Skip to main content

Educational Support for Armed Service Members’ Families Earns MC ‘Military Spouse Friendly’ Status

Loretta Kendrick, left, and Santanna Sneed praise Mississippi College for the educational support it provides to military spouses.
Loretta Kendrick, left, and Santanna Sneed praise Mississippi College for the educational support it provides to military spouses.

Loretta Kendrick remembers being in the middle of a grocery run when she received one of the most memorable calls of her life.

The Jackson resident and widow of U.S. Army veteran Samuel C. Kendrick, Pvt. 1014th QM Plat. TAB C, had been awaiting word of her scholarship application to Mississippi College. The excited voices on the line let her know she had been accepted, even before the actual words had sprung forth.

“I started crying right there in the store,” said Kendrick a psychology major at MC. “God opened a door for me to apply for a scholarship, and I received the warmest welcome from the registration committee. They made me feel like I had won a million dollars.

“MC provides the best post-secondary education experiences for spouses of servicemembers who are looking to further their education and prepares them for a greater career opportunity.”

Santanna Sneed was initially drawn to Mississippi College because of its Christian foundation. The Tupelo native earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and her specialist degree in educational leadership at MC.

“My decision to attend MC was reinforced by my research confirming its approval for the G.I. Bill,” said Sneed, whose husband, Art, a staff sergeant in the Mississippi National Guard, served as an avionics supervisor at the National Guard facility in Jackson. “This was important, because we wanted to maximize my husband’s benefits and minimize the out-of-pocket expenses for my ongoing education.”

For creating sustainable and meaningful educational paths for the spouses of military members, Mississippi College continues its designation of being a Military Friendly School for the 2024-25 year. This is the first year it has also been designated a Military Spouse Friendly School.

“Military Spouse Magazine” praised MC for instituting policies that address the concerns and needs of military spouses and their families by constructing admissions, retention, career counseling, and mentoring programs that help alleviate many of the educational difficulties they face.

In correspondence informing Mississippi College leadership of the University’s designation, the Military Spouse Friendly organization wrote, “Thank you for all that you do for veterans and the service-member community. Your efforts are truly commendable and are to be admired by all.”

Teresa Hill, director of military and veteran student services and VA school certifying official in the Office of the Registrar, said military spouses comprise an important part of MC’s student population.

“The number of dependents and spouses attending Mississippi College are substantial in the makeup of our VA education benefits,” Hill said. “Our desire is to continue serving our military, veteran, spouse, and dependent populations well.

“With its Christian values, MC aligns well with the sacrifices our military servicemen, servicewomen, and their families give every day.”

To determine the Military Spouse Friendly School list, the Military Friendly team considered public and proprietary data gathered from an annual survey of schools that develop and sustain strong programs for military spouses on campus.

A Military Friendly advisory council consisting of independent subject-matter experts and industry partners representing the field of veteran education assisted with the development of the survey, which was made available to thousands of institutions nationwide.

“It pleases me to see military spouses receive benefits for the sacrifices they make as part of an active military household,” Hill said. “Their time apart from their spouses during their deployment is role-shifting. The responsibilities these military spouses must bear – though different from those of servicemembers – are no less important.

“Many spouses of active-duty personnel live far from their families and have not had an opportunity to establish a network of support among their community members. Spouses sacrifice much during the time their loved ones are in service, which can encompass many years. I applaud everyone who supports the family members of those serving our nation.”

At Mississippi College, qualifying spouses of military members can receive benefits directly from Veterans Affairs and beyond. Some of the available benefits include:

Active-duty military members are eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill; if unused, this benefit may be transferred to their spouses and dependents. Military members must complete six years of service before requesting the transfer and must agree to an additional four years of service.

Spouses and college-aged children of service members who are totally disabled because of a service-related condition or who died while on active duty or related to their time in service may be eligible for the Dependents Education Assistance Program.

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship is offered to military spouses and dependents of active-duty service members who died in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. As with the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, this scholarship covers tuition and fees and provides a stipend for books and an allowance for housing.

Eligible participants in the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program for spouses of active military members can receive up to $4,000 for the pursuit of maintenance of either a license or certification – including continuing education courses – necessary to gain employment in a particular occupation or career field. MC does not initiate or process applicants for this external scholarship program. More information is available online.

Many of those who receive the MYCAA Scholarship follow a career path in education. With a Mississippi Educator License, spouses of military members have an opportunity to add a supplemental endorsement. MC offers a number of endorsement opportunities, including computer application (K-12), driver’s education (K-12), English as a second language (K-12), science, technology, engineering, and math (K-12), and physical science (7-12), that can add to military spouses’ career portfolios.

MC also accepts many military branch-specific spouse and dependent educational benefits. The U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy each provide independent aid that can extend to qualifying spouses and dependents. More information about these benefits is available online.

Sneed also found the University’s MC7 Program, an intensive, seven-week, online educational opportunity not restricted to military spouses, to be an instrumental resource on her journey to an advanced degree.

“This initiative enabled me to navigate the rigorous demands of university studies as a military spouse,” she said. “It provided the flexibility of online coursework, allowing me to pursue both of my degrees remotely while juggling the responsibilities of employment and family caregiving during my husband’s absence.

“Notably, Art concluded a deployment and returned home in November 2023, granting him the opportunity to witness my graduation ceremony at Mississippi College last December.”

Kendrick praised MC’s faculty and staff for the educational support they provide to military spouses.

“The University lives up to the standard of a Military Spouse Friendly School,” she said. “Mississippi College’s qualified instructors show support, love, patience, and understanding in a friendly campus environment. The qualified Writing Center staff are always willing to assist with any assignments, and the Leland Speed Library offers a quiet place to study.

“Teresa Hill is a God-send. She has encouraged and uplifted me since the first day of registration, and she continues to answer my questions with love, patience, and understanding. Military spouses who are interested in furthering their education will find all the support they need at Mississippi College.”

Sneed said MC’s recognition as a Military Spouse Friendly School is well-deserved.

“Throughout my tenure at Mississippi College, I have felt esteemed and supported,” she said. “Its flexible degree programs are tailored to accommodate diverse lifestyles and schedules, including those of military spouses. The institution not only equipped me with the necessary skills and knowledge for my envisioned roles in the field of education, but it also facilitated a seamless balance with my commitment as a military spouse.

“I wholeheartedly endorse MC to my fellow military members without hesitation.”

For more information about military spouse benefits at Mississippi College, click here.