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Education Options for Military Spouses

The life of a military spouse can be tough. Long deployments mean many lonely months, not to mention the stress associated with the service member’s active duty. Due to frequent relocation, some military spouses have had to put their own education and careers on hold, while they rely on their spouse’s military pay to support their families. But thanks to online degree programs, it is now possible for military spouses to advance their education.

The University of West Florida’s Military & Veterans Resource Center is a source of funding managing several scholarships specifically designed for dependent spouses of eligible veterans or active duty service members.

While most people know that military spouses can receive a military discount at places like the movies or grocery stores on base, many military spouses do not know that they are also eligible for what amounts to a military discount for an education.

After 9/11, the U.S. Government changed the GI Bill, which legislates that a soldier with “at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, [who is] still on active duty, or [who is] an honorably discharged Veteran or [was] discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, … may be eligible for this VA-administered program” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). The GI Bill helps veterans with the costs associated with higher education.

However, what many do not realize is that the GI Bill education benefit is transferable to spouses. As points out, “The key factor is whether or not the member has used any of his or her GI Bill in the past; only unused benefits can be transferred.” As an example, if the soldier uses two years of GI Bill funding, he or she can transfer the remaining time (a year) to his or her spouse. In order to transfer these benefits, service members must still be serving on active duty, must have already served a minimum of six years and agree to obligate for an additional four years of service.

Further, this money can go toward not only undergraduate but also graduate degrees, like a master’s degree in business administration. This is a smart move for many reasons. An MBA sets applicants apart in a crowded job market, anywhere the military family may be stationed, and the degree can secure a second income for military spouses or families.

In addition to the military discounts available to military spouses, an MBA may be a smart choice for another reason: flexibility. Many accredited schools offer online MBA programs, allowing busy military spouses to study at their own pace. Some programs even offer accelerated tracks that streamline time management even more.

For these reasons and more, many military spouses are taking advantage of this little-known military education benefit. While it does not make the life of military spouses any easier, it does help alleviate some of the challenges surrounding their own career opportunities.

Learn more about UWF’s online MBA programs.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Post-9/11 GI Bill Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs

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