Is Tuition Assistance Available for Spouses of Enlisted Sailors?

sailor and spouseTuition assistance is one of the most anticipated benefits to joining the military. The types of tuition assistance that are available as well as the amount a beneficiary may receive varies among the different service branches. While it is clear that tuition assistance is offered to service personnel who opt to pursue post-secondary education, does this benefit extend to Navy spouses?

G.I. Bill Transferability

For those who selected the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, education benefits that are unused by the service member can be transferred to his or her spouse. For example, if the service member has used benefits covering 12 of the maximum 36 months allowed, his or her spouse may receive benefits for the remaining 24 months. There are also criteria service members must meet in order to be able to share their benefits. These requirements include having served six years and being committed to serve at least four more.

Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA)

Military spouses may receive up to $4,000 from the Military Spouse Advancement Accounts program. The funds may be used to pursue degrees, licenses, and credentials that contribute to career advancement in employment fields that are portable and can be performed in virtually any location.

SOCNAV

Spouses of Navy servicemen and women may be eligible for tuition assistance funding through the Servicemembers Opportunity College Degree program for the Navy (SOCNAV). The program consists of participating colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s and associate degree programs that are located on or are accessible to Navy installations around the world. Credits earned from institutions that participate in the program are transferable from one institution to another.

Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP)

The Spouse Tuition Aid Program, or STAP, is available through the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. STAP is available to spouses of service members who are stationed in an overseas location. Spouses may study part time or full time in programs through which they may earn a certificate, undergraduate, or graduate degree. Participating spouses may receive up to $300 each semester or $1,500 each year for undergraduate study. Graduate student spouses may receive up to $350 each semester and $1,750 each year.

Navy spouses are currently able to receive tuition assistance from several programs, including programs like the G.I. Bill, which is available to members of all branches of service, as well as Navy-specific tuition assistance benefits. Eligibility and application requirements will vary from program to program; therefore, interested spouses should visit the designated websites for each tuition assistance program in which he or she is interested or contact the respective program administrators.

The potential for Navy spouses to receive tuition assistance is generally favorable as there are many options. If a Navy spouse finds that he or she does not qualify or for a particular program, he or she may be successful in applying for another.