Military Spouse and Family Benefits

U.S. Army Education Benefits: Dependents

The U.S. Army recruits members, but retains families—something that can be concluded from the various benefits and support programs available to U.S. Army families. Those who join the U.S. Army understand that there will be numerous periods of separation from their families for training and deployments. The U.S. Army also understands that without the support of spouses and dependents, service is not possible.

Spouses and dependents sacrifice as much, if not more, than the U.S. Army member. There are long periods of separation and can be numerous moves during an active duty career. So how does the U. S. Army help families stay strong and maintain stability? One of the ways is through education benefits for spouses and dependents.

GI Bill Transfer

Educational benefits for all servicemembers were first created in 1944 with the GI Bill. There have been many changes through the years, with the latest version being the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This version of the GI Bill allows servicemembers with 10 years of service (or 6 years with a commitment for 4 more years) to transfer their education benefits to their dependents. After a GI Bill transfer, the dependents are eligible for the same education benefits as the servicemembers. This benefit is not affected by separation from service provided that the servicemember has an honorable discharge.

U.S. Army Family Education: Programs for Spouses

There are several other programs that can be very helpful for spouses pursuing additional education.

  • Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP): Provides up $2,500 per academic year for either tuition or fees. One qualifies for benefits if the servicemember is on active duty and the spouse resides in the United States. This program is run by the Army Emergency Relief Organization.

  • Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA): Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

  • Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP): This is a needs based program providing financial assistance up to $2,900 per year for Army spouses residing overseas.

  • Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA): A program designed to help spouses with training for easily transferable careers. This program is run by the Department of Defense and is designed to help qualify spouses find work no matter where their spouse is stationed.

  • James Holbrook Military Spouse Scholarship: This scholarship is available to all servicemember spouses. The money can be applied to tuition and fees for undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and vocational courses. It can be used by part-time or full-time students. This program is run by the National Military Family Association.

Scholarships: Education Benefits for Dependents

Children of U.S. Army personnel can take advantage of a number of dependent education benefits:

  • Major General James Ursano Scholarship Program: To be used by U.S. Army dependents under the age of 23 entering college or continuing an undergraduate education, this program offers scholarship from $900-$1,900 for dependents of active duty or retired U.S. Army servicemembers.

  • ROTC Scholarships: These come in the form of 2- and 4-year scholarships for dependents with the understanding that upon graduation, they will be commissioned and serve on active duty as an officer in the military.

  • Scholarships for Military Children: Available to children of active-duty service members and veterans with a valid military ID card. Applicants must be attending or planning to attend college full time in pursuit of an undergraduate degree. This program is run by the Fisher House.

The U.S. Army takes family education seriously. With these spouse and dependent education benefits, members of U.S. Army families can earn a degree despite the challenges of a military lifestyle.

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