Military Spouse Scholarships and Grants: An Overview

Military service member and their spouse laughing and playing with their child
Category: Military Support

By Matt Rowley
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Military spouses have access to a variety of education benefits. While service members can transfer unused GI Bill® benefits to their spouse, there are other options to consider.

Government agencies and private organizations offer numerous scholarship and grant opportunities to family members of those who are currently serving or who previously served in the military. These organizations recognize the sacrifices made by military families and seek to provide education benefits to ease their burden.

Military spouse scholarships and grants are available at the local, state and federal levels, with different application requirements depending on various factors. In this article, we’ve compiled a selection of organizations offering scholarships and grants to military spouses.

Army Emergency Relief

Army Emergency Relief offers various scholarships, including the need-based Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship for Army spouses seeking an undergraduate degree or professional certification. Applicants may be eligible to receive assistance for up to four years for full-time study or eight years for part-time study.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

The CGMA Supplemental Education Grant Program is designed to assist families with a member serving in the Coast Guard. The program provides $500 grants on a first-come, first-served basis if you’re enrolled in a college or university undergraduate or postgraduate degree program. Grants are also available if you’re pursuing an approved multi-course vocational and technical training program or a GED diploma.

Columbia Southern University

Here at Columbia Southern University, our Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship is available to spouses and children of active-duty military service members and public safety personnel such as firefighters, law enforcement officers and more. The scholarship covers up to 60 credit hours toward one online degree program at CSU for up to three years or until the completion of the selected degree program.

Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation offers numerous grants and scholarships – awarded on a competitive basis – to children, stepchildren and spouses of those who are or were part of the Submarine Force in the Navy. The foundation currently sponsors more than 100 ongoing Dolphin Scholarships, and recipients attending full-time undergraduate schools receive $3,500 each.


Military spouses can quality for education assistance through My Career Advancement, which is managed by the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program within the Department of Defense. Under the MyCAA scholarship program, applicants may receive funding up to $4,000 for up to two years; the pay grade of the service member can also factor into an applicant's eligibility.

National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association offers scholarships to military spouses seeking assistance with education or related employment expenses. NMFA spouse scholarships are one-time awards, but recipients can apply again in the future. The amount may depend on your educational or professional needs, but recipients receive an average of between $500 and $2,500.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

The NMCRS Education Assistance Program offers grants and interest-free loans ranging from $500 to $3,000 per academic year to children and spouses of Navy and Marine Corps service members. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or master’s degree program or vo-tech school.

Veterans Affairs

Finally, you may be eligible for education benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. For example, the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship is available for children and spouses of a military service member who died on or after September 11, 2001, either while in the line of duty while serving in one of the armed forces or from a service-connected disability.

Alternatively, the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program offers benefits to qualified dependents of veterans who died on active duty or as a result of a service-relation condition, or are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition. You may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the DEA program, but you can only use one of them. Contact the VA to ensure you’re getting the most out of these benefits.


Military spouses often face significant challenges in their professional lives. Education can help them get closer to starting an exciting and satisfying career, but paying for school can be a big hurdle.

Thankfully, many schools – especially online schools – provide support and resources specifically designed for military-affiliated students. Whether it’s guiding you through the financial aid process or setting you up for success in job interviews, military-friendly schools have the staff in place to help you succeed.

Here at CSU, we offer online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. For more information, visit our website.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes, and CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.

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