Updated in 2021
Military life can throw some curveballs… but it can also provide huge benefits. Education is one of those perfect juxtapositions of curveballs and benefits from your military journey.
Perhaps you’re looking to start your college journey– you’re interested in earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Maybe you’re “reskilling” or “upskilling”. Maybe you’re finding a new calling or rediscovering a passion you thought had passed you by.
Whatever the reason for going to school or going back to school, military spouses have unique opportunities at their fingertips… including access to scholarships and grants for military spouses!
Are there scholarships for military spouses?
The short answer? Yes! There are definitely scholarships for military spouses available.
As you’re doing your research surrounding courses of studies and which programs to apply to, don’t forget the hundreds of grants and scholarships available for military spouses! I’ve collected quite a few here– from round-up pages that list tons of scholarships to individual opportunities, there are many options beyond MyCAA.
Start here when looking for military spouse scholarships:
Ask about scholarships and grants for military spouses directly.
Ask your school directly if they offer any incentives, scholarships, or grants for military spouses. It never hurts to ask, and you might be surprised. Universities and colleges often have websites with tons of information, especially when it comes to financial aid. (And sometimes those websites aren’t the most… navigable.) That might mean that you’re overlooking or missing something that could save you hundreds–or thousands–of dollars.
Hunt for military spouse scholarships locally.
Search locally for scholarships and grants specifically for military spouses. You’ll have the most success winning these where (most likely) application rates are lower than national opportunities. Try service organizations like your local spouses club, aid/relief society, and community organizations like the American Legion and VFW.
Go big when applying for grants and scholarship opportunities.
Cast a wide net. Apply for as many opportunities as you are able to. Simply applying for grants and scholarships aren’t a guarantee that you’ll get them. The more you apply for, the more chances you’ll have at garnering at least one. To do this, though, you’ll have to be organized and ready. Make sure you have a system in place so you can keep everything straight!
Read the fine print.
But in the same vein… don’t waste your time applying for grants and scholarships that don’t apply to you. It can be tempting to fill out every application that comes your way and that you have the faintest association with. You might also waste time accidentally completing applications that you don’t qualify for. Are you applying for financial aid opportunities that have military branch qualifications? Do you meet the financial thresholds (if there are any) for the scholarship? Are you applying for a scholarship, grant, or loan (and do you know the difference)?
Lists of Scholarships and Organizations Offering Financial and Educational Assistance for Military Spouses
- Military.com’s Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs: Military.com offers a robust list of educational assistance within the military community for military dependents (spouses and children) and service members.
- National Military Family Association’s Spouses + Scholarships Page: NMFA is a leading national nonprofit for all military families. They also have a variety of resources and scholarships for military spouses.
- CollegeScholarships.org: While this website is not specific to military families, it does have a section especially for grants and scholarships for military spouses. Take a look. You never know what you might be accidentally missing.
- MilitaryOneSource’s Scholarships and Aid Page: MilitaryOneSource is a resource hub officially run by the military. Not only do they have information about aid and scholarships for military spouses, they also have lots of information for military family members, including surviving, Gold Star family members, when it comes to educational funding help.
- US Veterans Magazine’s List of Scholarships for Service Members, Spouses and Dependents: This list offers a mix of national, state, regional, and local scholarship opportunities for military families.
- USMC Life’s Scholarship Page: As you might guess, this list of scholarships is all about opportunities available to Marines and their dependents. It’s also broken out by scholarship application deadline, so you can take a quick look and see what’s coming up and what you’ve already missed.
- Salute to Spouses Scholarship Page: This is a pretty general overview of financial aid opportunities available to military spouses. If you’re new to military life (or if you’ve never looked for military-connected scholarships before), take a look.
- James Madison University Scholarship Page: Whether you’re headed to JMU or not, this listing of scholarships offers opportunities for military spouses furthering their education.
- AUSA’s Scholarship Information Page: The Association of the United States Army awards more than a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships and financial aid every year. It’s worth the look to see if you qualify and to complete the applications, if you do.
- Northern Arizona University’s Military and Veteran Virtual Center: Northern Arizona University generously caters to military families on their website and in their outreach. They clearly mark financial aid opportunities for military families and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program as well.
- University of North Carolina Wilmington Scholarship Page: While UNC Wilmington’s scholarship directory for military families is mostly a listing of national opportunities, there are some North Carolina-specific ones that you might not otherwise find.
- University of Alaska Fairbanks Scholarship Page: UA Fairbanks notes that they have hundreds of internal scholarships, some of which are reserved for military-connected folks, including military dependents. They also offer “military pricing.”
Specific Scholarship Programs & Grants
- Hope for the Warriors: Hope For The Warriors Spouse / Caregiver Scholarship Program provides scholarships to military spouses and caregivers of post-9/11 veterans at universities, colleges, or trade schools in the US through five different scholarships.
- Folds of Honor: This non-profit offers scholarships for military spouses and military children who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Award amounts vary up to $5,000 and can be awarded up to four times throughout your college career.
- ThanksUSA Scholarship Program
- Military spouses and military kids who are pursuing undergraduate programs, non-degree licensure, or certification programs are eligible to apply for ThanksUSA scholarships.
- Council of College and Military Educators Scholarship Program:The Council of Military Educators offers $1,000 scholarships to active duty, veterans, and military spouses pursuing higher education.
- Virginia Advisory Council on Military Education Scholarship Program: Every year, VA-ACME awards multiple $1,000 scholarships to a variety of military-connected scholars, including military spouses.
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society:
- The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers interest-free loans and grants to military dependents ranging from $500 to $3,000 per academic year, depending on applicant need.
- MOAA: Military Officers Association of America’s Education Assistance program offers interest-free loans, scholarships, and grants to military-connected and MOAA-connected students.
- Navy Wives Club of America : Navy Wives Club of America has a variety of scholarships (with varying eligibility requirements) for military spouses, NWCA members, and child dependents.
- Air Force Association: Air Force Association gives a large array of scholarships to Air Force-affiliate scholars, including military spouses, with the lowest scholarship amount beginning at $1,000.
- The Army Scholarship Foundation: This organization fields more than 21 individual, one-year scholarship opportunities to military-connected applicants. Amounts range from $500 to $2,000 and may be renewed for a total of four years.
- Fisher House: Fisher House’s scholarship search will help determine which financial opportunities are available to finance your higher education.
- The Corvias Foundation: Corvias provides numerous scholarship opportunities to military spouses and military children, depending on eligibility.
- My CAA: My Career Advancement Account is a government program which provides up to $4,000 for licenses, certifications, or Associate’s degrees to military spouses. You will need to determine your eligibility.
- Army Emergency Relief: Army Emergency Relief provides the Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship, open to those pursing a four-year degree. Applications are open year-round.
- Federal Student Aid for Military Families: This website is part of the US Department of Education and particularly spotlights grants available for ROTC participants and scholarship opportunities open to veterans through the VA.
- The Pat Tillman Foundation: Tillman scholarships are open to service members, military spouses, and veterans and is not only a scholarship opportunity, but a leadership program as well.
- Navy Supply Corps Foundation: If you’re a military spouse of an active or retired Navy enlisted sailor with a supply enlisted rating, you’re eligible for this scholarship opportunity.
- FRA Education Foundation
- The Fleet Reserve Association awards scholarships of up to $5,000 military-connected scholars, including military spouses, pursuing trade school, community college, four-year college, and graduate degrees.
- Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund: Up to 50 scholarships are available to eligible applicants through the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund.
- Hanscom Spouses Club Scholarship: Military spouses of any military branch are encouraged to apply to these scholarship opportunities.
- AFCEA Scholarships and Grants: Military spouses pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees are able to apply.
- Navy SEAL Foundation: Gold Star spouses, surviving spouses, and SEAL or SWCC spouses are eligible to apply for scholarships for undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.
- Military Spouses of Newport Scholarship
- Scholarship awards range from $500 to $2,500 and are available to spouses and military kids of sponsors from all branches and ranks.
- Penn State’s Grant-in-Aid
- Penn State offers a variety of benefits to military spouses, including application waivers and grant-in-aid through the World Campus (their online portal).
- Columbia Southern Education Group:Depending on the scholarship, you may be eligible to apply for scholarships worth up to $25,000.