Spouses of Marine Corps members seeking higher education may be eligible for a variety of college scholarships. Between federal and state agencies, veterans organizations, and private sponsors, Marine Corps and all military spouses should be able to find the scholarship that best fits their educational and career goals. Read on to learn about some of the scholarships available.
|Scholarship Name||Sponsor||Scholarship Benefits*|
|Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer||U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs||Up to 36 months of tuition and fees;
Monthly housing allowance;
Up to $1,000/year for books and supplies
|Fry Scholarship||U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs||Up to 36 months of tuition and fees;
Monthly housing allowance;
Books and supplies stipend
|Education Assistance Program||Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society||Grants and interest-free loans ranging from $500-$3,000 per academic year|
|Military Spouse Scholarships||National Military Family Association||Average of $1,000 for degrees;
Up to $2,500 for mental health profession licensure
|Veterans United Foundation Scholarship||Veterans United Foundation||Dependent upon need|
|Tillman Scholar Fellowship||Pat Tillman Foundation||Average award of $10,000;
Professional Development Opportunities
|Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarship Program||Hope for the Warriors||Dependent upon need|
|Folds of Honor Higher Education Scholarship||Folds of Honor||Up to $5,000|
Source: *Sponsor websites
Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer
Though not a scholarship in name, spouses of members of any military branch can pursue an education with this program, which allows service members to transfer GI Bill benefits to immediate family members. Even if the service member has used a portion of the benefits, he or she can still transfer any remaining benefits. To be eligible, armed forces members must have completed 10 years of duty, or have completed 6 years with a commitment to serving at least 4 more. Application and approval, granted by the Department of Defense, must be completed while the service member is on active duty. Spouses may use the benefits while the service member is still active or for up to 15 years after the last separation from duty. One caveat is that spouses are not eligible to use the monthly housing allowance while the service member is on active duty.
The Fry Scholarship bestows unused Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to the spouses and/or children of armed forces members who were killed while on active duty on any date after September 10, 2001. The scholarship is named after Marine Gunnery Sgt. John D. Fry, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Spouses can utilize the benefits up to 15 years after the service member's death; however, the spouse will lose the benefits if he or she remarries within this 15 year period.
Education Assistance Program
Spouses of active or retired sailors or Marine Corps members should consider applying to this program from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Grants and interest-free loans are available for spouses seeking undergraduate, technical, or vocational degrees. To be eligible, spouses must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), demonstrate financial need, maintain a GPA of 2.0, and be currently enrolled or planning to enroll full time in an accredited institution within the United States. Students must reapply each academic year.
Military Spouse Scholarships
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) provides assistance to military spouses seeking a variety of educational and career paths. NMFA grants an average of $1,000 towards most degrees and $2,500 to those pursuing licenses in the mental health profession. Through partnerships with select schools across the country, NMFA can assist spouses with additional scholarships focused on specific career paths. In addition to academic assistance, NMFA can provide an average of $500 towards career funding, or up to $1,000 for starting a business. Any spouse with a valid military I.D. is eligible, as well as spouses of retired service members or those who were wounded or killed in the line of duty after September 11, 2001. Even divorced spouses still receiving 20/20/20 or 20/20/25 benefits are eligible.
Veterans United Foundation Scholarship
The Veterans United Foundation awards scholarships to spouses and children of deceased military veterans, and is funded by contributions from Veterans United Home Loans and its employees. Applicants must be currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or university, and can be pursuing anything from an associate's to a doctoral degree. This scholarship requires a personal essay that should include insight into the applicant's character, goals for the future, and the impact of losing a military spouse or parent.
Tillman Scholar Fellowship
The Pat Tillman Foundation offers a fellowship program for veterans and active service members, as well as spouses of active service members, veterans, and surviving spouses. The foundation and fellowship are named for Pat Tillman, an NFL player who enlisted and became an Army Ranger after 9/11; he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. More than financial assistance, this fellowship has a mission to provide recipients with a nationwide network of mentors and peers to help them become impact-makers in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education, and the arts. Recipients are encouraged to chase their passions through professional development opportunities and by applying for mini-grants to fund projects, with an emphasis on service and volunteerism. This scholarship is for students seeking undergraduate, graduate, or professional degrees from any public or private accredited institution in the U.S.
Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships
Hope for the Warriors gives five separate scholarships to post-9/11 military spouses and caregivers of service members. The organization awards a scholarship for those pursuing specific levels of education: entry-level classes or training, bachelor's degrees, and graduate and post-graduate degrees. Another scholarship is designated for spouses seeking a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The fifth scholarship from Hope for the Warriors specifically supports spouses of fallen service members. Scholarships are only eligible at accredited universities and colleges in the U.S., and applicants must write an essay and submit letters of recommendation.
Folds of Honor Scholarship Higher Education Scholarship
This scholarship from Folds of Honor is intended for spouses of military veterans who were killed or suffered the loss of a limb in action, or died or were disabled in connection with service. Active service member spouses are eligible if the spouse has earned a Purple Heart or lost a limb in service. This award of up to $5,000 is for those hoping to earn a bachelor's or a degree from a technical or trade school; post-graduate studies are not eligible. There are no age limitations on the scholarships, but recipients must reapply each academic year.