By Buddy Blouin

Going back to school as a milspouse can be exciting but there are plenty of concerns most families have when doing so. Nobody said it was going to be easy but enriching yourself through education is a reward that can help you not only grow as a person but also as a professional. If you are looking into going back to school as an adult, you’re bound to have questions. Not to worry, our guide can help you go back to school in a way that works for you and your family.

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How to Go Back to School as an Adult

There is soccer practice, grocery shopping, everyday chores…the list goes on and on. Going back to school as an adult comes with many challenges and for milspouses, there are some unique hurdles. Not to worry, here’s how to go back to school as an adult in a manner that fits your lifestyle:

Step 1: Utilize Your Military Benefits

If you’re a milspouse, you’ll have access to educational military benefits because of your partner’s service. The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) is a great place to get started, as is the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA). Furthermore, when deciding on an institution, be sure to inquire about scholarships or grants specifically available as this will vary from school to school.

Step 2: Assess Your Educational and Lifestyle Needs

If you are stationed near a nice campus and have the time for in-person learning, going back to school in a literal sense might work for you. But for others, online options may be a better fit.

People learn differently. Some universities focus on certain avenues of study more than others. Depending on where you receive your education, you may find different grants for adults going back to school or scholarships available tailored for the military community.

There really is no one right school or way to go back to school. Education is diverse as are lifestyles. The key here is to find a way to balance your life in the military community and thrive as a student at the same time.

Step 3: Create an Educational Plan

Military families know that the American Armed Forces can create some unfortunate timelines in the name of freedom. Such sacrifices are part of the cost of freedom, and enrolling at an institution that can help you with a schedule that is flexible to these concerns can be helpful for all parties.

Grants to Go Back to School

CollegeScholarships.org has many different resources to find financial support for your education. Be sure to visit their Military Spouses Scholarships page to compare your options. There, you’ll find different opportunities by branch, state, and more.

Speaking of states, many have resources that provide grants for going back to school. They are diverse and you won’t qualify for everything, but there are several for adults looking to continue their education, milspouses specifically, and other demographics in need of financial assistance.

It can take some legwork but free grants to go back to school are available. Be sure to conduct due diligence, however, as you’ll want to read the fine print and double-check that you are signing up for a grant or scholarship rather than a loan that you’ll need to repay.

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If I Go Back to School Will My Loans Pause?

Yes, you can have your student loans paused if you go back to school. However, there are some finer points you’ll need to consider to see if it’s right for you. Here’s how to defer student loans when going back to school and what you need to know when doing so:

  • Deferring your loans means you don’t have to pay, but you are unlikely to make progress in paying it back or for any sort of forgiveness.
  • Income-driving repayment (IDR) plans can be a great alternative that may have payments as low as $0 per month.
  • Even if you defer your student loans, interest may still accrue.

You can apply to defer your loans by choosing the type of deferment you need to request, filling out the proper forms for your loan, showing documentation that proves eligibility for your type of deferment, and sending them to your Federal student loan servicer.

Going back to school as a milspouse is a rewarding experience, but how you do it matters. Be brave, plan accordingly, and take on your next educational challenge with confidence.

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Student Loan Deferment, Federal Student Aid. Accessed January 2024. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/lower-payments/get-temporary-relief/deferment




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