Group Awards Spouses Record Number of Scholarships

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2008 - More military spouses than ever before are heading back to school this year, and they've earned some financial help to study for their chosen degree, National Military Family Association officials said.

The association, which prepares military spouses, children, and parents to better deal with the unique challenges of military life, recently announced the nearly 400 recipients of its 2008 Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program.

This number represents a dramatic increase over previous years, officials said, thanks to new partnerships with the Fisher House Foundation and Health Net Federal Services, who helped meet the increasing demand of military spouses for education benefits.

"I am very determined, and I will finish my degree. It will be one of the proudest moments of my life, and I truly believe this is something every person should have the opportunity to accomplish," said DeAnn Fine, a Marine Corps spouse and winner of an NMFA scholarship.

"There are so many opportunities for [servicemembers] to earn a higher education," she continued, "and there should be just as many opportunities for their spouses because we proudly serve our country, too."

In addition to the Joanne Holbrook Patton scholarships, the new Folds of Honor Foundation provided generous scholarship funding for 180 spouses of military servicemembers disabled or killed in the line of duty during the global war on terror.

Of the scholarship recipients, about 56 percent are Army spouses, 17 percent are Navy spouses, 15 percent are Air Force spouses, 10 percent are Marine spouses, and 2 percent are Coast Guard spouses. More than 75 percent of recipients are married to enlisted servicemembers, while 20 percent are officers' spouses. Warrant officers' spouses represent 2 percent of the scholarships awarded.

NMFA created its scholarship program to provide financial assistance to military spouses working toward their education goals. The military lifestyle presents several challenges. Education may cost more for military spouses because constant moves require they re-take credits that don't transfer or they are forced to change their degree or program because the new school does not offer the same program, officials explained. Also, spouses sometimes take a break from their education when lengthy deployments create additional child care expenses or limit their time for their classes and studies.

Through the inspiration of Joanne Holbrook Patton, who recognized that a scholarship serves both as a reward and an incentive, NMFA officials said they launched the program to enhance full military spouse career potential.

Scholarships are awarded to spouses of uniformed servicemembers -- including those of active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees and survivors -- to obtain professional certification or to attend post-secondary or graduate school. Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $10,000, and can be put toward tuition, fees, and school room and board.

A complete list of winners, along with more information on the scholarship requirements and application process, can be found on the National Military Family Association Web site.

The National Military Family Association is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

*Related Sites:*
National Military Family Association  [ ]
Group Awards Spouses Record Number of Scholarships [ ]