By Michelle Joyner
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is proud to announce the nearly 400 recipients of its 2008 Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. This number represents a dramatic increase over previous years, 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. In addition, the new Folds of Honor Foundation provided generous scholarship funding for 180 spouses of military service members disabled or killed in the line of duty during the Global War on Terror.
"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. There are so many opportunities for service men and women to earn a higher education and there should be just as many opportunities for their spouses because we proudly serve our country, too!" said DeAnn, a Marine Corps spouse and winner of an NMFA scholarship.
Of the scholarship recipients, approximately 56 percent are Army spouses, 17 percent Navy spouses, 15 percent Air Force spouses, 10 percent Marine spouses, and 2 percent Coast Guard spouses. More than 75 percent of recipients are married to enlisted service members, while 20 percent are officer spouses, and 2 percent warrant officer spouses.
NMFA created its scholarship program to provide financial assistance to military spouses working toward their education goals. 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. Many times spouses take a break from their education because lengthy deployments create additional child care expenses or limit their time for their classes and studies - something their service member assisted with when not deployed.
Today, more than ever, spouses note one of their greatest concerns is earning a post secondary degree so they will be prepared to provide for their families if their service member is killed or wounded in service to our country. Through the inspiration of Joanne Holbrook Patton, who recognized that a scholarship serves both as a reward and an incentive, NMFA launched the program to enhance full military spouse career potential.
Scholarships are awarded to spouses of uniformed service members (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 can be found online, along with more information on the scholarship requirements and application process, by visiting www.nmfa.org/2008_scholarship_recipients.
About NMFA: The National Military Family Association, the only nonprofit organization that represents families of all ranks and services, prepares spouses, children, and parents to better deal with the unique challenges of military life. The Association protects benefits vital to all families, including those of the deployed, wounded, and fallen. For more than 35 years, its staff and volunteers, comprised mostly of military family members, have built a reputation as the leading experts on military family issues. For more information, visit www.nmfa.org/.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski