The military service men and women of the United States make incredible sacrifices for all of the people. In an effort to repay them for their service, the federal government, in collaboration with the different branches of the military, offer ways to support their spouses and dependents. Although it’s impossible to repay service men and women fully for what they provide the country, one way is through scholarships and financial support for education.
While the government and military offer a variety of options for both active military and retired service families, there are additional support options from the private company, the United Services Automobile Association. The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a financial institution providing insurance, banking and investments specifically for service and military families.
USAA currently serves military families from all branches of the military including the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves. Families who have a retired member of these branches of military are also supported.
Additionally, spouses of current, retired or deceased service members may also access the resources provided by USAA. Lastly, children of both current and retired military will also be eligible for services provided by USAA. Financial resources offered by USAA include scholarships, financial support and education investment opportunities.
Do USAA Scholarships Exist?
The branches of the military and the federal government have made educational opportunities a priority for military families. There are multiple opportunities for financial support for the spouses and dependents of active and retired military. Specifically, providing scholarships and funding opportunities for military spouses and dependents for varying levels of education.
High School Scholarships
While USAA scholarships do exist, the organization does not specifically offer them or financial support for high school students. There are some support options through the different branches of the military. Additionally, there are other scholarship options to support high school students at each grade level.
The USAA Educational Foundation collaborates with other scholarship providers to offer financial assistance for college and beyond. Along with the Imagine America Foundation, USAA offers scholarships, financial aid and training for college faculty. There are also college scholarships for military dependents and USAA student loans available.
USAA also offers specific scholarships for families. Specifically, students seeking to study engineering at the college level may be eligible for up to $5,000 toward tuition and fees if they meet certain requirements including a 3.0 GPA.
What’s the GI Bill?
The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the GI Bill, may be one of the nation’s most significant pieces of legislation. The goal of the GI Bill was to provide education and training, financial support for home ownership and unemployment pay for servicemen returning from military service.
The GI Bill is a financial support opportunity funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It supports military personnel through financial aid for education, on-the-job or skill-based training. This support can be provided for both active duty and retired service men and women seeking to further their education and job skills.
There are a variety of GI Bill programs. These include the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill, Reserve and Guard Montgomery GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program. Financial support can be provided to service personnel for college tuition assistance, licensing, flight training and on-the-job training.
USAA Tuition Options
As USAA is a financial institution, there are other opportunities to support higher education for military families. Most notably, USAA offers a 529 college savings plan for active and retired military families and their dependents.
The 529 college savings plan is designed to save money for college expenses including tuition and fees, while also providing tax benefits. There is a good deal of flexibility for spending within the 529, which makes it a desirable option for military families.
This is a good option for families saving for college. The plans are tax-deferred, and the account earns interest while families are saving. Additionally, money can be transferred from one child to the next if it’s not all spent.
Financial Support for Military Dependents
The federal government and the military offer a variety of ways to support military dependents through scholarships and other financial support. These options vary among the different branches of the military. Furthermore, recipient eligibility, including the ages of recipients, differs depending on each branch of military service. Some options are for spouses only, while some provide support for both spouses and dependent children.
The United States Army
The United States Army offers a variety of scholarship and grant opportunities for military spouses and their children to attend college. The Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program offers financial support for children ages 16 to 26 whose parents have been disabled or killed in the line of duty.
The Spouse Education Assistance Program offers grant money to the spouse of active or retired military. These funds are specified for military spouses only and can be used for college tuition during the fall and spring semesters only.
The Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program supports the spouse of active military who are stationed overseas. These funds will support four years of tuition at an approved college or university and the recipient must take a minimum of six credit hours a semester. These funds are also earmarked for military spouses only.
The United States Air Force
Members of the United States Air Force are also eligible for financial support for education. The General H. Arnold Education Grant Program provides financial aid to children and spouses of active-duty air force service men and women. This scholarship is based on financial need. The Scholarship for Air Force Enlisted Member’s Dependent Children is different as it provides scholarships based on academic achievement and not financial need.
Lastly, the AFSA Scholarship Program offers merit-based grants for dependent children of service men and women in the United States Air Force. Financial awards range from $1,500 to $2,500.
The United State Navy and Marine Corps
Scholarships and financial support are provided for dependents and spouses of both active duty and retired Navy and Marine Corps service men and women. The NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship Program provides up to $2,500 per academic year for children and spouses of service men and women killed in the line of duty.
The Joseph A. McAlinden Divers Scholarship provides financial scholarships in the amount of $500 to $3,000 for children of active duty members. This opportunity is specific to active duty Navy and Marine divers. Specifically, these funds are provided to support students interested in the study of oceanography, ocean agriculture or aquaculture.
The United State Coast Guard
The Coast Guard Foundation provides a variety of grant and scholarship opportunities for children and spouses of active-duty, retired and deceased Coast Guard service members. There are both merit and need-based financial support options for families. The amount of each individual award varies. The amounts are determined by the needs of families, program of study and academic achievement.
There are seemingly endless opportunities for financial support for military families. Whether it's scholarships for high school or college, even training beyond school, it's worth it to find an opportunity to support you and your family. USAA offers options for military families to support education. Additionally, the federal government in collaboration with each branch of the military has resources to help students achieve their education and career goals.
Melanie Forstall has a doctorate in education and has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She has been a teacher, grant writer, program director, and higher education instructor. She is a freelance writer specializing in education, and education related content. She writes for We Are Teachers, School Leaders Now, Classroom, Pocket Sense, local parenting magazines, and other professional academic outlets. Additionally, she has co-authored book chapters specializing in providing services for students with disabilities.