Military Spouse Scholarships
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Military Spouse Scholarships: Types and Benefits

04.05.2023 • 7 min read

Lizann Lightfoot

Editor and Military Spouse

This article explains who offers scholarships for military spouses and the types of scholarships to look for. View a list of scholarships for military spouses and organizations supporting financial assistance for spouses, including Outlier's resources for military and veteran families.

In This Article

  1. What Are Scholarships for Military Spouses?

  2. Types of Scholarships Military Spouses Apply For

  3. 10 Military Spouse Scholarships to Apply For

  4. Where to Find Military Scholarships

  5. Maximize Your Military Benefits With

  6. Frequently Asked Questions

When I was a new military spouse, I struggled with unemployment when I relocated to my husband’s duty station. It was a remote area, so for years, I stayed home with young children. I wanted to work on my degree while he was deployed, hoping to improve my job opportunities at the next location.

One problem: We were living off his single income, so we didn’t have money to pay for my college classes out of pocket. Thankfully, many scholarships and tuition assistance programs are available to military spouses!

In high school, I learned about scholarships by walking into the Guidance office and picking up a brochure. As a military spouse, I had to do my own research. Once I started exploring online scholarships, I was amazed at the variety and types of scholarships available for military or veteran spouses.

In this article, you’ll learn what scholarships are available for military spouses, where to look for them, and a list of 10 scholarships available to you!

What Are Scholarships for Military Spouses?

Numerous organizations, nonprofits, and academic programs offer scholarships for military spouses to reward them for the many sacrifices they make to support their service member.

But how do you qualify for them?

If your spouse is an active-duty member of any branch of the U.S. military, you are eligible to apply for scholarships labeled for “spouse,” “active duty,” or “military family.” If either you or your spouse has left the military and is now a veteran, then search for scholarships with the keyword “veteran.”

If you are already enrolled in undergraduate degree classes, most scholarships will make a direct payment to your school during the academic year.

But what if you haven’t chosen a school or program yet? Read the scholarship details to see when and how you can use the award as financial aid for college.

Types of Scholarships Military Spouses Apply For

Scholarships for military spouses can come from branches of the military, nonprofit organizations, government grants, or private donors working directly with colleges.

4 Financial Assistance Options

Military spouse scholarships may feel overwhelming at first, so let’s break it down. There are 4 options for financial assistance for military spouse education:

1. State Supported

Scholarships or grants sponsored by the Education Department or the VA programs in your home state, your current duty station state, and your service member’s home of record

2. Military Supported

Scholarships from your service member’s branch or military-affiliated nonprofits

3. Academic

Scholarships awarded based on your grades and other measures of academic performance

4. Major Based

Scholarships awarded to those pursuing specific careers or fields of study

Financial Award Descriptions

Read carefully to see which military spouse scholarships and grants will work for you. You may see awards described in the following ways:

Financial Need Scholarships

These are scholarship programs for lower-income military families. Most require a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and proof of income. Eligibility is based on individual need.

Qualifying Programs

Military family members can qualify for some scholarships based on your service member’s rank, branch in the military, or specific medals or awards earned in service.

For example, the Gold Star Scholarship Program is for spouses whose service member was killed in the line of duty. Only Gold Star spouses qualify for this award. Coast Guard or Air Force scholarships are not open to anyone in the Armed Forces. The service member must be in that branch to qualify.

Education Benefits

The service member’s Post 9/11 G.I. Bill can be transferred to their spouse or dependent children for college expenses. This is not a scholarship, but an earned benefit. It covers tuition, housing, and books for a bachelor’s degree or higher education.

10 Military Spouse Scholarships To Apply For

Not sure where to start applying for scholarships as a military spouse? We’ve got you covered! See if you qualify for these military spouse scholarships.

1. MyCAA Scholarship Program

My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) offers financial help to eligible spouses of active-duty military, Reserves, or National Guard, based on the degree program and service member’s rank.

  • Amount: Up to $4,000

  • Deadline: Varies

2. Allied Van Lines Military Scholarship

This annual prize goes to 2 military spouses seeking careers in logistics or supply chain management.

  • Amount: $1,000

  • Deadline: December each year

3. Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship

Nursing students can apply. They need to be in an undergraduate or advanced nursing program, married to an active-duty soldier or veteran of the Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard.

  • Amount: $3,000

  • Deadline: March each year

4. National Military Family Association Scholarships

Awarded quarterly, this award is open to any spouse of an active-duty, veteran, Guardsman, Reservist, or fallen service member. Recipients can use funds for tuition, certificate programs, or professional expenses like licensing.

  • Amount: $500-$2,500

  • Deadline: Quarterly

5. Think GREAT Scholarship for Military Spouses

This essay-based academic scholarship goes to active-duty military spouses or veteran spouses enrolled in approved college courses, certificates, or technical programs.

  • Amount: up to $5,000 per academic year

  • Deadline: August

6. Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Scholarship

If you are the spouse of an AAAA member or a deceased member, you’re eligible for financial assistance. The process reviews your grades, an essay, and a reference.

  • Amount: Varies

  • Deadline: May 1

7. Expand Your Horizons Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded annually to one student demonstrating openness to learning about other cultures and sharing their own. Perfect if you’ve been stationed overseas.

  • Amount: $2,000

  • Deadline: April

8. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Education Assistance Program

Spouses of active-duty or retired Sailors or Marines can apply for interest-free loans if they are full-time students with financial need. Grants reduce the cost of the loan.

  • Amount: Grants from $500-$3,000

  • Deadline: May

9. Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

Married to a submariner in the Navy? You’re eligible for grants and scholarships. The largest awards go to full-time students in four-year undergraduate programs.

  • Amount: $2,100-$3,500

  • Deadline: March each year

10. Hero Behind the Hero Scholarships

This scholarship, awarded quarterly by Columbia Southern University, covers tuition for 60 credit hours toward one online degree program.

  • Amount: 60 credit hours

  • Deadline: Quarterly

Where To Find Military Scholarships

Now that you know the types of scholarships available to military spouses, widen your search and make sure you’re looking into all available opportunities. You’ll find many opportunities in local clubs or groups where you’re already a member.

Here’s where you can find financial aid for college in your local area:

On Base

Check the Family Center or Readiness Center at your service member’s current duty station.

Local Community

Connect with nonprofit groups that work with your base, or any local groups where you volunteer.

The VA

There are Chapter 35 education benefits to dependents and survivors through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

Military Spouse Clubs

These membership groups for military units or anyone stationed at a specific base ‌offer scholarships to military families.

Financial Aid Department

Apply for scholarships offered through your college for low-income students, specific career fields, GPAs, or ethnic backgrounds.

Maximize Your Military Benefits With

Ready to take the next step in your college journey? Whether or not you’ve been awarded a scholarship, you’ll find an affordable program powered by The Degrees+ program through Golden Gate University (GGU) lets you pursue accredited courses toward an associate degree completely online!

GGU received the Silver designation as a Military Friendly School for 2023-24. They are also rated one of the Top 20 online colleges for veterans, service members, and military spouses, according to Military Times. Outlier accepts a variety of tuition assistance for military spouses: the G.I. Bill, MyCAA tuition assistance, or other scholarships.

Learn more about Outlier’s Veterans and Military Families resources and get started on your college courses today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many military spouse scholarships can you get?

You can apply multiple scholarships towards one degree, but the amount of the awards cannot be greater than the total cost of the degree program.

Are scholarships for military spouses tax-deductible?

Scholarships are considered non-taxable income. You will not pay taxes on scholarship awards.

What if I move or switch schools?

If you were eligible for the scholarship when you applied, you could still receive it after you move. Contact both schools and any scholarship organizations once you make moving plans to ensure payments go to the right place.

How can I improve my chances of winning scholarships for military spouses?

Do your research! Use the tips above to cast a wide net and consider all options for tuition assistance.

Want to know what happened in my own scholarship search? I used the MyCAA scholarship to cover the cost of several semesters of graduate classes, and earned my MBA in three years! It has been a great asset in my career journey as a military spouse writer and business owner. I hope these scholarships will inspire you on your own career path.

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