Education isn’t cheap and it’s this simple fact that holds so many people back from obtaining an education that could prepare them for a future career. Military members and their spouses are subject to even more obstacles such as frequent moves and limited time to attend classes. The Department of Defense saw that they could remove the financial obstacles that was holding back service members and their spouses and developed financial assistance programs to make education available to those that wanted it.
One of the most overlooked benefits available to current active duty and Reserves service members is the Tuition Assistance program. Each branch of the military administers their own program and eligibility varies by branch but the basics are the same. Service members in good standing who meet eligibility receive 100% of their tuition and fees for approved courses. Courses are not limited to four year degree programs; career training and certification programs also meet the requirements.
Service members aren’t the only ones supporting families in today’s society. The Department of Defense also created a program called the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). MyCAA provides a maximum of $4,000 with an annual cap of $2,000 to eligible spouses who are seeking associate degrees, career training, certification, or licensing in an approved field of study, mostly those fields that allow for career portability. Unlike Tuition Assistance, not all spouses are eligible. Eligibility is based on the service member’s rank and is only available to spouses of E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-2.
In addition to the financial assistance offered through the Department of Defense, there are a myriad of scholarships available to military service members, their spouses, and their children. The National Military Family Association provides scholarships to the spouses of active duty, Reserves, and injured or fallen service members. The Fisher House Foundation offers scholarships for military children seeking a higher education after high school. The Pat Tillman Foundation provides scholarships to service members and their spouses seeking an education in the fields of medicine, law, business, education, and the arts. There are also private scholarship and grant programs through individual schools and states and it’s as easy as a Google search to find them.
Don’t let your education suffer because of money. Tuition Assistance is an earned benefit for service members and should be put to good use by everyone serving. An education will not only help you once you return to the civilian world, it will also make you a stronger asset to the military during your tenure of service. And military spouses shouldn’t feel like they have to put their dreams on hold because they are supporting a service member. Online learning and programs like MyCAA make education readily available no matter what your schedule and your finances.