Most of the military services have tuition assistance programs for active duty member spouses. While each program is different, they all have the same goal–providing financial aid so military member spouses can increase their career opportunities through education. One service-wide program supporting that goal is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA).
Funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), MyCAA provides tuition aid for military spouses pursing a portable career–a career that can be worked regardless of the military family stationing. Career fields usually include business administration, education, and health services because these jobs are typically found in and around military installations. Active duty spouses can apply for an award of up to $ 3,000 per college year for two years.
Army Tuition Assistance
The Army has two spouse tuition assistance programs–one for spouses stationed overseas and the other one for those stateside. Need-based in nature, the Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP) funded education must be completed while the spouse is living overseas with his or her military member. OSEAP pays up to half of the tuition cost with a maximum amount of $ 540 per term or $ 2700 per academic year.
The Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP) is similar to its sister program OSEAP in that it is also need-based. The difference, however, is SEAP is available to spouses of:
Soldiers who died on active duty
Retired soldiers who have died
Active duty personnel stationed stateside
Both programs are administered by the Army Emergency Relief (AER) and only cover undergraduate or vocational education programs.
Funding for Navy and Marine Corps Spouses
The Navy’s Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP), also need-based, offers both Navy and Maine spouses stationed overseas with a military member a grant up to 50 percent of the tuition cost of on-base education programs. It has a maximum of $ 300 per term and does not exceed $ 1500 per academic year. Students do not have to attend class full-time. Administered by the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, it covers graduate programs at a higher per-term rate/per-academic-year maximum.
Air Force Educational Assistance
Like the other services, the Air Force has their version of STAP. While similar to the Navy/Marine program, as it also has a $ 1500 per academic term limit, the Air Force’s STAP has a different twist. Its goal is providing partial tuition assistance by awarding up to 50 percent of the unmet tuition charges. For example, if the spouse receives other financial aid, such as grants or scholarships, the amount of STAP assistance received is calculated on the amount of tuition charges left after the other financial aid is deducted.
Regardless of which military spouse tuition assistance program applies to you, all the programs are meant to help you achieve your career goals through education.
Kelli Smith writes about colleges and universities, community colleges, online schools, and career development. She is the senior editor at www.CollegesandUniversities.org.