Military children can get money to attend college through the federal government, universities, private organizations and state-sponsored military benefits programs. While certain scholarship and grant programs offer funding for dependents of active-duty military members, others limit awards only to dependents of service members killed or injured while performing their duties. Programs can require students to meet academic limits and may limit eligibility to specified age groups. Military dependent scholarships vary, ranging from reduced tuition rates, to funding sufficient for all school fees.
Federal Government Scholarship Programs
Children of living and deceased military members can receive educational support through programs funded by the federal government and individual military branches. For example, Army Emergency Relief sponsors the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program for dependent children of living and deceased Army retirees and active-duty Army personnel. Candidates must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and can use funding to pay for tuition, housing and textbooks. The Federal Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant awards funding to children of deceased service members who have died in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. Military children under the age of 24 can apply and can receive up to $5,550 per school year, as of February 2011.
Certain colleges and universities provide grants and scholarships specifically for military dependents. For instance, Grantham University in Washington, D.C. offers the Military Family Scholarship program, which provides reduced tuition rates and funding to pay for software and textbooks. Park University in Parkville, Missouri offers multiple scholarship programs for children of military personnel, including the Park Military Scholarship, General Henry Hap Arnold Education Grant and James J. Lennon Memorial Scholarship. Park University also provides a 25 percent discount for military retirees and military dependents enrolled in graduate-level coursework.
Private, military-related organizations offer assistance programs for military families, including educational grants and scholarships for dependent children. For example, the Fisher House Foundation sponsors the Scholarships for Military Children Program, which extends eligibility to children of active-duty National Guard and reservists. Military commissary vendors fund the program, which requires candidates to have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The Thanks USA organization offers the Thanks USA Scholarship Program, open to military children up to 24 years of age. Candidates must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and can receive up to $3,000 in educational funding, as of February 2011.
Select states sponsor their own grant and scholarship programs to help military children pay for college. North Dakota sponsors the Dependent Children program, which provides funding to dependents of military personnel from North Dakota killed in the line of duty. Military children can receive free tuition at North Dakota post-secondary institutions, where they can enroll in bachelor's or certificate programs. The Dependent Children program can provide funding for up to eight semesters. The State of Wisconsin sponsors the Wisconsin GI Bill program, which pays full tuition and school fees for military children attending school in the Wisconsin Technical College or University of Wisconsin systems. Awardees can receive funding for a maximum of eight semesters.
- Army Emergency Relief: MG James Ursano Scholarship Program
- Student Aid on the Web: Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
- Student Aid on the Web: Federal Pell Grant
- Grantham University: Military Family Scholarship Program
- Park University: Scholarships and Tuition Discounts
- Fisher House Foundation: Scholarships for Military Children Program
Michael Evans graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. His writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including International Living, USA Today, The Guardian, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance and Bankrate.