Scholarships from Military Sources

Cut Your College Costs with Your Benefits

Every branch of the United States military offers some form of educational assistance for its enlisted personnel. Over the years, military service has offered a great many students the opportunity to serve their country while earning money to help pay for a college education. Scholarships and grants from the U.S. Military are a valuable source of financial assistance for students struggling to meet the rising costs of college tuition. However, students considering any branch of the military as a source for scholarships or grants should understand that these are all award-for-service programs. Students will be required to enlist in a branch of the armed services, and will be expected to fully complete their service contract. Students should carefully weigh the benefits of military service against their responsibilities as active-duty service-members.Military student scholarships

The Montgomery G.I. Bill

Before discussing the scholarships and grants that are available from the individual branches of the United States military, it is important to mention the Montgomery G.I. Bill. While not a scholarship, the G.I. Bill is one of the most successful financial assistance programs ever developed for military personnel. Since its introduction in 1944, the G.I. Bill has helped retired and active-duty military personnel to afford a college education. It is not too much to say that the G.I. Bill almost single handedly built the American middle class. Following the end of World War II, the Montgomery G.I. Bill made it possible for more American’s than ever before to pursue a college education, and to move into the professional workforce.

While it has undergone many changes over the years, the G.I. Bill continues to help military service-members and their families to achieve their educational and professional ambitions.

Scholarships Based on Branch of Service

Each branch of the military offers scholarships and grants for its service-members. Often these scholarship programs are subject-specific, providing the necessary funds for service-members to pursue degrees in areas that are of particular value to the military. General scholarships are also offered by many branches of the U.S. Military, either directly or through auxiliary organizations that are dedicated to the welfare of service-members and their families. Eligibility requirements for these programs will vary, depending on the military branch that supports them. Interested students should consult with their recruiting officer for information on available scholarships or grants. Active-duty personnel will want to speak to their C.O or division commander for information on educational opportunities funded by their branch of the U.S. Military.

The United States Army

The following scholarships are offered by the United States army, or its auxiliary organizations, for active duty and/or retired service-members.

The United States Navy

The U.S. Navy does not directly offer scholarships or grants for its enlisted personnel. That doesn’t mean that the Navy isn’t interested in helping its service-members gain a college education. Quite the opposite. The United States Navy provides its sailors with some of the most intensive and comprehensive training available. They also encourage and support all of their sailors in the pursuit of a college education. Through the Navy’s educational assistance programs sailors are given the opportunity to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies both on base and at traditional colleges and universities. Moreover, the Navy is prepared to pay most, if not all, of the costs of their service-member’s education.

The United States Air Force

Like the U.S. Navy, the Air Force places a high premium on continuing education. The United States Air Force has a number of programs in place to help commissioned officers and enlisted personnel in their pursuit of a college education. These programs consist of scholarships, tuition assistance programs and enrollment in the Air Force’s own community college. Students looking to pursue a college education while serving their country in the armed forces will hardly find better opportunities than those offered by the United States Air Force.

The following scholarships and tuition assistance programs are offered by the U.S. Air Force.

These are just a few of the programs the Air Force offers to help its officers and enlisted airmen pursue a college education.

The United States Marine Corps

Beyond their ROTC programs, the United States Marine Corps offers very few scholarships for active-duty service-members. The Marine Corps ROTC program helps students pay for their undergraduate education, after which they will enter the corps as a Second Lieutenant. As a midshipman, enlisted marines may be eligible to receive funding to complete their Bachelor’s degree at an approved college or university.

The few additional scholarships available to marine corps personnel include:

The Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard Academy accepts roughly three hundred students every year. The academy offers a tuition free education in exchange for five years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard also offers one scholarship program, the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, which covers up to two years of tuition and fees for eligible sophomores and juniors. Scholarship recipients will be required to serve a minimum of three years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard following graduation.

The ROTC Route

Students considering the military as their route to a college education will find that the most valuable sources of financial aid are made available through the Reserved Officers Training Corps. All four main branches of the U.S. Military operate ROTC programs which provide students with money for college in exchange for their enlistment. Again, students must understand that these programs require a commitment on their part to fulfill a military service contract in exchange for college funding. ROTC programs have helped thousands of students to pay for a college education, but the programs should not be entered into lightly.

Further Information on Financial Aid from the Military

Joining the military is a noble calling that can also help students pay for their college education. In addition to the various ROTC programs and scholarships mentioned here, interested students should also refer to our section on Grants From Military Sources.

The United States military also has a long history of looking after the families of its service-members. For students with a military family background, scholarships and grants may be available as an added reward for their relative’s service to their country. Interested students should also refer to our sections on Scholarships for Military Dependents, Scholarships for Military Family Members, and Scholarships for Military Spouses.