The children and spouses of those serving in the US military often face unique challenges in pursuing higher education. In recognition of the sacrifices of military families, many private organizations and government programs offer scholarship resources specifically for military dependents. This comprehensive guide explores the variety of scholarship options available.
Federal Scholarship Programs
The government offers several need-based and merit-based scholarships through the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs focused primarily on military dependents.
Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
Administered by the DoD, MyCAA provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance for military spouses pursuing associate degrees, certificates, certifications, or apprenticeship programs. Spouses must accompany sponsors on PCS moves. Job training in portable career fields is emphasized.
Troops to Teachers Program
Administered jointly by the DoD and Education Departments, this program provides scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for up to three years to military members and veterans interested in becoming K-12 teachers. Recipients commit to teaching at least three years in high-need public schools.
Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program provides education benefits for dependents when the military sponsor commits to serving at least six years in a reserve component of the armed forces. Benefits cover tuition and fees for undergraduate and technical training programs.
VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program
For military dependents with service-connected disabilities, this VA program provides subsistence allowance and full payment of tuition and education costs for approved degree programs leading to suitable careers. Monthly stipends may also be authorized during full-time study.
Many states offer education assistance specifically for military families and veterans. Some of the most generous state-level programs include:
Illinois Veterans’ Grant Program
Illinois provides tuition and mandatory fee awards covering up to 120 credit hours to military dependents and spouses attending a state public university full-time. No repayment is required.
Hazelwood Act (Texas)
Texas waives tuition and some fee costs for up to 150 credit hours for dependent children and spouses of military members who died or were killed on active duty. Public and private non-profit schools are covered.
Military Family Relief Fund (California)
California offers need-based grants of up to $4,000 per year to dependents and spouses of California-based active duty military members, reservists, or veterans. Funds can cover expenses beyond tuition to support degree completion.
Checking your state’s department of higher education website yields more insight into in-state military tuition assistance, waivers, and scholarships available specifically for military families. Collaborating with a campus veterans office also exposes additional state and campus level support.
Scholarships from Non-Profits and Companies
Numerous military support organizations and corporations provide scholarship programs for military dependents. Seeking awards requires directed searching across various non-profit websites. Some top options include:
Military Family Scholarships (Operation Homefront)
Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit, awards $2,000 non-renewable scholarships each year to qualifying military family members for technical or undergraduate degree programs.
MilSpouse Scholarships (Military Spouse Education Assistance)
This organization specifically assists military spouse students with $1,000 renewable scholarships based on academic merit, community service, and financial need. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are supported.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Education Assistance
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides one-year $2,000 non-renewable grants to dependents of active duty or retired Navy/Marine Corps personnel for technical schools, undergraduate, and some graduate programs. Financial need is a key criterion.
American Legion Legacy Scholarships
Children and grandchildren of armed forces members who died on active duty can receive $20,000 four-year non-renewable scholarships from the American Legion based on merit and need for undergraduate study. Applications are accepted year-round.
Checking eligibility requirements thoroughly and applying early maximizes chances to secure these awards intended to help military families achieve postsecondary education goals. Personal statements highlighting military service threads strengthen applications.
Institution-Specific Military Scholarships
Many colleges actively recruit military-affiliated students and offer competitive scholarships reserved specifically for them. Reaching out to admissions offices and perusing campus websites exposes these options early in the college search process. Some examples include:
Columbia University Veterans Scholarship
Columbia covers full tuition, fees, room and board for both undergraduate and graduate programs for post-9/11 veteran students and spouses using GI Bill benefits. Renewable for up to 6 years maximum.
Syracuse University GI Educational Rewards Scholarship
Syracuse waives out-of-state tuition costs for military-connected undergraduate and graduate students and provides tuition waivers covering up to 7 semesters of eligible continuous full-time enrollment.
GatorTailgate Scholarship (University of Florida)
Florida offers $7,000 annually renewable scholarships for up to 4 years of undergraduate study to military dependents and Veteran students with 3.0+ GPAs.
While often competitive, institutional military scholarships provide tremendous value beyond GI Bill or Yellow Ribbon Program benefits at these selective universities. With direction, online searches uncover additional local campus opportunities as well.
Additional Private Scholarship Resources
Thorough searching exposes smaller targeted scholarships beyond major non-profits. When time allows, applicants should explore options through these additional avenues:
This search engine aggregates over 7 million awards from both private and corporate sponsoring organizations. Advanced filters target options specifically for military families.
FastWeb connects users to more than 1.5 million unclaimed private scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans through profile-based searching of eligibility criteria.
Local Benefactor Scholarships
Community resources like chambers of commerce or Rotary Clubs often offer place-based awards honoring hometown heroes. Veterans’ organizations also provide local support.
Corporate or Alumni Scholarships
Military-supporting companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin offer workforce-focused awards. College alumni groups also donate to military-affiliated legacy candidates.
By expanding searches from large sponsors to appropriate specialized options, dedicated scholarship seekers truly optimize available financing to fulfill their postsecondary goals. Networks like LinkedIn assist matching students to unknown opportunities as well. Diligence and perseverance pay off.
In conclusion, military families sacrificing so much for our nation deserve every educational support opportunity available. With planning and proactive research across multiple public, private, and institutional avenues, military dependents can successfully fund associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and beyond degree programs. Their service and scholarship lead our future.