Get Well-Deserved Funds from Gov’t and Military
Military servicemen and women make extraordinary sacrifices in the service of their country. While nothing can truly repay that service, the military establishment and the Federal government have made it a priority to help the dependents of service personnel gain greater access to a college education. Valuable scholarships are supported by every branch of the military for the spouses and children of active-duty and retired personnel. Additional scholarship programs are dedicated to the dependents of military personnel who have been disabled or given their lives in the service of their country. These scholarship programs provide much needed financial assistance to the families of those men and women who have sacrificed so much in the defense of our freedom.
Scholarship Opportunities for Military Dependents
Each branch of the United States’ Military supports a variety of scholarship programs for the children and spouses of their service-members. All of these programs have distinct eligibility requirements, and interested students will want to thoroughly research the programs to which they are applying.
The United States Army
The US Army sponsors a variety of scholarship and grant programs designed to help the families of service-members find the necessary funds for college. These programs are intended to help the spouses and children of army personnel achieve their college ambitions. The following financial aid programs are currently being supported by the United States Army.
- The Survivors & Dependents Assistance Program offers financial assistance to children, aged 16 – 26, of army personnel who have been disabled or killed in the line of duty. The program is also open to the children of service-members who have been declared missing in action, or who have been detained as a prisoner of war. The program offers up to 45 months of educational benefits to eligible students who are enrolled in approved undergraduate, graduate, or vocational studies.
- The Spouse Education Assistance Program provides grant money to the eligible spouses of active-duty or retired Army personnel. Applicants must be enrolled at least part-time in an accredited college or university. Scholarship funding is available for fall and spring semesters only.
- The Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program supports the educational ambitions of Army spouses who are currently stationed overseas. Applicants must be enrolled in approved college or university, and must take a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester. Full time students are eligible for 4 years of financial support.
The United States Air Force
The US Air Force supports a number of scholarships and grants for for the dependents of both active, and retired, personnel. These programs offer much needed financial assistance to the spouses and children of Air Force personnel who are pursing a college education.
The US Air Force currently supports the following programs for the dependents of active and retired service-members.
- The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program is sponsored by the Air Force Aid Society. The program provides financial assistance to the children of active-duty and retired Air Force personnel. It also provides grants for the children and spouses of deceased service-members. This is a need-based grant, and current awards stand at $2000.
- The Scholarship for Air Force Enlisted Member’s Dependent Children is supported by the Air Force Sergeants Associationand the Airmen Memorial Foundation. These scholarships are available to the dependent children of active-duty, retired or veteran Air Force personnel. Scholarship awards are determined by academic achievement, service to the community, character and writing ability. Financial need is not a consideration. Award amounts range from $500 to $3000.
- The AFSA Scholarship Program is available to the dependent children of AFSA or AFSA Auxiliary members. Awards are strictly merit-based, and range from $1500 to $2500 each.
The United States Navy and Marine Corps
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides financial support to Naval personnel, Marines, and their families. In addition to a number of interest free loans for service-members and their families, the Relief Society offers the following programs for the college-bound dependents of Navy and Marine personnel.
- The NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship Program is available to the children and spouses of Navy and Marine personnel who were killed in the line of duty. Applicants must demonstrate the requisite level of financial need, and once in school must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. Awards range from $500 to $2500 per academic year.
- The Joseph A. McAlinden Divers Scholarship is available to the children or spouses of active-duty Navy or Marine divers. Students must be studying oceanography, ocean agriculture or aquaculture in an approved college program. Awards range from $500 to $3000, and are determined by financial need.
In addition to these scholarship programs, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society also administers the Vice Admiral E. P. Travers Loan Program and the Spouse Tuition Aid Loan Program which provide low cost education loans to the dependents of active-duty Navy or Marine Corps personnel.
The United States Coast Guard
The Coast Guard Foundation administers a variety of grant and scholarship programs designed to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty, retired and deceased Coast Guard personnel. These programs are a combination of need-based and merit-based awards, and include the RADM Arnold I. Sobel Scholarship, the Commander Ronald J. Cantin Scholarship and the Fallen Heroes Scholarship. These and other financial aid programs offer much needed assistance to the children and spouses of Coast Guard service-members who are struggling to meet the rising costs of a college education. Award amounts vary depending on program, school of attendance, academic achievement and financial need.
State Supported Scholarships for Military Dependents
Many state governments offer valuable scholarships and grants for military personnel and their families. These programs are usually administered through the state’s Department of Higher Education and the Office of Veterans Affairs. The availability of these programs will vary widely from state to state. Veterans and/or their dependents should contact their states Department of Higher Education, or Office of Veterans Affairs, for details on financial aid programs for which they may be eligible.
The following examples will give students an idea of the types of programs that are available at the state level.
- The Iowa War Orphans Educational Aid provides financial aid to the children of military personnel who have been killed in combat. Award amounts may not exceed $600 per academic year, and there is a $3000 lifetime limit on assistance.
- The Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund provides much needed financial aid to the college-bound children of soldiers who have been killed, or disabled, in combat. The fund also provides scholarships for the children of combat service personnel who have been declared missing in action, or who are being held as prisoners of war. The Freedom Alliance Scholarships are available to students in various states across the country.
- Montana’s Department of Military Affairs administers a number of programs for service-members and their families. Current programs include Scholarships for the Dependents of POW/MIA’s and Scholarships for the Children of Deceased Veterans.
As with all state-based financial aid, award amounts vary according to available funds. Students are encouraged to contact their state’s Department of Higher Education, and Office of Veterans Affairs, for more information on scholarships and grants designed to support the college ambitions of military dependents.
Scholarships and grants for the dependents of military personnel are a small offering of thanks for the sacrifice made by our intrepid men and women in uniform. If you are the child or spouse of a military service member, you may be able to take advantage of a wide range of financial aid opportunities available to help you achieve your college goals.