Spouses + Scholarships

spouses graduating
Scholarship Button - Partner Scholarships

Partner School Scholarships

NMFA partners with select schools to offer a variety of additional scholarships that are uniquely designed for military spouses.

Learn More>>

Scholarship Button - Certifications + Licensing

Certification + Licensing Scholarships

Military spouses seeking a license, certificate, training, continuing education credits, exams, or fees, we have funds for you.

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NMFA Military Spouse Scholarship

Our spouse scholarship and professional funds range from $500 - $2500 and are available to military spouses with a valid military ID.

Applications are closed until December 1, 2015. Applications are open from December through January each year.

The award is a one-time payment that must be used within 12 months and can’t be used retroactively to cover expenses preceding February 1, 2016. You can apply each year, even if you have been awarded in the past.

Our Association partners with select schools to offer additional scholarships and licensing or certification funding for military spouses.

Register to access these benefits.


Scholarships and funding are available for a variety of educational and professional pursuits:

Scholarship Eligibility

You can apply for a spouse scholarship if you:

  • are a military spouse with a valid military ID
  • are married to an active duty, reserve, guard, retired, medically retired, wounded or fallen service member (must be a service-related wound, illness, injury or death that took place after September 11, 2001)
  • are a dual service military spouse
  • are a divorced spouse, but ONLY if you receive 20/20/20 benefits or 20/20/15 benefits
  • are married when we ask for verification paperwork, usually a month after the applications close

Here’s who is not eligible:

  • Surviving spouses who are remarried, unless they are remarried to a service member
  • Children (Check the Defense Commissary Agency Military Children Scholarships)
  • Spouses of former service members, unless they are retired or medically-retired
Joanne Holbrook Patton

About Joanne Holbrook Patton

Our Scholarship Program is named in honor of Joanne Holbrook Patton, a fifth-generation Army daughter and daughter-in-law of General George S. Patton. She was married to the late Major General George S. Patton for 52 years and believes strongly in the importance of education for military spouses.

State or local certifications and/or licenses are required in many portable careers. While the licensing and certifications process can present obstacles, such portable careers can be a great choice for a military spouse trying to maintain a career throughout countless PCS seasons. Licensing and certification cover a wide variety of fields and include trade school programs.

Our scholarship program and our partners offer funds for spouses pursuing certifications, trade school, licenses, and more. Learn More>>

FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Accredited Financial Counselor® Fellowship

2015 timeline:

  • Military Spouse FINRA Fellowship Application will be open March 2 through April 17
  • Military Spouse FINRA Fellowship Finalists notified via email on June 26, 2015

The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) in association with the National Military Family Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation is pleased to announce the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Accredited Financial Counselor® Fellowship. This program provides military spouses with the education necessary to enter the financial counseling career field.

The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) training and the first two attempts at both exams. Upon successful completion of the program and required practicum, the participant will be awarded the Accredited Financial Counselor® designation from AFCPE®.

Visit www.militaryspouseafcpe.org for more information.

Please click here if you would like to receive an email notification about this program (Select Military Spouse Scholarships + Education eNotices).

State Licensing Requirements

How it works

State licensing requirements may restrict career portability for some military spouses.

Those military spouses who require a license to work are encouraged to contact their state licensing board early to inquire about the licensing process.

Efforts have been made to streamline license portability for military spouses using one of three strategies: endorsing existing licenses, issuing temporary licenses, or conducting expedited review processes for military spouses.

However, some states exclude certain professions from meeting these requirements, such as attorneys or teachers.

Be sure to review the licensing requirements in the state where you are planning to seek work.

Spouse Licensure Map with Key
I Am Video

Pursuing higher education is not only admirable and exciting; it can also lead to rewarding opportunities. Education doesn’t just have to refer to college either. It can be anything from GED classes, English as a second language(ESOL) classes, licensing and certification programs, and trade or vocational programs. Although it might be difficult for military spouses who move regularly to complete an academic program, it is certainly not impossible! Don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged when thinking of furthering your education—in fact it’s easier than you think! Learn More>>

Juggling military lifestyle and education can be a balancing act. Here you will find valuable resources targeted to helping you achieve your goals.

money bags

Grants + Funding

Military spouses may be eligible for three resources to help offset the higher education and employment costs: in-state tuition, MyCAA, or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Learn More >>

Asking questions

Scholarship Finder

Many organizations and clubs offer scholarships for military spouses. The SECO scholarship finder makes it easy to find additional scholarship opportunities. Learn More>>

Latin American male student

Is your school accredited?

Degrees from accredited institutions will be worth more to you when you rejoin the workforce than those that are not accredited. To receive accreditation, an institution must have an outside accreditation organization review the structure and content of its degree programs to ensure that the institution meets specific education standards.

These resources can help determine whether or not your school is accredited:

Education Resources

  • Tutor.com offers professional online tutors, available 24/7 to assist current students or those planning to go back to school. Tutors can help users prepare for standardized tests, write resumes and college applications, and brush up on critical skills. The service is free for some family members; check eligibility rules to see if you qualify.
  • Tutors by Base is a tool specifically for the military community that matches any student with available tutors. The tutoring service is not free, but the matching is.
  • Kahn Academy's resources are available to anyone completely free of charge. Students can make use of the site's extensive library of content, including interactive challenges, assessments, and videos from any computer with access to the web.
African American male student

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO)

To address military spouses’ unique combination of work-life interests and priorities, the Department of Defense (DoD) has established a comprehensive, holistic, spouse-centered program called SECO: Spouse Education and Career Opportunities. It is part of DoD’s commitment to overall spouse health and well-being. SECO can help you search for information on portable careers, get you started on your education, finalize that perfect resume, or assist you with your career planning.

Employment Information + Resources

The unemployment rate for military spouses is nearly 26% - more than 3x's the national average. Reports state that military spouses, if employed, make 38% less than their civilian counterparts. PCS moves, licensing requirements, deployments and lack of opportunities can be blamed for such staggering statistics. Here you will find valuable resources targeted to help shrink the military spouse unemployment gap.

Military spouses can feel overwhelmed with the challenges of seeking employment. In recent years, new programs have been developed to help military spouses find and maintain a portable career compatible with military life.

  • Installation-based spouse employment programs provide customized career resources for spouses. From resume writing workshops to local networking events, this may be a good option for a military spouse.

  • Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) offers military spouses comprehensive phone and web-based support through Military OneSource. SECO consultants are Master’s level subject matter experts who promote self-directed solutions to empower military spouses in their educational and career development.

  • The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is a digital recruiting platform (similar to a job board) that offers direct access to employers who want to hire military spouses.

  • Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is a nonprofit military employment assistance program with a network of employers who want to hire military spouses, transitioning service members, and caregivers. MSCCN provides employment counselors and free training workshops.

  • Hiring our Heroes is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation which offers networking receptions, hiring fairs, and Career Spark, a new resume tool that translates volunteer experience.

  • Mentoring and Networking programs: There are several programs available to military spouses that provide mentoring, networking and career support, including the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW), InGearCareer, Military Spouse JD Network and the MilSpouse eMentor Program.

Blonde lady

What about Federal Jobs?

There are two programs specifically designed to help military spouses gain access to federal employment. They are not the same and they do not apply to every military spouse. Please review the eligibility requirements for each program and contact your installation Spouse Training and Career Center for more information.

Military Spouse Preference

The Military Spouse Preference program (MSP) (also known as the Priority Placement Program (PPP) or “Program S”) offers employment placement preference in DoD civilian personnel positions to military spouses who meet certain criteria. The program applies to DoD vacancies only. Contact your local or regional civilian personnel office to determine if you are eligible to register for this program.

Noncompetitive Appointment

Also known as Executive Order 13473, the noncompetitive appointment allows military spouses to be hired without going through the competitive process. To be eligible for a noncompetitive appointment, the military spouse must meet the job qualifications and have moved with their service member spouse under permanent change of station (PCS) orders within the last two years. Military widows or widowers and spouses of 100 percent disabled veterans are also eligible for a noncompetitive appointment and do not have a two year limitation.

Explore federal job opportunities online at USAJobs.

Are Military Spouses Eligible for Unemployment Compensation?

Yes, in nearly every state military spouses are eligible for apply for unemployment compensation if they receive PCS orders to relocate out of state. Eligible military spouses must apply for unemployment compensation in the state where work was performed, not where they are moving.

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