Completing an education is hard enough without having to stress about how to pay for it. If you have a military affiliation and are thinking about college (or are already working on a degree), you’re in luck. Organizations have stepped up to offer education assistance to offset the cost of tuition and fees.
Yes, that’s right. There are programs — scholarships, loans, and grants — designed with you in mind. But it’s going to take some work and a lot of organization. Please note: If no deadline is indicated, it means the application period for 2022 has ended and you should check back during the same timeframe in 2023.
A few things to consider ahead of time:
- Read all of the criteria early so that you can plan for any time-consuming requirements, like letters of recommendation.
- Create reminders for deadlines so that you don’t miss any important dates.
The latest list of financial aid offerings from around the military community:
National Military Family Association
The basics: Awards available for career funding, degrees, clinical supervision towards licensure in the mental health profession, and business expenses.
Army Emergency Relief
Link (for spouses): Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program
The basics: The Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program is a need-based scholarship program established to assist Army spouses in obtaining an undergraduate degree or similar professional certification.
Deadline: The application process for the 2022-2023 cycle opened June 1; spouses may apply year-round and must re-apply each year.
Who’s eligible: Spouses of service members with the rank of E1-E5; W1-W2; O1-O2.
The basics: Maximum tuition assistance benefit of $4000 to be used toward an associate degree, license or certification.
Deadline: Rolling basis.
The Bennie Adkins Foundation
The basics: Special Forces soldiers (E5 – E9) on active duty, recently separated (within 5 years), or retired (within 5 years) who have been accepted by or already attending an accredited college, university, or vocational institution.
Deadline: Rolling basis.
BRANCH AID SOCIETIES
Each service branch has an equivalent branch aid society that supports service members and their families through various programs – including education assistance.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Who’s eligible: Spouses of active duty or retired sailors and Marines.
The basics: Interest-free loans and grants for undergraduates at an accredited 2- or 4-year education, technical or vocational institution.
Deadline: Check back in 2023.
Air Force Aid Society
Who’s eligible: Spouses of active duty and Title 10 reservists, and widows.
The basics: Needs-based grant ranging from $500 – $4000.
Deadline:The 2023-2024 academic year applications will be available in early January 2023.
Army Emergency Relief (for military kids)
Link (for military kids): https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org/scholarships/child/
The basics: The MG James Ursano Scholarship Program is a need-based scholarship program established to assist children of Army soldiers in obtaining their first undergraduate degree.
Deadline: The application cycle typically runs from January – April.
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
Who’s eligible: Spouses of Coast Guardsmen.
What’s the basics: Loans and grants for a degree, license, or certification.
Details: Programs include Stafford/PLUS loan fee reimbursement, education loans, Stafford/PLUS Loan Fee Reimbursement, Supplemental Education Grants, and Tutor.com availability. You may be eligible for more than one program, so make copies of your application so it can be easily submitted to other programs.
Deadline: Rolling basis.
Modern Military Association of America
The basics: Two military spouses will be awarded between $3,000 – $5,000.
Deadline: Applications closed in June 2022.
FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program
The basics: Current spouses or surviving spouses of a uniformed service member; Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, (Active duty, National Guard and reserves, or retirees) entitled to DEERS card possession or eligibility.
Details: The fellowship provides military spouses the opportunity to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor® certification.
Virginia Advisory Council on Military Education
Who’s eligible: Active-duty and military spouses/dependents of drilling reservists, National Guard or retirees, permanently disabled military member or their family member, family member of service member who is missing or KIA, or any veteran or retiree of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Details: Application dates are yet to be announced.
Deadline: To be determined.
Pat Tillman Foundation
Who’s eligible: Current spouses of veterans or active-duty service members, including surviving spouses.
The basics: $10,000 scholarship to assist with academic expenses, such as tuition, fees, and books.
Details: Application window runs throughout the month of February. Tillman Scholars are not only given scholarship opportunities but they are also able to join in leadership development programs and professional opportunities.
Deadline: Opens February 2023.
Link to receive an application (click apply for services): Military Spouse Scholarships & Caregiver Scholarships
The basics: Five different categories of scholarships will be awarded between $1,500 – $2,500.
Details: Applications for spring 2023 will be accepted starting Aug. 1.
Council of College and Military Educators (CCME)
The basics: The organization awards $1,000 scholarships to U.S. military service members (active duty/veterans) and spouses of service members who are working towards the completion of higher education degrees.
Details: 50 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 will be offered to active-duty service members, veterans, military spouses and military kids.
Deadline: Oct. 17, 2022
Coast Guard Foundation
Who’s eligible: Spouses and children of enlisted Coast Guard members, children of fallen Coast Guard members, and enlisted Coast Guard members.
Details: There are several scholarship opportunities available based on eligibility. Visit their website for more information.
Deadline: Check back in February 2023.
DUSA – The Society of Daughters of The United States Army
Who’s eligible: Applicants must be the daughter, granddaughter, stepdaughter, or adopted daughter of a career commissioned or warrant officer in the United States Army who is on active duty, retired after at least 20 years active duty service, was medically retired from active duty, or died while on active duty. High school senior and college applicants must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in academic work completed to date.
The basics: $1,500 scholarships awarded; number of scholarships awarded vary by year.
Details: Scholarship awards are delivered in two payments to directly to the institution.
Deadline: Applications are typically due in March.
Air & Space Forces Association
Who’s eligible: Eligibility is dependent on scholarship opportunity. There are scholarships available for Air Force and Space Force active duty, retired, veterans, spouses, and children.
The basics: The Air Force Association scholarships are provided by “caring organizations and individuals [to] help students pursue their dreams of higher education with generous grants. These programs exemplify the lifelong bond of airmen and the commitment of our supporting community.”
Details: Multiple scholarships are available for varying amounts.
Deadline: Application period runs December – April.
Association of the United States Army
Who’s eligible: Eligibility is dependent on scholarship opportunity. There are scholarships available for U.S. Army active duty, retired, veterans, spouses, and children.
The basics: The Association of the United States Army offers several different scholarship opportunities for active duty, retired, veteran, National Guard, and reserve service members as well as spouses and children. Different scholarship opportunities are available including those in STEM programs, dental programs, and more.
Details: Multiple scholarships are available for varying amounts through AUSA. Visit their website for a full list and links to each application. Applicants must hold an active AUSA membership for some scholarships.
Deadline: Applications open February 2023.
Who’s eligible: Any military child whose parent(s) are serving or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces can apply. Students must be enrolled or plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program that is leading to a bachelor’s degree or a junior college that is designed to directly transfer to a four-year program. High school applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and college applications much have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
The basics: The Fisher House, in partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency, gives a total of 500 scholarships, awarded at $2,000 each, to eligible military children. At least one recipient is selected for each commissary location where qualified applications are received. You do not have to have a commissary in your direct location — simply chose the one that is closest to you.
Deadline: Opens mid-December 2022.
LOCAL SPOUSE CLUBS
There are dozens of spouse clubs co-located to military installations around the world. (Yes, we said world – including OCONUS locations). These organizations are a place of camaraderie for spouses, but also participate in philanthropic activities like scholarships and charitable giving. At the start of each new year, the clubs usually open up applications for scholarship programs with specific eligibility requirements. Some require applicants to be a member and some do not.
How to find them: A simple internet search of your installation and the phrase ‘military spouse club’ should produce results. Also, the club may be officer, enlisted, or combined.
TIP: Local spouse clubs typically open applications in December/January.
Below are a few examples of those currently offering education assistance —
NATIONAL SPOUSE CLUBS
Just as there are local spouse clubs, similar organizations exist on the national level and yes, they want to support military spouse education too.
Navy Wives Clubs of America
Who’s eligible: Up to 30 scholarships awarded annually, with eligibility for spouses/dependents of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.
Deadline: March 31.