Military Spouses CAN Further Their Careers AND Support Their Servicemember



Many military spouses want to further their personal career qualifications but stop short due to costs. I want to make fellow military spouses aware of the MyCAA program and help explain how to use the benefit. I am lucky that I completed my coursework and license before marrying into the military. We actually got married, Horatio departed for his next assignment, and I completed my student teaching so to not put a halt to my pursuit of my teaching certification. Many spouses aren’t able to do that and simply stop, sometimes mid course, in order to follow their partner all over the country and sometimes the world. Young spouses don’t have to do that.

What is MyCAA?

MyCAA stands for My Career Advancement Account and it is a program with the goal of helping military spouses, married to service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2, including spouses married to members of the National Guard and reserve component in the same pay grades, who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders.

What benefits can MyCAA provide?

MyCAA will provide an education benefit of $4000 (up to $2000 per year) to assist eligible military spouses who need professional credentials to meet their portable career goals. Annual cap waivers are available for licensure and certificate programs if there is an upfront tuition cost that exceeds the annual $2000 maximum – up to the $4000 education benefit.

Career options are vast and include programs from the hospitality industry to education to homeland security. All you need to do is create an account for your personal MyCAA to get started. Don’t wait. The way I see it, when I’m facing a seemingly insurmountable task: time will pass either way, and when it does, I can have the task behind me, or in front of me. I prefer behind me.


Where can I use my MyCAA Benefits?

Martinsburg College is an institution that caters to military members, veterans and spouses. You can very easily use your MyCAA benefit at Martinsburg, and carry on with your studies no matter where your service member takes you. I’ve followed Horatio to new jobs as often as every six months, to as long as three years. Portable career education programming is key to this mobile lifestyle.

Martinsburg can help you close the skills gap to help you get ahead in your career, helping you get ahead in your current locale, and stay ahead as the military takes you across the country and around the world. They provide digital textbooks and even will lend a tablet for easy access to the textbooks, if necessary.

Nothing can replace one on one interaction with an instructor, and Martinsburg works hard, in unique ways, to make that happen for its students:
Students may access instructional support Monday through Thursday 7:30 AM – 11 PM, Fridays 9 AM – 6 PM, and Saturdays 11 AM – 6 PM. It is not uncommon at many colleges to offer only a few hours of availability per week if that.
In addition if a student requires one-on-one and direct telephone or digital tutoring sessions the college provides those resources.

Time is a premium for everyone these days, Martinsburg can help you balance it all and make it work.

Martinsburg College is a great way for military spouses to utilize their MyCAA benefit. If you qualify, and are looking to increase your mobile career opportunities, then don’t wait. Research the options for course study and get going with it. You will not regret trying. They even have a facebook group for ongoing, real time, support.

The job of military spouse can be the hardest in the military, but it doesn’t have to be your only job. Do something for yourself for a change!


This post was sponsored by Martinsburg College, but the opinions expressed are sincere.

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Chuck E Cheese’s, Without the Upchuck and Sneezes

IMG_8175Only in Taipei…

The kids had two days off of school for Teacher Work Days last month, so a friend of mine, and parent of Harold’s best buddy, suggested an outing to Leo’s Playland.  It is located all the way downtown, by the famous Taipei 101 skyscraper, but with her driver’s trusty skills, we made it there with ease.

Leo’s is a huge indoor playland for kids.  The children can run and climb and shoot sqooshy balls at each other, while the parents sit and have a chat and a cup of coffee. Our school was the only one closed on the day we went to the playland, so it wasn’t at all crowded.  I think half of the kids were from our school.

Play areas such as this one are usually the bane of my parenting existence.  I know that no matter how healthy our kids are when they enter, they will, more likely than not, spend the next days or weeks suffering from some sort of nasty cold or stomach bug they picked up while they played in the germ fest.

Imagine my delight, when, upon entering Leo’s, before we even fished out our wallets, employees scanned each of our foreheads to check for fever!  Oh, if only we could get this practice in place in US establishments…  Plus, the place is immaculate!

Loyal readers know I am not a helicopter parent, but when it comes to germs, maybe I am, just a bit, overprotective.  The attitude stems from years of parenting young kids while my husband was away for varying lengths of time.

IMG_8169The active play is closely monitored by employees and when Harold’s buddy fell, despite the fact that he quickly hopped up and ran on, he was chased down by a helpful employee carrying an ice pack for the imagined injury.

IMG_8164When it’s time for a break, parents can order food for their brood and the cuisine is actually pretty good.  Choices extend far beyond pizza and other standard child fare to fancy pasta and meats!

IMG_8172 IMG_8177Harold had a great time with his friends and we moms had fun, too.  I’d definitely go back to Leo’s on another teacher work day.

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Stop It With the Helicopter Parenting

Back off. Let kids fail; Let them fall from trees and get Bs and Cs.

The era of the helicopter parent must end now. Parents are stifling their kids. The evidence is clear. Young adults are leaving home completely unprepared for the world. Parents who do everything for their kids and keep tabs on their every move can be as bad as those who completely neglect their children’s upbringing.

25 odd years ago, when I was in college, the worst I saw was kids who embraced their newfound freedom by taking up smoking and binge drinking. Of course those are not good practices, but what we see now is worse.


Helicopter parent, Tiger mom, bubble wrapper; whatever name you give it, all the research is screaming at us to stop, post haste!

Stories of suicides at college keep popping up in the news. Young students leave home unable to cope with daily life without a parent guiding them. I, personally, know of half a dozen kids who have left their universities to return home, feeling completely ill-equipped to cope with independent daily life. I know of two students who had to be hospitalized for depression due to these issues and one who attempted suicide.

Unfortunately, most of these tragic stories, whether conveyed through the grapevine or from the media, do nothing but alarm parents. They don’t advise parents on how to better prepare their kids for life away from home.

We also hear amusing stories of parents accompanying adult children to job interviews, parents calling their child’s boss to complain about overwork, and young adults who show up to jury duty with a parent in tow. None of these actions are appropriate behaviors for the parents or children. The helicopter style of parenting is born from love and anxiety on the part of the parent, but it is misguided and not a positive way to raise kids.


Parents who are already hovering need a manual to land the helicopter and step away from the blades cutting their kids off at the knees. It’s almost never too late to learn how to help your kids help themselves.

My eldest son is at the cusp of adulthood. He will graduate from high school in May. I feel confident, though, that my husband and I have done our best to prepare him for college and beyond.

I have never been a helicopter parent. I didn’t set out to compose my parenting method to avoid helicopter parenting, it was just my style to back off and let my kids be kids. I was exhausted in my formative parenting years. None of my four sons slept through the night until they were well into toddlerhood, on the move and active, and by then, I was just too tired to be involved in their play all day. Of course I played with them and guided them, but I also happily stepped back and gave them space to learn.


I remember taking my first born to a playdate at the playground when he was a mobile toddler. I parked myself on a bench and let him have the run of the small, closed-off area. I knew he couldn’t escape and I enjoyed watching him climb, jump and tumble around the equipment, cushioned by wood chips. I anticipated having a chat with my friend while our little ones burned off some energy in the sun.

I was dismayed when she never sat down. Not once! She followed her toddler throughout every inch of the playground. She didn’t just stroll around, watching. She climbed the ladder behind her child, and then dashed around to catch the precious package at the bottom of the slide. When I eventually gave up on sitting and stood to follow my friend so that we could at least get some adult conversation in, I knew that her style was not only never going to be mine, but also that it was probably doing more harm than good.


Fast forward 17 years and I can see a clear difference between kids whose parents hover and pull the puppet strings and kids with parents who give them the tools to make good choices and help themselves. Kids with helicopter parents struggle to find their way.  Their parents become a crutch to get through even the smallest obstacles in life.

There are simple ways to help your kids grow and blossom. They may stumble and fall. They might even get hurt, but you can be pretty sure that they’ll get up, brush themselves off, and move on in a better direction.

My fourth son is seven years old.  I know that I’ve given him tools to think and act for himself.  I advised him to stop doing something I perceived as dangerous and he responded by saying, “Mom, don’t worry, I won’t get hurt, and if I do, I’ll learn my lesson and won’t do it that way next time.”


Helpful tips for every stage of parenting

1. If you are still in your early days of parenting, do yourself and your children a favor by letting them play independently. Help your child learn to entertain himself. If you are your child’s sole source of entertainment, not only will you will never get time to yourself, but your child will come to depend on you every minute of his day and feel helpless when you are not available to give your undivided attention. If you give your child the tools he needs to safely play, explore and even take a tumble, he will grow more independent and confident. You can do this from the time he can sit up, or even earlier. Sit your child on a blanket, surround him with toys and books, and step out of his sight. Watch as he plays, happily. If he cries, looking for you, step into his line of sight and verbally reassure him, before stepping out of sight again. By doing this, you show him he can count on you but that he doesn’t need you every second.

2. If you child is a bit older, make a list of activities she can do on her own, so that when she approaches you to request your help, you are ready with ideas for her.  Suggestions include: Read a book, draw, write a story, build a fort, play a game (if a sibling is available), dance to music, build a city of Legos…  You get the idea.

3. School aged children should be capable of, and expected to do, homework independently.  Of course they might have questions from time to time, but if you feel as though they are using you as a crutch, set up a homework space in an area of the house where you are not readily available. Or, simply remove yourself from the situation. Say that you have to start making dinner, you are working on something else and cannot help right now, anything to give your child the time and space to see that he can do it on his own. This is one of the most important skills you can help your child develop to ensure success as the move through school and beyond.

Also, step away from the poster board and rubber cement. Let your kid do his own science experiment or diorama or oral report. Sure, it would probably look nicer if you did it, but then it’s yours, not his. He can’t take pride in something he didn’t do. As a teacher, I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that we can tell when the parent did the bulk of the work. If you do your kid’s project, you are essentially teaching him he can’t do it himself. Just don’t.

4. As children enter middle school and move through more challenging coursework, they will, of course, need help from time to time. If you edit their work, you do them no favors if you do not include them in the process. Make your child sit with you and be a part of the editing process so that she can learn to do it herself. You won’t be sitting next to her in her dorm room when she has to write a paper, so teach her now to do it well, and on her own.

5. When your kid runs into trouble dealing with a teacher or another kid, don’t rush to make a phone call, send an email or meet with the teacher/parent. Teach your child how to handle the situation. If you start teaching your child to advocate for himself when your he is young, you will stand and watch, with pride, when he tells you about something that went wrong and then goes on to explain how he has already settled it. It is these priceless moments that give you an inkling that you’ve done your job and your child will be well equipped to go out into the world. (Caveat: I always make sure my children know they can ask me for help if the issue gets to a point at which they don’t know what to do.)

6. Let them fail… This is the hardest part of parenting and the fear of it is the cause of most helicopter parenting. Parents who hover do so out of love and anxiety. They worry about their kids. We all do. The difference is in how to handle it. If you let your little one fall and skin his elbow, show him how to wash it, put on a band-aid for him and send him on his way. If your 4th grader fails a test, ask him why he thinks he failed. The right answer is, “I didn’t study/do my homework/listen in class.” Help him see that his actions have consequences. Follow up with a question to direct him to the solution of how to avoid the failure next time. He will get there, I promise! Better to let him fail early and help him learn how to succeed in the future. The future comes sooner than you can imagine.

The bottom line is, give your child freedom and chances to build confidence from very early on and it will become second nature to both you and your child.

If you follow your 2 year old around the playground and never let him fall, he won’t learn how to get up, brush himself off and move on.

If you do your child’s science fair project for him, he won’t know how to get his hands dirty, put in the hard work, and feel the pride that comes from hard work.

If you fight your child’s battles at school, he won’t learn how to advocate for himself and when he goes to college and encounters a stick in the mud professor who won’t budge on a response to an ambiguous test question, he’ll want to call you to help.

Let me be clear: college professors DO NOT want to hear from parents; neither do admissions officers. Teach your kids to be strong advocates for themselves. Teach them to do the hard work. Teach them to stand up for what is right.

Parenting is the one job that, when done right, you are sure to lose after 18-21 odd years. Embrace it. Step away from the helicopter and give your kids room to fly on their own.


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Just Another Rainy Day in Taipei

Any time I leave the house I see something I wouldn’t see if I lived in the U.S.  So, I decided to simply document one afternoon and share some of the sites.


Rainy Day Traffic. Not too bad mid afternoon.

School is out.  A mass exodus of students onto the streets creates a colorful scene.


No helmet, no umbrella, no problem.


A new cafe? near the school. Is it an eating establishment or a visitor’s center? Sometimes things get lost in translation.


Every day traffic.


The morning after. View from up the mountain from our house. Lovely cloud cover, after days and days of heavy rain, but no rain this morning, for a change.

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Backing off To Help Kids Jump Ahead

We usually start a new school year by giving our kids a clear list of guidelines, limits and expectations.  We are two weeks into the new year and are taking a decidedly different tack this time around.

Our eldest, Zack, is in his Senior year.  He does well when expectations and guidelines are clear, but we won’t be close by when he’s in college and he needs to learn how to regulate himself to do his work well and on time, without our regular input.  He’s going to take a gap year after graduation, before heading out to university, but it’s now or never for us to get in the last bit of molding him into a self-sufficient student.

Dwight is a Freshman and is extremely self motivated at the moment, so it really was this attitude that helped us, his parents, feel that the best system for his brothers and him would be a laissez-faire policy.  Since the middle of last year, Dwight has worked hard and efficiently, to learn a lot and get good grades.  Earlier this month, when it came time to set school year limits on screen time, we decided that we should show him we admire his hard work and dedication and tell him we think he is driven enough to set his own limits.

We are doing the same for the younger two sons, to a certain extent.  Bob entered middle school and has a lot more homework than he’s ever had.  We told him that as long as he does it well and his grades in school reflect his efforts, we will let him set his own limits.  So far, so good.

Homework, Homework


Harold is in second grade, so his homework is minimal in comparison to his brothers.  He has a good 30 minutes per night, including math, reading and Mandarin, though, so it’s a significant load for an energetic kid.  We let his brothers model good study habits for him and we continue to read with him every night.  He is eager to get through is homework in the afternoons because he wants to get outside to play with his “club” friends.  At age seven, he still needs help forming good habits.  If he rushes through his work, he has to do it again, more carefully.  Hopefully he will learn from this routine and it will serve him well in the long run.


So far, the boys are all getting their work done and getting good enough grades as a result.  Zack likes to go over his game plan with me, every day, so that I know what he’s doing and when.  I think it helps him to say it out loud.  Dwight just checks in once in a while to let me know where he stands in getting though it all, and Bob just tells me when he’s finished, unless he needs some help along the way.

We are a bit more than two weeks into the school year, but I feel, in my gut, that we are off to a good start.  All the boys know that if they veer off of the straight and narrow path, they will have limits put on them, but as long as they put in the time and good efforts and the grades reflect their hard work, they are free to manage their own time.


Here’s hoping…

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Scholarships For Wounded Warriors- Deadline September 15

Colorado Technical University Calls for Annual Wounded Warrior Scholarship Applications

For the first time, CTU expands program to include those injured in any combat duty and caregivers of wounded warriors –

Colorado Technical University (CTU) announced its call for applications for the 2016 Wounded Warrior Scholarship. The eighth annual scholarship program is intended to provide much needed assistance to active duty military personnel, veterans, their families and caregivers to pursue higher education. Together with the Yellow Ribbon Fund, the program covers the full educational costs including tuition, books and fees for a single degree program, as well as a new laptop computer.

CTU awards 50 scholarships annually — 25 to wounded service members and 25 to their spouses or caregivers. To date, CTU has awarded 350 scholarships with a total value of $4.6 million to honor those that put themselves on the front lines for this country every day. “CTU has always been a strong advocate for military families, and this scholarship is a testament to that,” said Bob Lally, retired naval captain and director of CTU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Program. “These service members and their families fight for our country and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to succeed. That means providing support networks to guide them and giving them an opportunity to pursue their dreams of higher education free from financial strain.”

The scholarships aim to provide a way for wounded service members, their spouses and caregivers to earn their degree to better prepare them to move into civilian careers. This is the first year in which CTU has expanded the program to include those injured in any combat duty and caregivers of wounded warriors. The scholarships are also intended as a way to learn and enhance skills that may be needed for a job promotion. It can often be very difficult for service members to rebuild their lives and livelihood after an injury. CTU seeks to offer a way to start fresh with support and encouragement.

“Many military students place their education on hold while they serve,” said Andrew H. Hurst, president of CTU. “We strive to honor this sacrifice by maintaining a deep familiarity with the day-to-day challenges they, and their families, face. This scholarship is a tangible example of CTU’s commitment to the military – and we’re proud to expand the program’s eligibility this year.”

How to Apply for the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Program

The application to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Program consists of an essay sharing the obstacles a wounded service person has overcome, or the obstacles encountered while caring for and supporting someone who is injured. Scholarship winners are selected based on their desire to advance their education and plans to apply their degree for career advancement after completing the program.

Candidates must provide proof of high school graduation or equivalency documents, and an active United States Armed Forces member or veteran, or spouse or caregiver of an active service member or veteran who is currently receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered in combat or injuries received in the line of duty.

Applications must be completed and received by September 15, 2015 and winners will be announced on November 11, 2015. For more information about the scholarship and to access the application, please visit the following website:

Selection Process

An independent selection board consisting of representatives from the academic and military communities select recipients. For a complete list of scholarship recipients, visit

About Colorado Technical University

Founded in 1965, Colorado Technical University (CTU) provides higher education to connect students to what matters most in reaching their professional goals. CTU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs taught by real-world faculty members who enrich the curriculum with their industry experience and prepare students for today’s challenges and the hard-hitting problems of tomorrow.

CTU’s personalized, online learning system allows students to control what, where, when and how they learn. Students can also learn and connect on campuses in multiple cities. With the help of faculty, industry professionals and more than 70,000 alumni, CTU students can also grow a powerful professional network to use their entire career. For more information, please visit

CTU gives military students flexibility and accessibility to higher education whether they are deployed or at home through its availability of online classes and support services. For more information please visit:

CTU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, CTU is a member of the Career Education Corporation network of universities, colleges and schools. For more information, visit

CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclaimers at

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Prepare for a Mobile Career as a Military Spouse

I had a military spouse “ah ha moment” about 10 years into our marriage. It came at the end of a debate with my husband about why the government seems to make odd choices related to his job back then.   I’d been putting my 2 cents into an issue and Horatio, frustrated with me for trying to insert myself into his area of expertise, finally said, “I have my job and you have yours. Let’s leave it at that.”

I was outraged at first. After all, my opinion matters. I came to realize, unfortunately, that it actually doesn’t matter when it comes to the ins and outs of his job in the Navy. So, ever the optimist (with a touch of snark), I turned the negative experience into a positive one and declared that, yes, he has his job and I have mine. Actually, I have several. Most of my “jobs” are unpaid, but some are paid and they all matter.

Of course, as a military spouse, in my opinion, my most important job is managing our family life. A strong home life is the root of everything we do. My spouse travels A LOT, is sometimes deployed, and always works long hours, so it is left to me to ensure that our kids are happy and healthy day to day. A career outside the home is important to me as well, so before we married, in 1996, I changed my career path to a portable one. I had a degree in International Affairs and worked in Public Relations, but knew in the long run, what I wanted to do was teach. Knowing the military life is anything but static; I decided that there was no time like the present to move on to that career.


Choose a career that can move with you.

When Horatio and I decided to get married, I realized my best course of action was to get certified to teach before we started moving around every couple of years. Schools need teachers and schools are everywhere. In one way or another, I knew, with that certification, I could get a fulfilling job no matter where the Navy sent us. Of course, back then, I’d never envisioned being sent to East Asia, but here we are.

We are now 10 more years into our marriage and have moved 13 times.  I have utilized my portable career in three countries so far and am currently substitute teaching at the American School. It’s a job that gives me the scheduling freedom to devote my efforts to both home and work, as needed. I love it.  For me, it’s the perfect career.


I’m lucky that I knew what I wanted to do before marrying into the military and was able to plan ahead. If I hadn’t, though, I know there are programs for degrees and certifications that are really great and often have specific programs that cater to military families. Martinsburg College is one such institution. They have several choices of certificate training, as well as Associates Degree programs to help get military spouses on their way to creating a portable career they can take with them wherever the military sends them, and provide real time support with a facebook group. Really, that’s what it’s about. We want careers, like our military member spouses, not just a job to bring in a bit of income. We all know that the military career will eventually come to an end and the more prepared we spouses are, the better. Martinsburg College can help military spouses find their way to a career that is fulfilling, challenging AND brings in funds.



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Connect with a Deployed Soldier. Send a HeroBox

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to support the troops?  I know I get several requests, every month, from kind people looking to connect with a deployed soldier, sailor or marine.  Because of increased security, it’s not as easy as it once was.  I found a service that can help you do a good deed.

HeroBox has developed a revolutionary way to connect anyone in the country to a deployed service member instantly online.  This is a great opportunity for those who are looking to provide direct support to the troops.  HeroBox will pair you with a deployed hero and you’ll get to know him or her on a personal level.

herobox 2

By registering, you are committing to send one HeroBox each month to your hero.  Whether you sign up for one month or twelve, you will make a direct and lasting impact.  Some soldiers have no one at home to connect with, so this small gesture could make a huge difference in a life.

For more information on this program, please visit

herobox 1

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7 Tips to Help Military Families Afford College

The following is a guest post about a topic near and dear to my heart right now, as we embark on the adventure of finding a good-fit university for our oldest son.  The college search and application maze is never simple to navigate, but for military families who move frequently, especially those, like ours, who are living overseas, the process is especially complicated.

Thank you, Sara Furlong for helping to simplify the experience for Military families like ours.

Milspouses are known for making magic happen on a tight budget, but the challenge of paying for college fills most parents with dread. ‘How will we ever afford it?’ is a question that keeps many of us up at night.

But wait! There are lots of actions you can take and opportunities you can seize to make college more affordable. Whether your child is about to embark on college or about to leave the womb, below are a few tips that will help you out. If your children are young, you’ll probably want to read this whole article. If they’re nearing college age, you may want to jump ahead to #3.

1. Get your financial house in order as soon as possible.

If your children are young and time is on your side, now is the time to take care of outstanding credit card debt, save an emergency fund, and set your retirement savings on autopilot. Once your financial situation is tidy, you’ll be in a better position (and mind set) to begin saving for college.

2. Save, save, save!

One of the most important keys to affording college is to get strategic about saving – ASAP! Here are some tips to get you started:
• Be aware of the numbers. A good place to start is to find out how much you’re going to need to save. Once you’ve done that and are totally overwhelmed, you can spend a few minutes freaking out. Okay, now stop. Take a deep breath. Keep in mind that around 75% of students receive financial aid and, as the dependent of a military service member, your child is likely to have access to a number of opportunities that will help make college even more affordable. (More on that later!) There are many ways to tackle the cost of college. So decide on an amount to save that is realistic for your family and a military budget.

• Set up an education savings account like a Coverdell IRA or a 529 account. Contributing faithfully to a plan like these over time will allow you to save a surprising amount, thanks to the magic of compounding interest. Plus, the associated tax benefits allow you to save even more.

• Use salary increases and special pay to further your financial goals. It’s hard to resist the temptation to spend extra money on things you’ve been wanting and needing, but your self-control will pay off. When you get a raise, pretend it never happened and invest the money in your children’s college savings accounts.

• Squirrel away small amounts where you can. Skip the latte or dessert and save that money. A few dollars here and there adds up big time.

3. Take advantage of military education benefits.

Military spouses and children serve their country, too. That’s why there are a number of military education benefits offered to dependents of military veterans and service members.
In addition to federal benefits, check with your child’s schools of interest. They may offer additional funding to military dependents that is not widely known or advertised.

4. Apply for scholarships, financial aid, and other funding help.

Scholarships can take a significant bite out of the cost of college. Some will be based on your child’s past performance in academics and activities, others are available strictly to military dependents.

We suggest you begin your college scholarship treasure hunt by looking at opportunities available for military children. (Scholarships for Military Children)
From there, seek out financial aid, merit-based scholarships, grants, and other forms of tuition help. Military One Source offers a good outline of places to start.

5. Choose a military-friendly school.

If you select a college with support staff and services devoted specifically to helping military students and their families succeed, you will be less likely to miss out on available opportunities that make school more affordable.

Even more important: many of these schools offer reduced tuition rates or grants for veterans, service members, and their spouses and dependents.

For example, Drexel University  extends military tuition discounts of up to 30% off to the children of active duty service members.

Trident University International  is another military-friendly college that offers military education grants that reduce tuition by up to 36% for military spouses and dependents. They also have a Military Assistance Center that can walk you through the process and help you find funding for as much of your college costs as possible – sometimes even 100%!

There are many schools that offer deep tuition discounts to military dependents, so do your homework and shop around.

6. Consider online colleges.

Online college is a great option for students who are military dependents, especially if the family is stationed overseas. By pursuing an online education, the student can stay close to loved ones, take full advantage of their opportunity to live in a foreign country, and still work toward their degree goals.

Another great perk: online schools are often far less expensive. There’s a good chance you’ll pay very little out-of-pocket if you can find a program that suits your needs, has affordable tuition, offers military discounts or grants, and honors military education benefits.

Some great schools that are trusted examples of military friendly online colleges include:

• Trident University International (
• Pennsylvania State University—World Campus (
• Daytona State College (
• Martinsburg College (
• Western Kentucky University (
• Central Michigan University (
• Drexel University (

These schools may be a good place to start when researching your options.

7. Seek out additional perks if your student will be overseas.

If your son or daughter decides to go to a brick-and-mortar American college while the rest of the family is stationed abroad, you’ll encounter some additional challenges. Thankfully, some programs exist to help.

A great example: travel benefits for college students who are military dependents. If your student meets the criteria they will be entitled to a free flight to visit the family each fiscal year. If your family plans to take a trip elsewhere, the student can also meet you at that alternate location, as long as the cost of the flight does not exceed the price of a flight home.
To arrange this, just visit your personnel office to acquire student travel orders. You will also need proof of the student’s full-time enrollment status, and a copy of your PCS orders, which should list your child as a dependent. Once you have all that, you can book the student’s trip through the military travel office.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when you’re planning for a child’s college education – especially when you’re living on a military salary and stationed overseas. Hopefully this article has provided you with some good, hopeful jumping-off points that will help you take action and set your child on a solid path to an affordable education.

Have some additional tips or experiences with any of these programs? Post them in the comments!

SaraFurlongSara Furlong is a freelance writer and mom from Upstate NY. She enjoys sharing info that can help other moms stay sane and feel empowered to achieve their goals.

Posted in Living abroad, Military news, No Nonsense Parenting, Uncategorized, veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patriotic Tipsy Elves

Tipsy Elves burst onto the world stage with their Shark Tank appearance in December of 2013.  I was an immediate fan, but am an even bigger fan now.

Tipsy Elves now has American Apparel and they sent us some samples.

Fourteen year old, Dwight wants the entire line of fantastic patriotic clothing.  Tipsy Elves is a giving company and I encourage my readers to visit their site and buy what you like.  You get great clothing and the company gives to people in need.

The clothing is high quality and fun to wear.  We can all benefit from having more elements of fun in our lives, and more American patriotism is always a good thing.  Our military family loves to wear American Flag themed clothing to show our American pride, wherever we go.

So Cool!

So Cool!


Tipsy Elves windbreaker and socks

Dwight in the American Flag Windbreaker and Socks

Tipsy Elves provided the clothing, but the opinions are my own. I only write about companies I truly like.

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