Military Spouses of Strength is a national nonprofit organization with a mission

to improve the health and overall wellness within the military community.

Below Are Questions Sent in By Followers of the MSEI Facebook Page:

Question: What all does the GI bill cover if I use it as a spouse or child of a service member? Books? Tuition? Supplies? Dorms? Food? All? Or will I be responsible for a portion of it?

Answer: When the Post 9/11 GI Bill is transferred to a SPOUSE, while still on active duty, the spouse will receive tuition (attending a state school- up to the in state amount or up to $$$$ at a private school as well as an annual book stipend (which is not usually enough to cover all books, but it helps).  The spouse of an active duty service member will not receive the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA- aka BAH).  A CHILD of an active duty service member will receive the tuition, the book stipend and the MHA.  See more information on transferring benefits

Question: When I was in college before we were married I qualified for a pell grant through FAFSA. My husband is an E6 now and we have one child. Will I still qualify? I am also concerned about child care. Right now we can't afford it, even on post. Also, when trying to transfer to a new school, should I go directly to the school I want to go to or is there someone on post that can offer assistance?

Answer: The only way to determine your eligibility for the Pell Grant is by submitting the FAFSA every academic year (July-Jun).  Even if you do not think you qualify- the only way to know is to apply.  Most scholarships and grants require that you submit the FAFSA anyway, so it is ALWAYS good to do it!

As for the child care question- have you thought about taking online classes?  While it may not be ideal, the option is there to do your coursework after your child goes to sleep!  As a military spouse myself, I have also heard of babysitting swaps- perhaps your schedule and a friend’s would work together so that you can help each other out!

Most bases/posts have an Education Office that can possibly help point you in the right direction.  They may not have a lot of information on scholarships or funding sources, but they will definitely have information about local and online schools.   Some bases/posts also have schools that have representatives in the Education Office. This individual is usually very familiar with the military lifestyle, so they are a great point of contact.  Some of the schools even offer classes on base- typically general education courses or weekend Bachelor programs.

Question: How do you know if a school is accredited and what accreditations they have?

Answer: The US Department of Education has a resource where you can search for any school you are interested and it will provide the accrediting body, if there is one.

There are 2 main types of accreditation: Regional and National.  According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (http://www.chea.org), regional accrediting organizations operate in six different regions of the country and review entire institutions, 98 percent or more of which are both degree-granting and nonprofit. Regional organizations may also accredit non-degree, for-profit institutions, but this is a rare occurrence.

The lists of major Regional accrediting organizations are as follows:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

  • Northwest Accreditation Commission

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Also from CHEA: National accrediting organizations operate throughout the country and review entire institutions. Of the nationally accredited institutions, 34.8 percent are degree-granting and 65.1 percent are non-degree- granting. 20.4 percent are nonprofit and 79.5 percent are for profit. Many are single purpose institutions focused on a specific mission such as education in information technology or business. Some are faith based.

The bottom line is that Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted accreditation.  This is the accreditation held by community colleges, public and private universities and even the Ivy League’s.  Typically, a regionally accredited college or university will not accept transfer credit from a nationally accredited school.  Similarly, if a student is interested in a Master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree earned from a nationally recognized school may not meet the entrance requirements for certain programs.       
Question: What fields of study are most recommended for military spouses, with regards to easy transferability?

Answer: This is an interesting question.  And one that I will answer honestly- the best field of study is one in which you are interested!  However, if you are looking for job prospects, you can always check out the Occupation Outlook Handbook published by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This will show you what the trends show in terms of growth and will also let you know the education required for the occupation.

Another thing to consider is that it is not necessarily the field of study that will determine transferability- it is the school which you choose.  It is recommended that MilSpouses seriously consider the schools that are members of the Service member Opportunity Consortium (SOC).  Within this group, there is a smaller group, call the SOC Degree Network System in which every participating school has agreed to accept some credits from each other -  and it is published!  This is a great resource, albeit a little confusing.

faq's | Education