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Military Spouses' Help for Nursing School

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Question:

My wife is in the military and we have to move around a bit. I want to get into nursing because it’s pretty portable but money is tight. I was wondering if there was any help through the military, maybe with military nursing, a nursing scholarship or something? I want to be an LPN, if that makes a difference. Thomas

Answer:

Dear Thomas,

Life as a military spouse can be difficult when your profession isn'€™t portable, so choosing something like nursing may be a pretty good idea. Having more men go into nursing is also a great idea, so we'll do what we can to help you here.

The United States military has a program called the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program. This program is meant to encourage spouses of members of the military to study one of the many so-called portable careers, such as nursing.

Before applying, you need to be sure that you would qualify. The program is for spouses of:

- Active service duty members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2
- Guard and Reserve members who are on Title 10 orders

You must be married and not legally separated to be entitled to this benefit. You must also be able to finish your studies within three years of beginning the first course.

The program lists the maximum benefit at $4,000, with a $2,000 cap each fiscal year, but there are annual cap waivers that may be available if you qualify. These are to be used if the upfront tuition costs exceed the annual cap, but the total amount still will not exceed $4,000.

Eligible Studies

You mention that you would like to be a nurse by going the LPN (licensed practical nurse) route, but this program allows you to study to be a registered nurse (RN) through an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), as well. Eligible studies are:

- Associate'€™s degree (excluding General Studies and Liberal Arts)
- License, certificate or certification at an accredited college, university, or technical school in the United States or approved testing organization provides military spouses with portable career opportunities

Academic and Financial Counseling

An added benefit to this program is the Employment Readiness Counseling service. This is a service that is for all military spouses, even those who would not qualify for the financial assistance.

Counselors can help identify additional resources that may help you follow your studies, as well as pay for incidental costs, such as tools, books, and child care. The counselors may also provide help in setting your professional goals, identifying other support systems.

How to Tell if a School is Eligible?

While doing research into nursing schools, you must keep in mind that the school must be considered qualified so you can use this benefit. The nursing school must be accredited and recognized by the Department of Education or Department of Defense, as well as by the board of nursing in your state.

Military Spouse Nursing Scholarships

Most universities have scholarships for many different types of students. Some are based on ancestry while others on areas of study. Some U.S. universities offer scholarships specifically for military spouses.

As always, be sure to read the rules for eligibility. Generally, you would have to provide proof of status as a military spouse and then meet the university'™s requirements for program entry.

As you can see, there are a few options for you to pursue if you want to become a nurse. Good luck!

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