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With the cost of college at an all-time high, incoming students should seek out every opportunity to save money. If one or both of your parents served in the military, you may consider applying for financial assistance programs designed to help the children of veterans.
1. The Army Scholarship Foundation
Scholarships from the Army Scholarship Foundation average $1,000 and are awarded on an annual basis. Scholarships are available for undergraduate students attending an accredited college.
To be eligible for this award, students must have a parent who is an active member or veteran of the military. They must have at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA), not already have a bachelor’s degree, and be under the age of 24 at the time of the application deadline.
2. Kids of the Coast Guard
Children who have an active, reserve, or retired Coast Guard parent are eligible for a scholarship through the Coast Guard Foundation. These scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000. Over 150 scholarships were awarded in 2021.
Children whose parent has died while serving in the Coast Guard are eligible for a Fellowship of Fallen Heroeswhich covers 100% of the participation costs.
3. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to children who have a parent in the Marine Corps. There are two types of scholarships: the Children of the Fallen scholarship and the Children of the Wounded scholarship. The Children of the Fallen Scholarship pays $7,500 per year for four years, and Children of the Wounded pays between $1,500 and $10,000 per year for four years.
To be eligible for either scholarship, the child must have a 2.0 GPA and must be attending one of the schools listed on the National Center for Education Statistics Academic Navigator website. The family must also have an adjusted gross income of $112,000 or less for the 2021 tax year.
4. Fisher House Foundation
The Fisherman’s House Foundation provides 500 scholarships to military children each year, each worth $2,000. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program and have a 3.0 high school GPA or a 2.5 college GPA.
5. Wings over America
Children of Navy Aviation Division personnel are eligible for the Wings Over America Scholarship. The parent must have worked in this division for at least eight years and only undergraduates are eligible. The exact amount of the scholarship varies, but the average is $5,000.
Students can reapply for the multi-year scholarship, but renewal is not guaranteed. Funds can only be used to cover tuition fees.
6. Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society
The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society sponsors scholarships and interest-free loans for students with a Navy or Marine Corps parent.
To be eligible, students must be under the age of 23, demonstrate financial need, maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and enroll full-time at an accredited institution. Prices generally range from $500 to $3,000 each.
7. National Presidents Children of Warriors Scholarship
The American Legion Auxiliary Offers Scholarships to students whose parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the following periods:
- Between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918
- Any time after December 7, 1941
Each scholarship is worth $5,000 and 15 students are chosen each year. Only undergraduate students are eligible for this scholarship; recipients can use the funds for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
8. Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association Scholarship
The Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association Scholarship is awarded to children and other relatives of servicewomen. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must have a high school GPA of 3.5, plan to attend college full-time, and enroll in an accredited university.
Two winners will be selected for this scholarship and each will receive $1,500.
Other ways to pay for school
Beyond special scholarships, students whose parents are service members can use the following options to save on tuition.
Children whose parent was killed in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11 and who are also eligible for the Pell Grant will receive the maximum annual Pell Grant amount, which is $6,895 for 2022. Children who are not not eligible for the Pell Grant may instead qualify for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, which offers a reward amount similar to that of the Pell Grant. You must be under 24 or enrolled in college at the time of your parents’ death to be eligible.
To qualify for these grants, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form includes information about your finances and those of your parents, including your income and assets. Completing the FAFSA will also make you eligible for federal student loans, work-study, and more.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
If your relative is still in the military and has access to educational benefits under the post-9/11 GI bill, they can transfer those benefits to you. There are several requirements they must meet to qualify; see them here.
If a relative died while on active duty or due to a service-related disability, you may also be eligible for survivor benefits. A parent who has a total or permanent disability can also transfer GI Bill benefits to a child.
Most states offer their own grants for children of veterans, but the exact requirements vary by location. Note that many states only offer these benefits to residents, so you may need to attend a school in the state you live in to qualify. To find out what your state offers, visit the website of its higher education agency.
Students should continue to seek scholarships beyond those for children of veterans or military. To find more potential scholarships, you can use tools like:
Where possible, sign up to receive notification emails from these sites to be notified of scholarship opportunities that match your background. Look for scholarships that match your specific skills or demographics. For example, if you are the first person in your family to attend college, look for scholarships for first-generation college students.
Also ask your high school counselor if they know of any scholarships you might be eligible for. When you are accepted to a college, contact its financial aid department and ask how to maximize your scholarship opportunities.
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