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10 Education Benefits for Military Spouses

military spouse education benefits

Spouses of members of the armed forces, though not in the military themselves, make valuable and admirable sacrifices to support their partners. They put their lives and families on hold so that their partners can protect the country.

Yet, it’s seldom easy for them to find steady employment or pursue education due to frequently having to relocate or care for family members. But there are ways they can receive recognition for their sacrifice – such as taking advantage of education benefits designed specifically for military spouses.

Read on to learn more about how the U.S. military is doing its part to recognize their colleagues’ devoted spouses.

Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Forever GI Bill

Military spouses seeking higher education should be familiar with two bills: the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Forever GI Bill. These bills provide robust education benefits for service members, veterans, and their families, ensuring that spouses of active duty military personnel have access to educational opportunities.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

Since the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008, military families have been able to access a range of education benefits. This bill provides financial assistance for spouses to pursue various types of education, including degree programs, vocational training, and licensing courses.

This includes financial support for up to 36 months’ worth of tuition, fees, books, and housing costs, depending on the active duty service member’s length of service. Additionally, the active duty member must have served for at least six years and plan to serve at least four more.

This is the basis for most military educational assistance programs, and these benefits can be transferred to dependents or used by the service member to cover the educational expenses of their spouse.

Forever GI Bill

The Forever GI Bill, signed into law in 2017, made further improvements to the Post-9/11 GI Bill by removing the 15-year timeline restriction for using benefits and expanding eligibility criteria.

This means that military spouses now have more time and flexibility to use these benefits, even if their service member has separated from the military or passed away.

Benefits Shared Across Branches

1) MyCAA

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) is a career development and employment assistance program sponsored by the Department of Defense for eligible military spouses.

It offers financial aid to cover up to $4,000 of educational tuition expenses toward work-related courses, licenses, credentialing programs, or associate degrees with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

2) Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

DANTES is an organization that sponsors and administers distance learning options as part of institutional-based course offerings, such as community college classes that give spouses more flexibility to take courses whenever it fits their schedule.

There are also free educational resources provided online that are designed specifically to help military families advance in career fields like information technology, healthcare, business management, and hospitality management. These are available in schools nationwide that accept DANTES assistance.

Note: Though many military education benefits are similar across all branches of service, there may be some slight variances. It is recommended that you check with your local military base or branch’s particular website to find out which benefits are available.

Benefits Unique to Marine Corps

3) Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Educational Center

For spouses of Marines seeking higher education, the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) may be the best place to start.

The MCCS offers free classes such as citizenship tests, exam prep courses, college planning help, employment programs, leadership development seminars, and general education options that can be taken online or in brick-and-mortar schooling environments located on military bases around the world.

Benefits Unique to Coast Guard

4) Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA)

The CGMA non-profit serves to assist Coast Guard personnel with funds for emergency situations and educational assistance.

CGMA scholarship opportunities and tuition grants are available to military spouses to attend accredited institutions of higher learning and pursue a degree program or career-related education training toward licensure, credentials, associate degrees, and diplomas.

5) The Coast Guard Foundation (CGF)

Since 1969, The Coast Guard Foundation (CGF) has been offering scholarships to Coast Guard spouses and children to support their education. These scholarships provide financial assistance for tuition, books, and fees, allowing military spouses to pursue their educational goals.

The CGF also boasts a plethora of morale and wellness programs, Cadet initiatives, and more.

Benefits Unique to Air Force

6) Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)

The Air Force Aid Society is a non-profit organization offering a variety of programs and services designed to provide families of airmen with assistance. Military spouses looking to further their education can gain access to the Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP) via the AFAS, which provides grant funding up to $2,500 to spouses of airmen in grades ranging from kindergarten through college–including graduate school or technical training.

Benefits Unique to the Army

7) Army Emergency Relief (AER)

AER serves soldiers and their families by providing financial assistance in times of disaster or great need. These funds, however, aren’t only used for immediate needs. The loans offered by the AER can also be used to help fund education.

The money may not cover the entire tuition or fees for school, but it can definitely help reduce the strain on military family budgets.

8) GoArmyEd

The GoArmyEd website serves both active duty personnel – and their families – with online access, which allows them to utilize their education benefits. It’s a single-stop online source for tuition assistance as well as advice from other military personnel on pathways to degree programs.

There are also many special programs designed specifically for the spouse of a service member, such as Refund Resolution, Financial Aid Bridge, GoArmyEd Spouse Scholarship Program and Armed Forces Continuing Education System (AFCEE).

Benefits Unique to the Navy

9) Navy College Program (NCP)

NCP aims to assist active duty personnel as well as their eligible dependents with higher education opportunities through post-secondary courses. They offer services – such as tuition assistance benefits, exam fee reimbursement, and academic counselling – so members can continue their education and support their spouses’ careers.

10) Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)

The NMCRS serves as an umbrella for a variety of relief services designed to support service members’ families through times of distress. This can range from educational aid for those pursuing a degree or career-related training in the form of scholarships/grants directly sponsored by this institution.

This program is available for military personnel in either the Navy or Marine branches of the U.S. military.


The military has put forth effort to ensure they take care of the devoted spouses of its members. By taking advantage of these education benefits available, military spouses can support themselves and their families by furthering educational development via degree programs or other training-related courses.

With the wide range of options available, military spouses have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the support offered by their branch and increase prospects for future success.

Looking to learn more about military education benefits? Book an appointment today with one of CIAT’s Admissions Advisors to explore military benefits and program paths that align with your educational goals. 

Take the first step.

Building a strong coding portfolio takes hard work and dedication. Whether you’re just starting in the field or advancing your career, learning how to create an education plan that aligns with your career goals saves you time and money. This also delivers the most significant return on your investment.

Career Planning

You’ve chosen an education plan with a goal in mind, and now you’re focused on making the most of your educational resources to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the job market. The most impactful recommendation we give to all new CIAT students in the tech field is not to wait until graduation to start their IT career planning. When you begin your career planning steps from day 1 of your program, you graduate career-ready and are more likely to find your first job quickly, with competitive salary ranges.

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When landing your dream job, CIAT supports its students every step of the way – ensuring you graduate with more than just a degree. Our IT career services team focuses on both your professional and personal development to help prepare you for a career in web development, mobile app development, information technology, cybersecurity, networking, and more.

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