Military Scholarships: The Basics

Military Scholarships: The Basics

Learn more about the college scholarships available to service members and their families.

Choosing to enter the Armed Forces does not have to mean sacrificing your plans to get a college education. There are a number of college scholarships and grants for military service members, veterans, and their spouses and kids.

A misperception exists that applying for scholarships and grants is too difficult and time-consuming. While you do need to complete applications and, in some cases, an essay, keep in mind that there each application will be different; some may be short and easy, while others can take more time.

Unlike some other forms of financial aid, like college loans, scholarships and grants are considered gift aid; in other words, the college aid you receive doesn’t need to be repaid. This gift aid can be used on its own or combined with other military programs, like Tuition Assistance, to maximize your money for college.

There are military scholarships for service members, veterans and their families. Here are just some examples of scholarships available to people in the military:

Military Award Program

The Imagine America Foundation offers the Military Award Program, which provides a $1,000 award to active duty service members, reservists and honorably discharged or retired veterans of a branch of the US Armed Forces. This money can be used for education programs at a career college that participates in this program, and is intended to help service members transition back to a civilian life after serving in the Armed Forces. Apply for this scholarship on the Imagine America website.

Military Spouse Scholarships for Spouses of the Wounded, Military Spouse Scholarships for Spouses of the Fallen, Military Spouse Scholarships for All Military Spouses

The National Military Family Association offers a scholarship specifically for spouses of military service members. To help combat the challenges of moving frequently as a military family, this scholarship assists military spouses in pursuing a college degree or other post-secondary education. These scholarships are available to spouses of military members on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard, retirees and survivors. The money can be used to pay for college costs such as tuition and room and board for a masters degree, bachelors degree, a certificate and vocational training. Classes can be held in classrooms or through online schools and be completed full-time or part-time. Apply for the scholarship through the National Military Family Association Website.

Scholarships for Military Children

Kids of service members can receive college money through Scholarships for Military Children. At each commissary location where qualified scholarship applications are received, at least one $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to the children of people in the military. This college aid can be used for tuition, schoolbooks, lab fees and other school costs. Apply for this scholarship through the Scholarships for Military Children website.

Military Scholarships Tips & Tactics

  • The sooner you pursue military scholarships and request applications, the better, since some applications can take time to fill out and some may have deadlines of up to a year before you begin your college degree program.
  • Don’t forget, you may also be eligible for civilian college aid, like federal aid and state aid in the form of school grants and college loans. Apply for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, and you can pursue state aid through the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form.
  • The key to getting as much scholarship money as possible is applying for all the scholarships you find that you think you’re eligible for. In addition to military scholarships and federal aid, contact service aid organizations to see if they offer scholarships for college. Also, talk to your education counselor, high school guidance counselor and the financial aid office at the school you’d like to attend to see what scholarships may be available to you.


People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Military Financial Aid Programs: the Basics
GI Bill Programs: the Basics
Are You Eligible for Federal Aid When You are in the Military?
Active Duty Education Benefits
Reserve Education Benefits
Military Children Education Benefits
Military Spouses Education Benefits

See All Military Financial Aid: The GI Bill and Beyond Articles

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