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An Introduction to Dependent Education Benefits

Spouses and dependents of military servicemen and women make many sacrifices as their family members serve on active duty. There's the uprooting of lives that goes with moves between duty stations, and the long, lonely hours of separation. Keeping families intact and moving forward while loved ones fulfill service commitments is of paramount importance. There are a number of education benefits for dependents of Army personnel to assist them in broadening their educations.

It can be challenging to undertake and complete an educational path while transferring from base to base, but dependent education benefits are designed with this in mind. Many of the benefits can be used at online colleges with military-friendly applications and cost structures. There are several programs to which military spouses and children can apply to and keep their educational plans on pace.

Military Education Programs for Dependents

GI Bill Transfer

The oldest military education benefit program, the GI Bill was created in 1944 to help World War II veterans earn educations. Starting in August of 2009, a new version of the GI Bill launched that includes a provision to allow the spouses and children of qualified military personnel to use the servicemember's GI Bill benefits.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer of military education benefits may take place between service members and their dependents if the eligibility criteria of 10 years active duty, or six years with a commitment for an additional four years of service, are met. Additionally, the servicemember must opt-in for this program while still on active duty.

Once a GI Bill Transfer takes place, dependents can take advantage of the same benefits for which servicemembers are eligible, regardless of whether the servicemember is on active duty or separates from Army service.

Major General James Ursano Scholarship Program

This scholarship program is administered by Army Emergency Relief and is intended for dependent children contemplating college enrollment after high school or those already pursing college. Scholarships typically range from $900 to $1,900. Dependents must be under the age of 23 for the entire academic school year, and must also be children of an active duty or retired Army service member. The scholarship can be applied to undergraduate degree programs pursued on campus or through online education.

R.O.T.C. Scholarships

These scholarships are open to those who meet eligibility requirements. Funds can pay for many of the costs associated with pursuing a degree. Dependents are eligible for 2- and 4-year R.O.T.C. Scholarships. After graduating and completing necessary military training, scholarship recipients may be commissioned as military officers on active duty.

Scholarships for Military Children

This program, administered by the Fisher House, is available to children of both active duty service members and veterans, as well as survivors of a service member. To be eligible for these dependent education benefits, you must have a valid military ID card and be attending or plan to attend college full time. You must also be pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Learn more about dependent education benefits:

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