Are you a military spouse interesting in pursuing a Certificate, Associates, Bachelors, or Masters degree program? Are you aware of the many programs offering financial assistance for military spouses? These programs are designed to help both active duty spouses and reserve duty spouses pursue their higher education goals at a significantly reduced cost.
There are a wide variety of different types of financial aid for military spouses, from the Post 9/11 GI Bill dependents benefits system to the Yellow Ribbon Program. But beyond these well-known tuition assistance programs, there are also quite a few programs designed exclusively for military spouses, like military spouse scholarships and grants, that can significantly reduce the price of getting your degree.
Most of these programs are available for free and simply require that you fill out an application. With so many organizations, associations, and groups offering free money, why wouldn’t you at least look into the available options? The information in this post alone could save you thousands of dollars!
There are plenty of private and federal organizations that offer financial assistance opportunities promoting discounted education for military spouses. From organizations like Hope for the Warriors to FAFSA, sources of tuition assistance for military spouses are widespread and numerous. Some students may even be able to completely cover the costs of their entire education, though that will not be the case for everyone.
One of the most predominant sources of military spouse financial aid and support is The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA). MyCAA is a career development and employment assistance program sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD), and they cater specifically to military spouses. The program works to assist military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or associate’s degrees (excluding General Studies and Liberal Arts programs) necessary for gaining employment. They even recently revised their military spouse education assistance and tuition benefits program rules.
Here are the requirements for eligibility under the new MyCAA program guidelines:
If the spouse of National Guard and/or AGR member, the sponsor must be on federal Title 10 active duty orders as reported in DEERS.
Spouses of Guard/Reserve members in an Alert, Transition Assistance, or Post Deployment status are not eligible.
MyCAA accounts will be limited to the new $4,000 maximum benefit with a $2000 fiscal year cap. Waivers to the fiscal year cap will be available for spouses pursuing licensure or credentials with a cost that exceeds the $2,000 fiscal year cap up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000.
Spouses must finish their program of study within three years from the start date of the first course.
Funding is limited to only Associate’s degrees, credentials and licensure programs.
If pursuing higher education is one of your dreams, be sure to take advantage of the many financial assistance opportunities designed to help you achieve that goal. Don’t forget that there is a massive support network built specifically for military spouses like yourself! Make sure to do your research and exhaust all of your opportunities before signing your education checks because some tuition assistance programs, scholarships, or grants may not offer retroactive reimbursement.
To help you balance the difficult lifestyle inherent in being a military spouse, it might be wise to consider earning your degree online from a college for military spouses. Both campus and online colleges offer support for military spouse education assistance programs, and many online colleges have programs geared specifically toward military students as well.
Knowing which benefits are available to you is only part of the battle- the next step is applying them to a school that will help you maximize your return on investment. All colleges are not created equal and some offer better support for military dependents, so don’t just sign up at the closest campus-based school and call it a day. Start your research by viewing our list of the factors that determine a military-friendly college.
You could potentially save thousands of dollars by contacting additional schools, comparing their programs and prices, and signing up for the college that offers the best deal. Start with our list of the Best Colleges for Military Students, as these schools are specifically focused on providing support for military learners and military dependents).
If you have any problems during the applications process, or if you have questions about specific benefits programs, please don’t hesitate to ask us for additional information. We’re here to help!
Good luck out there!