If you are the spouse of a military service member, you may be thinking about heading back to college. Maybe you gave up your college dreams after high school for one reason or another. Perhaps you were in charge of raising the family while your military spouse is being deployed.
Whatever the case, and you have a desire to get back to college to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, it can certainly be challenging, especially on a military servicemember’s salary. There are numerous options available to most military spouses that can provide the financial support and assistance they need to attend college or university.
When you talk about student loans for military spouses, the most important thing is to make sure the loan has a low interest rate and deferred plan. The last thing anyone needs to deal with while they are attending college classes is to have to begin paying back a loan before they have even completed their education.
Fortunately, for military members and their family members, there are a number of programs available to help them, their children, and their spouses get back to college and pursue a new career.
There are scholarships, grants, and student loans to provide financial support and assistance that military spouses may need to help them afford tuition, books and supplies, and more. Here are a few of those opportunities to consider.
The Air Force ROTC College Scholarship
This scholarship program is made available to college bound students who intend to pursue certain foreign language and technical degrees. This is a scholarship and not a loan. It is available to military members and may also be applicable to children of military members and even their spouses.
To learn more about the Air Force ROTC College Scholarship Program, visit their website here or call 1-866-423-7682.
The Veterans Affairs Education Benefits.
The Veterans Administration provides educational benefits to veterans, their widows, and other dependents, including children. This is made available through the G.I. Bill.
Spouses of military members were actively enrolled in their service may also qualify for certain benefits through the Veterans Administration. The VA also provides a vocational rehabilitation program that can pay for a veteran’s college education, including books and supplies and a monthly stipend while they are attending college. This can be tremendously beneficial to those military members who have been injured or disabled, whether it was during their active duty service or not.
It’s advisable that any military member or spouse visit the Veterans Affairs Education Benefits website for more details. You can visit that website here.
The Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is available to any United States citizen to help them pay for college. It is a need-based grant that does not need to be repaid. In order to qualify for this particular grant, a college student needs to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
In this form they will need to fill out certain financial information. That will help determine whether or not they are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.
A great asset about the Federal Pell Grant is that many military members and their dependents, including children and their spouse, may qualify based on their income. For the widow of a former military service member, the financial constraints of their situation could qualify them for various grants, including this one.
In order to begin the application process, students should visit the Department of Education website for Federal Student Aid here.
Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Transferability
Thanks to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, there is a special provision that has been included in the program that allows career service members to share their G.I. Bill benefits with immediate family members. This is focused on educational benefits.
Only unused G.I. credits can be transferred. Each military service member has 36 months of benefits available and they begin their service. If the service member used 12 months of their service benefits at this point, 24 months of benefits are available to be shared.
They can share these benefits with their spouse, children, or other immediate family members. To learn more about the rules and regulations with regard to transferring G.I. Bill benefits, visit their website here.
Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program was established to provide up to $4,000 of financial assistance to military spouses who are actively pursuing a degree program, license, or a credential that will ultimately lead to employment in a portable career field.
This is great for military spouses who have an interest in getting back to work, changing the career, and boosting their financial well-being. For those military spouses who may be can interested in this particular program, they should visit the website here.
Federal Student Loans
Any United States citizen is eligible to apply for Federal Student Loans. These are low interest, deferred loans that are provided by private financial institutions and backed by the United States government. The student can take out a loan that can be used to pay for tuition, books and supplies, and some living expenses while they attend college full-time.
The student would need to begin paying this loan back within six months of graduation. They can apply for forbearance if they have difficulty finding work after they’ve graduated, but they can only do this so many times.
This is a great opportunity for some college bound students to afford their education. In order to apply for Federal Student Loans, they need to fill out the FAFSA form and they can begin the application process here.