Military service members make incredible sacrifices for our nation, and so do their families. Civilians may not fully understand the difficulties that military spouses endure on a routine basis. However, certain programs and services have been established specifically to help military men and women and their spouses. Scholarship and assistance programs, employment resources, and community blogs are three such services that military spouses may find useful.
Scholarship and Assistance Programs
Military spouse scholarships provide financial support to spouses who want to pursue a college degree. Below is a list of some of the scholarships available:
The National Military Family Association offers scholarships and professional funds ranging from $500 to $2,500 to military spouses with a valid military ID. Recipients must use the one-time payment award within 12 months. Applications are accepted from December through January each year, and applicants can reapply each year, even if they have been awarded funds in a previous year.
The Department of Defense offers Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (also known as Spouse Tuition Assistance), which provides up to $4,000 in financial assistance to spouses who are pursuing an associate degree, license, or credentials leading to employment in portable career fields. It is available to spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2, including activated guard and reserve members who are in those ranks. Applicants must complete the program of study within three years from the date they start the first course.
The Stateside Spouse Educational Assistance Program, which awards up to $2,500 per academic year, is available to spouses and widows of U.S. Army soldiers. The money is awarded annually for up to four years. Recipients must attend school on a full-time basis during the first year, and must reside in the United States.
Spouses of active duty sailors and Marines can apply for the Spouse Tuition Aid Program, which awards an undergraduate maximum amount of $300 per semester and $1,500 per year. At the graduate level, the semester maximum is $350, and the yearly maximum is $1,750. For more information, spouses should contact their local office of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Spouses of active duty Navy and Marine service members who are full-time undergraduate students can apply for one of 1,000 E.P. Travers Scholarships. The scholarships are in the amount of $2,000 and awarded each academic year. The deadline is March 1 of each year. For details, spouses can contact their local office of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
The Gold Star Scholarship is awarded to spouses and children of Navy and Marine personnel who were killed in the line of duty. Based on a combination of academic and financial factors, the scholarships range from $50 to $2,500 each academic year. Qualifying spouses should contact their local office of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
The ThanksUSA Scholarship for spouses and dependent children is available to applicants who are currently enrolled in a university program. The scholarship awards up to $3,000. Spouses can also use the scholarship for nondegree programs, such as certificates or licensure, even if they have already completed an undergraduate degree.
A variety of State Veteran Benefits are also available for veterans and their dependents who want to pursue educational goals.
In addition to scholarships and financial assistance, here are a number of resources designed to help military spouses gain employment.
Military.com Spouse lists job openings and career tips; some tips are geared specifically toward military mothers.
Real Warriors.net provides Department of Defense employment resources and various types of other government and community employment resources.
Military Spouse Blogs
For military spouses looking for insight and support from others in their shoes, here is a list of military spouse blogs.
IVMF Voices is a forum where stakeholders in the veteran and military family community can share information, express opinions, and engage with the ongoing, public dialogue focused on issues and challenges facing veterans in America.
The Meat and Potatoes of Life features the day-to-day adventures of a military wife with three kids and a dog. The blog is also featured as a weekly column that appears in civilian and military newspapers throughout the country.
The Deployment Diatribes features a Navy wife with four sons, one of whom has autism. It offers insights into military family life and parenting.
A Modern Day Fairy Tale features articles about the author’s life as a military wife and the mother of a son who has autism. It also features crafts, recipes, and product reviews.
Army Wife 101 features the life of a military wife and mother of two, as well as opinions about her life in the military spouse community, military discounts, product reviews, and recipes.
Nuts in a Shell is a blog detailing the author’s weight loss journey, life as an Army wife and mother to four kids. The blog links to other blogs by her military friends.
To Love a Soldier was started as a way for the author to express her frustration at being a military wife and her journey to find fulfillment in this role, while offering support to other military families.
Ramblings of a Marine Wife features a wife and mother of two discussing such topics as when to buy your child a cellphone, ways to boost your confidence, and other practical topics.