Tara Crooks
Limitless Contributor

Wanting to go back to school is a familiar situation to many military spouses. Yet actually being able to do it is a sizeable time commitment and an expensive financial obligation.


There are programs out there to help with military spouse education. The best place for a spouse to begin preparation is the local installation Education Center. As a military family member, spouses qualify to apply for many scholarships given by military organizations. Each military community's Education Center will have information on available grants or scholarships for which you may be eligible. You can find the center nearest to you by going to http://www.dantes.doded.mil/.


Be sure you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a low-interest student loan, payable after you finish your degree. Loans are available through the federal government, privately through many banks, and through other lending institutions.


There is a place to find college scholarships specifically for military spouses, and that is through the Military Scholarship Finder at http://aid.military.com/scholarship/search-for-scholarships.do.


See if you qualify for My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) benefits - unofficially called "Spouse Tuition Assistance" by checking out the qualifications listed here: http://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-career-advancement-accounts-finan...


A quick search on the web will yield several resources too. Remember that most require an application and have deadlines so you'll have to be resourceful, determined, and motivated to get everything together to meet the requirements.


The Military Officers' Association of America (www.moaa.org) offers several educational assistance programs, including interest-free loans, grants and the American Patriot Scholarship.


Thanks USA is a non-profit tax exempt charitable organization focused on thanking American troops. ThanksUSA sponsors a large scholarship program for children and spouses of active duty US military personnel. As many as 1,000 scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 each are available for undergraduate study at accredited two and four year institutions of higher education. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic performance, leadership and community service. For more information, call 1-877-THX-USAS (1-877-849-8727), or visit their website at www.thanksusa.org.


Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (www.msccn.org) is a non-profit organization that specializes in employment placement solutions for military spouses, war wounded, and caregivers of war wounded via an Internet gateway and a team of geographically diverse military spouses and veterans. They have scholarships and grants available for spouses continuing their education.


National Military Family Association - http://www.militaryfamily.org/our-programs/military-spouse-scholarships/

 has a Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship. The scholarships range from $500 to $1,000, and are awarded to spouses of Uniformed Services members (active duty, retiree, Reserve, National Guard, or survivor) to obtain professional certification or to attend post-secondary or graduate school. The scholarship funds may be used to assist with tuition, fees, and school room and board, and are paid directly to the accredited educational institution involved.


NMFA has also released a second edition of its Military Spouse Education Resource Guide, Spring 2008. In this newest version, NMFA designed a comprehensive resource about higher education - military-spouse style. Updated scholarship information, tips for beginning your education career, and helpful education hints for those on the move are among the many resources gathered in this guide.


The Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (http://www.aerhq.org/) is a need-based education assistance program designed to provide spouses of active duty and retired Soldiers, and widow(er)s of Soldiers who died either on active duty or in a retired status, and residing in the United States, with financial assistance in pursuing educational goals.


Scholarship America (http://scholarshipamerica.org) is another resource dedicated to working with communities throughout the nation to help you pursue postsecondary education. Their website offers application tips, resources and opportunities to begin your scholarship search.


We also suggest you ask your college if they have any benefits for military spouses, as some will offer discounted tuition or even assistance with purchasing books and supplies.