Saturday, July 14, 2007

Considering Going To School While Your Spouse Is Deployed?

One of the biggest things the spouse of a deployed service member has to consider is what to do with his or her time while their loved one is deployed. Certainly, having nothing to do with your time will make the deployment seem longer. If you're working or chasing kiddos around, you've got your hands full for sure.

Maintaining a house, a family, finances, cars... all of this seems like it would take a considerable amount of time. But what if you find yourself in a situation where you have the time and nothing to do? Have you considered continuing your education? Thinking about picking up a few college hours? Are your children old enough to take college courses?

Almost every state offers in-state tuition prices for military members and their families. That makes for incredible cost savings. Then consider the specific military scholarship programs available to service members and their families. I'll list a few here and also put them on my side-bar for easier access.

First, you have to choose a school. Internet or on campus, it all depends on your personal preferences and the time and resources you have to spend on it.

Then you have to complete the appropriate year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can usually be accomplished online, unless you just like the old pencil and paper version better. Usually, when the FAFSA gets submitted to the school/schools you have chosen, the schools will apply on your behalf for State funded financial aid, such as grants, lottery money, etc.

"The Military Scholarships For Children Programwas created to recognize the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military family community."

The National Military Family Association's Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program awards scholarships to "spouses of Uniformed Services members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and survivors) to obtain professional certification or to attend post secondary or graduate school."

The purpose of the Armed Forces Children's Education Fund is to be able to financially assist the educational needs of the surviving children of the U.S. Military men and women who lost their lives on or after October 7, 2001, the commencement of Afghanistan operations, as part of the global war on terrorism defined as "Operation Enduring Freedom".

America Supports You links to several service specific scholarship programs for children and spouses as well.

Additionally, FastWeb is an awesome resource for nation wide scholarships and it's search utilities can be customized to suit your individual qualifications for scholarships; i.e. field of study, local area scholarships, internships, minority scholarships, etc.

So, why not rack up a few college credits? It's a great way to occupy your/your children's time and it's likely to cost little or nothing. Good luck!

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