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Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs

Department of Defense
The Career Advancement Accounts program provides assistance to military spouses seeking to gain the skills and credentials necessary to begin or advance their career. Career Advancement Accounts (CAA) covers the costs of training and education, enabling participants to earn a degree or credential in in-demand, portable fields in almost any community across the country. CAA can be used to pay up to $3,000 in fees for one year, and may be renewed for one additional year, for a total two-year account amount of up to $6,000 per spouse. Click here to learn more about the Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program. Not what your looking for? Return to Military Education Guide.

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Military Branches


Tip

The Army has announced that eligible enlisted soldiers may be able to transfer part of their GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent as part of their selective reenlistment package. Contact your Army retention career counselor for information.

Veterans Affairs

Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance Program
The 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, on-the-job training, and apprenticeship. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, refresher, and deficiency, courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

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

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

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:

  • Scholarships are too difficult to win and applying requires too much work.
  • This is true that some scholarships require a written essay. But, it is important to remember that scholarship and grant applications vary widely. Some require nothing more than a short application. Besides, it may be the only essay you ever get paid to write.
  • Scholarships are too difficult to find.
  • This statement is proven to be 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 where, when, and how to apply.
  • VA education benefits eliminate the need for scholarships and grants.
  • This statement is true. 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.

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.

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.

Air Force

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

Servicemembers 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.

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.

General George S. Brown Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP)
The purpose of the Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) is to provide partial tuition assistance for spouses of Active Duty airmen or officers, who accompany members to overseas locations and will be attending college programs. The focus of the program is on the completion of degree or certificate programs that provide increased occupational opportunities for spouses.

The program provides tuition Assistance (TA) at a rate of 50% of unmet tuition charge per course, with a maximum of $1,500 per academic year and a term maximum, which is calculated by dividing the annual maximum ($1,500) by the number of terms within the academic year. For purposes of this program, "academic year" is defined as the 12-month period beginning August 1 through July 31 of each year.

Visit the official General George S. Brown Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) website for more details on 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.

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.

  • Application deadline is 1 March of each year.
  • 1000 grants are awarded each academic year at $2000 each.
  • The loan repayment begins within 30 days of award and must be repaid by allotment within 24 months.
  • Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student loan of up to $3000.
  • 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 colleges form networks in which each college accepts credits from all the others.
  • SOCCOAST consists of colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degree programs on or accessible to Navy and Marine installations worldwide.

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.

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.

Marine Corps

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

SOCMAR is the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the Marines.

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

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

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

  • 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.
  • 1000 grants are awarded each academic year at $2000 each.
  • Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student loan of up to $3000.
  • 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.

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