Please check our COVID-19 section for up-to-date information, as the coronavirus outbreak may affect the advice given on this page.


01   New UCAS advice for students from an Armed Forces background

Service children, veterans and spouses or partners of UK Armed Forces personnel looking to apply to university or college can now find new information and advice page from UCAS on its website.

The new advice has been produced following collaboration between the MOD, UCAS and the Service Children’s Progression Alliance. 

Back to top

02   FREE social media course for spouses/partners

BFBS is giving military spouses and partners the chance to up-skill in social media marketing techniques absolutely free.

With funding from the Armed Forces Covenant fund, they will deliver the course through a combination of online learning, video meetings and social media over 12 weeks.

During the course you’ll learn about:

  • the workings of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn’s algorithms, along with effective strategies to make content stand out
  • how to plan, implement and evaluate social media campaigns
  • techniques to grow and engage an audience, moderate comments and discussions and how to deal with difficult situations
  • how to take truly show-stopping images and create professional social media videos using your phone
  • paid-for advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • how to use each of the platform’s built-in analytics tools

You’ll also receive ongoing advice on careers in social media, content or campaigns, and support and feedback from experts on anything related to social media.

Want to take part? Sign up to their newsletter at or join the Facebook group.

Back to top

03   Clarification for students overseas

UCAS online application: are you based overseas and unsure what to put as your ‘area of permanent residence’?

AFF has gained clarification from UCAS on your behalf, who’ve stated: “If an applicant selects that their permanent home is in the UK, they will be asked to choose an Area of Permanent Residence from a drop-down list of counties and metropolitan areas. We would advise that the student enters the last UK area where they were resident on a long-term basis.

“UCAS uses answers to this question for statistical purposes only. Applicants for universities in Scotland should be aware that Scottish universities may use answers to this question to make an initial judgement about fee status. Fees and funding for Scottish resident students applying to Scottish universities are very different to fees and funding for students coming from the rest of the UK.”

Talk to us

If you are experiencing difficulties with this and want to know more, contact our Employment & Training Specialist on

Back to top

04   Training and career opportunities for military community

Covenant signatory Amazon Web Services (AWS) have pledged support for the military community, including military spouses, with the launch of their AWS re:Start programme, which aims to provide training and potential employment opportunities in computing technology.

Free training

Their four-week training course focuses on cloud computing and networks; no previous IT, cloud computing or network experience is required. Training is provided by QA, AWS’s training partner, free of charge – participants will simply need to fund their own accommodation and travel.

Support from employers

A number of companies, including Amazon, EDF Energy and Tesco Bank, have already agreed to support the programme by offering work placements to those completing the courses, depending on performance and potential. Participants may also wish to carry on training to achieve AWS Associate level certification.

For more information, or to register your interest, visit

Back to top

05   AFF working to increase spousal access to training

AFF is concerned that spouses can face barriers when pursuing further education (FE) and training. These barriers include frequent postings, living in remote locations, overseas postings, poor access to childcare, and lack of funding (especially where there is no second income in the family).

We are working to increase spouse access to FE and training because we recognise this will open up more employment opportunities. A second income is crucial at a time when the Army is encouraging home ownership.

We are currently working with the MOD, the Armed Forces Covenant Team, Defence Relationship Management and Service charities to look at opportunities for training for spouses. We have already successfully lobbied for retention of SFA if spouses are in the middle of further/higher education courses, where they had a reasonable expectation of completing the course before their soldier was posted.

The Armed Forces Covenant has recognised that access to training is very important for spouses. This has resulted in initiatives such as the RBLI’s employability courses becoming nationally available for spouses and also the University of Wolverhampton offering dedicated business start-up courses for spouses and dependants. AFF is aware that more opportunities are being developed and we will update families as soon as they become available.

Back to top

06   Improved access to student loans for Army spouses and partners: an AFF win

As of 1 August 2017, Army families posted overseas who wish to undertake a qualifying UK based university or college course can access a loan via Student Finance England. This applies to both full and part time courses, and you no longer need to be in the UK for the first day of the course to qualify.

An AFF win
Last year, we were proud to publicise this AFF win, announced by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson, after much lobbying and joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The change applies to new students starting a distance learning course in 2017/18 and also to those who have already started a distance learning course before and who are continuing that course in 2017/18.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to those from the devolved nations. To be eligible, you must qualify for the English student support package.

Putting families first
AFF continues to prioritise spousal employment and training, and this includes those posted overseas who sometimes cannot work and so choose to undertake a course during that time.

Find out more
For more information and full eligibility criteria, visit

Back to top

07   Information on access and funding for adult education and training

The Government and some Service and ex-Service organisations also offer financial assistance to serving and ex-Services personnel and members of their families to support a course of study or training. This may include assistance with the added costs and expenses associated with studying.

Good places to start are:

  • EmploymentSupport Grant Scheme – Employment Support Grant Scheme is a Legion welfare scheme funded by the annual poppy appeal. It is specifically designed to help low skilled and unemployed Legion beneficiaries with assistance to achieve a sustainable employment outcome.
  • President’sAward Scheme – Women’s Section President’s Award Scheme provides educational sponsorship by way of educational grants and scholarships to spouses of non-commissioned officers, both serving and ex-serving Armed Forces personnel. Assistance is awarded to those seeking first degrees, and grants are awarded towards re-training programmes, books, travel costs and other related costs.
  • The National Careers Service website provides careers advice and information on a wide range of jobs, training course resources and funding.
  • Information on apprenticeships – some over-25 places available
  • – Adult learners can apply for grants and bursaries to help pay for courses and training. You usually don’t have to pay this money back e.g. NHS bursaries for nurse training.
  • Opportunities for OU funding
  • Armed Forces Children’s Education Trust (formerly The Royal School Hampstead Trust) exists to assist in funding the education of dependants of Servicemen and women, both currently serving and retired. Grants are available to those up to the age of 25.
  • You may find that your situation meets the criteria for grants and scholarships from one of the institutions on this website:
Back to top

08   Scottish funding for university

If your soldier lived in Scotland when they joined the Army, a spouse or dependent child should apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for funding. This applies regardless of whether they are currently living in the UK or abroad; and where they want to study in the UK.

They may be eligible for free tuition fees if choosing to study in Scotland (subject to eligibility criteria).

However, as Scottish university fees are significantly lower than the other home nations, the offer from SAAS is lower than that of other funding streams, so if you choose to study at a university outside of Scotland, then the cost of your fees would not be met.

We are working on various issues with the other Families Federations and Covenant team on issues regarding student finance across the devolved administrations, but it is important that families understand that the financial offer is very different when deciding where to look for university provision.

If you have any questions, email or see the following:

Back to top

09   Access to Success Route

Are you interested in university study but not sure whether you have the study skills or the funds to have a try? You may want to consider the Access to Success Route, The Open University’s unique and low-cost entry route to further study. If you live in England and have an annual household income of less than £25,000, you may be successful in gaining a place. Visit or speak to AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist on 0779 9045955 or email

Back to top

10   Distance learning

If you are considering taking a distance learning course why not look at the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council who accredit distance learning providers.

Open University  –  Home Study  –  Interactive Design Institute

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“AFF - just a thank you for all that you do!!”

“What an awesome organisation”

“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”

Find out more
13,591enquiries received in 2019
10,000+followers on Facebook
37,651unique website views during March