Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a lunch-time presentation by two local higher education institutions, Central Texas College and Texas A&M University–Central Texas. The two institutions spoke about the unique challenges that military families face and the desire to pursue educational and professional goals while supporting a spouse’s military career.
They understood the difficulties and talked about the obligation they feel to be able provide a high quality and affordable education for our military families.
As the presentation wrapped up, I started thinking about higher education and our military spouses. A mentor of mine used to say, “none of us have cornered the market on knowledge, there is always room to learn and grow.”
For me, it was finding my passion for the practice of yoga as I currently pursue my yoga teacher certification through the Guiding Wellness Institute at Life Moves Yoga. For others, it could be finishing a degree, getting a second one or maybe even getting certified in a certain trade.
Whatever it is, set those exceedingly high expectations, and exceed them.
If earning an advanced degree or new certification is something you are looking for, there are many options to broaden your education background. The desire to further your education may be there, but there is a cost associated with that desire. That said, there are also many options to help with the cost of higher education.
Once you have narrowed down the type of higher education or certification you want to pursue, the next step is researching the scholarships and grants on the federal and state level you might be eligible for.
From there, there is also your choice college, university or trade school that might offer some sort of financial support. If you are working towards a specific certification, there may be grants available through a variety of nonprofit or for-profit organizations. There are also private companies or community groups that offer scholarships.
It is important, as you navigate this process, you stay organized. Our lives are busy as it is and when you add to the plate, you need to make sure you stay ahead of the game. Keep your eye on the application due dates and requirements. Take the time to understand all the requirements so you don’t apply for everything and realize you don’t qualify for some. Be mindful that some may have grade level requirements attached to them.
There are lists of scholarships and grant resources all over the internet, but it takes time and effort to figure out which ones may be the most suitable, attainable and legitimate.
There are a couple of other tools and programs I want to share with you. The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. It was established by the Department of Defense to offer education and career exploration from military spouses across the globe. They have a robust website where you can learn about education options, licenses and credential requirements.
Other options for funding assistance are in-state tuition benefits, federal student aid and your employer. If you are currently employed, you may be eligible for some funding for professional development or educational advancement.
If you have exhausted your higher education efforts and are looking to jump start your thought process, check out Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. They have a wealth of information to get your creative juices flowing on something you might not have thought about as a further learning endeavor.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.