Serving ones country is a matter of prestige on its own, and to be the spouse of someone who has dedicated themselves to such purpose is also a matter of pride and honor. While being a military spouse comes with its unique complexities and disadvantages, it also provides a good share of benefits that range from education, healthcare, and life insurance, amongst others. Balancing all of that is key if you wish to make the most of your career and family life while your husband or wife is away from home.
What Are Military Spouse Education Benefits?
Being married to a serviceman or servicewoman makes one entitled to receive assistance from the government. This is because a large portion of military spouses stay at home and would have no other steady source of income. Education benefits exist in the form of scholarships, grants, counseling, training programs, etc. Military spouses get these benefits so that they can pave their way to a solid and substantial career in the future. It ensures that the spouse, in the absence of their term-serving partner, is not abandoned and left to fend for themselves. There exists a broad spectrum in regards to education benefits for a spouse. It can vary from one situation to another, and from time served, pay grade, and rank in the armed services.
Military Spouse Education Benefits by Branch
Just as different branches of the armed services serve different purposes, the way they offer education benefits for a military spouse is also different.
For members of the coast guard and their spouses, there is a Supplemental Educational Grant, or SEG. Its purpose is to provide monetary assistance in the form of reimbursements for the tuition of a Vocational and Technical Training (VoTech) certificate, a college degree, or a general equivalency diploma (GED). To be qualified for a SEG grant, an individual must be admitted into a university undergraduate or post graduate program, a VoTech program that has been agreed to by the Department of Education of the Department Of Veteran Affair, a GED program, or have completed a course that is affiliated with a university or a VoTech program. An SEG is $500 a year per individual per year. It can either be given as a whole amount or at different times of the year equating to a collective amount of $500. It is applied during the current year irrespective of the time when the expense is run up. The reimbursement needs to be applied for within one year of payment for a qualified item. In a family with two or more CGMA clients, grants of up to $500 may be given to each CGMA client for the students inside that family. Be that as it may, not more than $500 per year may be given in the interest of any one student. Eligibility for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) educational programs is also obtained. Items that qualify for reimbursement through SEG are:
- Registration & enrollment fees
- Lab fees
- Activity fees
- Graduation fees
- Lab and workbooks
- Art supplies
- Audiovisual tapes
- Graphing and scientific calculators
Items that do not qualify for reimbursement through SEG are:
- Transportation & parking
- Field Trips
- Tests of any sort
- Ordinary school supplies and general purpose software
Navy & Marine Corps
For the members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and their spouses, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) exists. It offers interest-free loans for students of undergraduate/post-graduate and VoTech programs for 2-4 years from a reputable educational institution. To be qualified for the assistance, the student must be children of active, retired & deceased sailors and marines, and/or spouses of active or retired marines. The applicant must be under the age of 23 as of May 1, 2019 and a MECEP/MECP student.
- The student needs to be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS).
- The student needs to be enrolled/planning to enroll fulltime in a full year i.e. from August to May.
- The student needs to be perusing an undergraduate or graduate degree or VoTech course in the United States from an institution that is regionally and nationally accredited by the US Secretary of Education
- The student needs to have a CGPA of at least 2.0 out of a possible 4.0.
- The student needs to be able to prove a need for financial assistance.
A loan or grant ranging from $500 - $3,000 can be granted per academic year. This amount is determined by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. The amount is not given to the student themselves and is instead given to the institution to which it is due. This loan/grant is ONLY for payment of tuition, books, fees, room, and board. The loan payment is due within 24 months from when the expense is incurred. A new application must be submitted for each academic year by the student
Members of the United States Army and their families, and all family members dependent on them, are provided with a plethora of benefits. They do, however, differ depending on whether an individual is still serving or has retired from service. While serving, members of the army often incline towards tuition assistance for their own personal undergraduate, graduate, degrees or certificate programs. It also covers the expenses of remedial and college preparation courses. It does not, however, cover a doctoral degree. The Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP) and the Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SSEAP) is for their spouses. The OSEAP is a need based program that is designed to give the spouses of servicemen and women an opportunity to obtain an education and follow their career objectives. The spouse must be physically present at an overseas residence or be enrolled, accepted, and/or pending acceptance as a student in a university program or a vocational program. After consideration of one's income, possessions and belongings, size of family, and situation, a grant of up to $500 per academic term, of which there are five, may be given. This amounts to up to $2,500 for an academic year. The programs that are valid for this are ones that provide academic credit, high school equivalency training, or English language proficiency training. The Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program is essentially the same as its overseas counterpart. The only difference being that it is for active duty members of the armed forces who are in the United States. It also covers spouses of retired personnel.
Other Military Spouse Education Benefits
- The National Military Family Association (NMFA) provides the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military spouse scholarship that can be used once the student is enrolled in a professional certification, undergraduate, or postgraduate degree program. This caters to the spouses of active duty Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers, and the spouses and widows/widowers of retired soldiers.
- A scholarship program for military children by Fisher House provides a $1,500 scholarship for a child of an army family. The student can use this money to purchase books or pay for his/her tuition. The student must, however, be enrolled in
- Members of the armed forces who are eligible for the new GI bill may also transfer their transferrable benefits to spouse and or children.
The MyCAA or Military Spouse Career Advancement Account is a DOD branch scholarship. If you are eligible for a career training program tuition grant, MyCAA is definitely something you should explore in order to prepare yourself for fresh and exciting opportunities out there that would help you build your own career. In order to qualify, the service personnel should be the within pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. If you can begin and finish your program while your partner is on Title 10 military requests, you can get a grant. Projects for affirmations for the most part go from six to nine months in term. There's even an online, self-managed program that you could complete at your own pace and time. Try it out!