On the most recent NBC’s Today Show, Money 911 segment, Sharon Epperson, took a question from a viewer via Skype, her answer was so informative I felt that I had to share it with all of you in hopes that it can help you or someone you know!
Question from Deena in Jacksonville, NC:
I am an active duty military spouse, currently a stay at home mom, but and I want to go back to school to become an Ultrasound Technician. I know my full tuition for a degree in that field will cost about $10,000. I want to take advantage of any free money I can get towards tuition, what are some grants/scholarships I should apply for?
First, make sure you don’t overpay for your degree. Choosing the right school is the first step. You want to attend the most affordable, accredited program in your area. Check to see if your local community college offers an ultrasound technician program — it may be much cheaper that a private institution. Also verify that not only that the college is accredited, but also the specific ultrasound technician program.
In terms of finding free money, here are a few steps to take right now:
1. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You might be able to qualify for the Federal Pell Grant. The maximum award for the 2011-2012 school year was $5,500.
2. Look into post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, which provides tuition, fees, as well as books and supplies for military spouses. Your husband’s unused benefits may be transferable to you. Find out more information at www.gibill.va.gov or www.military.com.
3. Look into the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program (known as “MyCAA”.) This program offers a maximum benefit of $4,000 ($2,000 a year) in financial assistance. Again, more info is available at www.military.com.
4. Use Military Scholarship Finder at www.military.com to find many scholarships specifically for military spouses or scholarships that you may qualify for based on your field of study or other attributes. Go to www.fastweb.com or www.scholarshipamerica.org.
You’ll find many scholarships for military spouses, including $1,000 to $5,000 scholarships from Thanks USA, www.thanksusa.org, a non-profit tax exempt charitable organization focused on thanking American troops and up to $1,000 from the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship through the National Military Family Association, www.nmfa.org.
Hope this can help you or someone you know and thanks Sharon for the great answer!