Military Spouse Scholarships: Finding, Applying and Getting One!Updated: November 3, 2022
Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices for their country. The stress of moving, deployments, new jobs and the constant unfamiliar faces can be overwhelming and exhausting. There are some hidden perks of the job you may not know of or be taking advantage of. One of them being military spouse scholarships.
There are many different types of scholarships for military spouses pursuing an education made available by federal and state governments, individual military branches, and private organizations.
Where to Look
In Your Community
If your spouse is on active duty, try starting with on-base resources. For example, the Airman & Family Readiness Centers, Employment Readiness staff and Military and Family Support Centers can offer spouses a plethora of information, including employment, educational services, and scholarship information. These are great resources that are unfortunately underutilized by many military families.
The Veterans Benefits Administration offers a wide variety of services for military families, including VA spouse school benefits for surviving spouses and spouses of permanently disabled Veterans with a service-connected disability. Navigating VA benefits can be a challenge, and there are both government and nonprofit staff who can walk you through the process.
Military Spouse Clubs/Groups
Military spouse and Auxiliary clubs near base frequently offer scholarships for military spouses and dependents.
Your School’s Financial Aid Department
Representatives from the university or college you are applying for or currently attending will guide you in your scholarship search. They may have specific military spouse school benefits and scholarships available or will be able to provide a list of general scholarships. You may qualify for a scholarship based on your ethnic background, area of study, income bracket, or GPA. You will need to fill out a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) for many options, including Pell Grants, through the financial aid office. Do not hesitate to ask for support while filling out this form.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) of the Department of Defense is an educational financing program designed for military spouses. The program offers a military spouse grant of up to $4,000 for spouses pursuing certifications or licenses for portable careers. Spouses of active duty service members activated Guard, and Reserve members are welcome to apply for this grant.
Fastweb offers thousands of scholarships for students. You can target your searches with keywords such as your educational goals, achievements, interests, and military affiliation.
Nonprofits Scholarships and Support for Military Spouses and Survivors
National Military Family Association (NMFA)
The NMFA is a nonprofit that partners with schools and organizations to help spouses seeking scholarships, licenses, certificates, training, continuing education credits, exams, or help with fees.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
PVA is an advocacy organization for Veterans and all people with disabilities. They provide scholarships for PVA members and their immediate family members.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Auxiliary
This arm of the DAV provides tuition assistance for injured Veterans and immediate family members for educational opportunities/certificate programs that are not traditional schools or universities.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
In addition to grief counseling services, this nonprofit offers an Education Support Services department that has a scholarship guide and free coordinator help to make sure you receive all benefits and additional opportunities available to you.
Society of Military Spouses in STEM
This group is a nonprofit run by military spouses with the purpose of helping spouses interested in science, technology, engineering, and math careers. It provides mentors and connections to scholarships for spouses seeking to advance their career or begin in these fields.
Army Women’s Foundation
This association provides scholarships to women in the military, active duty or Veterans, and their descendants. Many military spouses were active duty, but made a career shift. This scholarship program may be a good fit for them.
The Rotary Foundation
This international organization provides educational scholarships to anyone except Rotary Club members and their families. Almost anywhere you are stationed, including internationally, you can find a Rotary Club.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Unmet Needs Program
This national nonprofit provides many different forms of advocacy and support. The Unmet Needs Program is for military families experiencing financial difficulty. Their direct monetary assistance can help offset unforeseen expenses.
Many of the resources that guided you in your search toward finding a scholarship can also help you with the application process. Family and employment support offices on base, your school’s financial aid department, and military-related nonprofits all provide application support free of charge.
Websites such as Fastweb Scholarships Articles or Scholarships.com “Funding Your Education” provide informational articles and tips when applying for scholarships and financial aid.
Applying for scholarships takes work and determination, but it’s worth every second! The key to getting a scholarship largely depends on the time you put into it. Whether it’s creating a winning essay or simply filling out a 10-page application, your time and effort may be well rewarded.
When it comes to applying for scholarships and financial aid, take your time. Make a list of scholarships you are eligible for and knock them out one by one. Don’t be afraid to utilize help that is available to you. Getting a second eye or another opinion on your application is always helpful.