College scholarships for military dependents are available to more than 1.4 million Americans who are on the roster of the armed forces. Although they risk their lives every time they are deployed, the fact is, the base pay for an ordinary soldier is not sufficient for the daily needs of the family. For instance, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the monthly pay for rank and file with an E-1 rank is around $1,500 a month. For the most part, deployment necessitates that somebody should stay at home to care for the kids, which leaves little room for their spouses to secure another job. When the budget is stretched thin, this is how military scholarships can help children of soldiers obtain a quality education at little or zero cost.
There are five branches of the US military. These are the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Each branch has their own separate scholarship programs that cater to their respective personnel. In addition, the federal government and private institutions also offer their own scholarships dedicated to spouses, children, and grandchildren of those in uniform.
Where to Apply For College Scholarships For Military Dependents?
The Fisher House Foundation is one of the top organizations in the US that offers extensive scholarships for military children. In the past two decades, for instance, they awarded a total of $16 million in education assistance to beneficiaries. For the 2018-2019 school year, the application will be open in December of 2017. About 700 students will get $2,000 in grants from the Fisher House Foundation, funded by private suppliers and manufacturers with contracts with the US Armed Forces.
However, the five branches have their own education grants like the ones below:
US AIR FORCE
1. Scholarship for Air Force Enlisted Member’s Dependent Children – If you are a dependent of an active duty personnel, retired officer or a veteran, you are entitled to as much as $3,000 in scholarship funds.
2. General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program – If you are a dependent of active-duty personnel, deceased Air Force staff or a veteran, you can get $2,000 in scholarship aid.
3. AFSA Scholarship Program – Gives beneficiaries between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on need and school performance.
1. Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program – This military spouse scholarship provides four-year support for the beneficiaries whose husbands and wives are stationed overseas. To show their commitment, they need to be enrolled in six credit hours for each semester.
2. Survivors & Dependents Assistance Program – Military children between 16 and 26 years old may apply for this program. They can get educational support for up to 45 months if they enroll in undergraduate, masters or vocational programs.
3. Spouse Education Assistance Program – If you are looking for part-time education, this is perfect for you. The program is only offered for each fall or spring semesters.
MARINES CORP AND NAVY
1. Joseph A. McAlinden Divers Scholarship – The educational grant will vary upon the need of the beneficiary, but the support can range between $500 to as much as $3,000.
2. NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship Program – This child and military spouse scholarship will only apply to those who have been left behind by Marine or Navy personnel who have died in the performance of their duties. Again, the amount is not fixed as the families will be assessed to determine the need.
3. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – This scholarship extends to personnel of the Navy or Marines, as well as to their families. Aside from an educational grant, it also offers credit loans with zero interest rates to families as a form of relief.
US COAST GUARD
1. Coast Guard Foundation – This institution is open to spouses, children or grandchildren of Coast Guard officers and personnel. The amount will depend on the performance of the beneficiary considering that it is merit-based. Among the scholarships supported by the Foundation are Commander Ronald J. Cantin Scholarship, RADM Arnold I. Sobel Scholarship, and Fallen Heroes Scholarship.
State Sponsored Educational Support
Each of the states in the US have their own respective scholarship programs for men and women in uniform, as well as their spouses, children, and grandchildren. For instance, the Department of Military Affairs of the State of Montana has several scholarships for dependents of those who are missing in action or have become prisoners of war. Children whose parents have been killed while on deployment may also qualify for scholarships.
Meanwhile, Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund also helps put through school the kids of veterans or soldiers who have been killed or suffered debilitating injuries in battle. Most states adopt this model and allocate funding for it appropriately.
College Scholarships for Military Dependents from Private Institutions
Private institutions also offer scholarships for grandchildren of military veterans or other dependents for that matter. Trident University International has been at the forefront of helping military families cope with the high cost of education.
Dependents may qualify for a discounted rate, up to as much as 36% in tuition fees. All the courses are taken online, which gives the added advantage of saving on transportation costs, food, and other expenses.
But scholarships are not only limited to spouses, children or grandchildren. Men and women in uniform may also qualify for discounted rates if they want to continue their schooling. Trident, for instance, has what it calls the Military Education Grant, which is open to members of the armed forces. Under this program, they can get a 33% discount on Bachelor of Science of Bachelor of Arts programs; 36% reduction on tuition if they want to earn a master’s degree; and between 14% and 18% for doctoral programs.
There are numerous college scholarships for military dependents out there, which cater to each of the individual’s situation. Take note, however, that because of the limited slots and the long list of applicants, there are certain standards expected of the beneficiaries. This is known as the merit-based grant. For instance, high school students need to maintain a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA before they can apply. College students only need to get a 2.50 GPA. You are also expected to maintain high grades and refrain from breaking the law, or engaging in activities that might damage the institution or program.