in any field.
Folds of Honor Higher Education Scholarship | Folds of Honor Foundation
The Folds of Honor Foundation helps military families overcome financial issues after an active-duty service member dies in military service. This scholarship must be applied to college tuition, and students need to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher for two consecutive academic terms.
ThanksUSA Special Military Spouse Scholarship | ThanksUSA.org
Spouses of active-duty and retired service members qualify for this scholarship. ThanksUSA is the non-profit foundation that runs this college scholarship program to help qualified applicants achieve their academic goals.
My Career Advancement Account Scholarship | US Department of Defense
Eligible spouses of active duty and deceased military personnel can request the MyCAA scholarship at schools across the US. This workforce development program for military spouses has a maximum assistance limit of $4,000, which recipients can use while earning technical degrees, undergraduate degrees, or attending graduate school.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D Fry Scholarship | US Department of Veterans Affairs
This need-based scholarship program is open to the families of deceased personnel from any service branch of the US military who died on or after September 11, 2001. An eligible applicant may receive this scholarship to earn an undergraduate degree. Also, applicants get up to 36 months of benefits, including scholarship funds for the total tuition costs for public colleges or professional training programs.
VVOSA Merit Scholarship | Wings Over America Scholarship Foundation
This scholarship is open to families of active-duty personnel or retired Navy aviation personnel. Applicants must be seeking their first undergraduate degree at an accredited college or be full-time students earning a technical or vocational degree. This makes it a great program for non-traditional students. This scholarship is renewable, and applicants apply annually.
Schools That Offer Financial Aid for Military Spouses
Davenport University offers a military spouse assistance scholarship for students studying in technical training certificate programs and associate degree programs. The MyCAA scholarship is also available to spouses of certain levels of active duty service members. Spouses of retirees or active National Guard and Reserve members are eligible for this scholarship.
Hawkeye Community College
This institution offers several educational programs and associate degrees that cater to both the educational needs and non-educational needs of military families. These programs include the Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA) program and the GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops program.
Jefferson Community College
Forty-two percent of students at this community college have military affiliations. The college also offers financial aid resources like interest-free loans, grants, and scholarships to students who meet the eligibility criteria. You should still submit the FAFSA or apply to other VA educational benefit programs.
University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers special subsidized tuition rates for military service members and their spouses. Eligible spouses can enroll in undergraduate study programs or be enrolled in a graduate degree program.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Some options for spouses of military personnel at this University include MyCAA scholarships, re-entry scholarships, loans, Pell Grants, work-study jobs, and veteran education benefits. You may qualify for one or several of them, depending on your unique situation.
Should You Apply for Military Spouses Financial Aid?
Yes, you should apply for military spouses financial aid. There are many forms of tuition assistance and scholarship programs available to military spouses as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. You can get the education you want with a reduced cost of tuition. These funding opportunities can help you start on your desired career path and reach your career goals.
Financial Aid for Military Spouses FAQ
Yes, federal agencies do offer tuition scholarships to spouses of military personnel. For instance, the Marine Corps and US Coast Guard offer tuition scholarships to the spouses of active-duty military. There are plenty of federal programs providing scholarships, educational grants, and federal loans to military spouses.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a condition in the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows students who are military dependents to attend expensive private schools at subsidized costs. An undergraduate student may receive a Yellow Ribbon tuition scholarship to cover some of the cost of a degree program.
No, unfortunately, college programs are not free for military spouses and dependents. However, these individuals can apply for federal student loans, federal student aid programs, and other specific financial resources to significantly reduce the average cost of undergraduate tuition.
Yes, veterans can qualify for Pell Grants as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. The grant offers nearly $6,500 for the 2021-2022 academic year, although the specific amount depends on several factors. These factors include enrollment status, family income, cost of attendance, and other veteran education benefits.
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