The Department of Defense reports that 85% of the military’s 1.2 million spouses either want or need to work. Obtaining a college degree, or returning to school to update your skill set, can be the gateway to greater opportunities.
Undoubtedly, first-time college students and college graduates alike can benefit from obtaining a degree, but there are a number of factors that stack up against military spouses who want to go back to school. Deployments often force one spouse to juggle affairs in the home and outside it. They may have to work full-time jobs and raise children, doubling up on duties usually divided among two parents. Other military spouses must make the difficult decision to pull the plug on their career so that they can raise their children while their spouses are deployed.
Burdened by the inflexibility of their own schedules, these military spouses may have difficulty meeting the demands of the traditional classroom. And this is why an online degree from an accredited college or university may not just be a viable, but also an appealing option for many military spouses.
Online Programs for Military Spouses
The mantra goes “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and the online programs offered by a number colleges and universities provide a flexible and convenient way for many military spouses to get a degree. These online programs allow military spouses to attend to their children and their home while also working toward their professional goals.
The greatest advantage in earning an online degree is the inherent convenience and flexibility. The best online colleges for military spouses are entirely asynchronous, allowing students to listen to lectures and complete assignments on their own time. The dining room table could literally double as your classroom desk, as you communicate with professors and classmates through discussion boards and chat sessions. Military spouses may also lack access to college campuses, making traditional modes of learning even more difficult, if not impossible.
Education Assistance and Benefit Programs for Military Spouses
There are resources out there to help military spouses earn the education they deserve. For example, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs offer some education benefits to military spouses. In addition, service members can transfer education benefits offered by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to their immediate family members. However, only unused benefits can be transferred, and service members may have to meet additional criteria.
Some spouses may also be able to receive Survivors and Dependents Assistance (DEA), which is available to sons, daughters, and spouses of service members who are hospitalized or veterans who have died. Individuals should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for further information.