The FINRA Investor Education Foundation has awarded fellowships to 50 military spouses seeking to earn their AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) designation to provide military service members and their families one-on-one and group financial counseling and education.

Through the 2017 Military Spouse Fellowship Program, Fellows undergo rigorous training, coursework and experiential hours to gain hands-on experience – all at no cost to them. After completion of the program, Fellows are certified to support the military community as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, financial aid offices and credit unions throughout the U.S. and abroad.

According to the Department of Defense, there are more than 2.5 million men and women who currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, including 1.3 million who are on active duty.

“This program provides Fellows with marketable job skills while meeting a demonstrated need for enhanced financial education and resources in the military community,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. “These Fellows are well trained and uniquely qualified to guide service members and their families through critical personal finance strategies involving budgeting, saving and investing, while ensuring the adoption of good financial habits that promote long-term financial wellness. This is especially relevant as the military adjusts to the new Blended Retirement System beginning in 2018.”

The FINRA Foundation first launched the Military Spouse Fellowship program in 2006 – and continues to administer it in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) and the National Military Family Association (NMFA). The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the AFC® training and testing. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than 1,480 fellowships to military spouses. Fellows have provided financial counseling and education to more than 170,000 service members and spent more than 447,700 hours helping military families reach their financial goals in the United States and around the world. Recipients of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship commit to completing the courses of study and working in the financial counseling field serving their communities.