Having a parent who is injured or harmed during their service in the Armed Forces is a great tragedy that can have serious repercussions for the veterans’ spouse and children. While this tragedy may require you to make many sacrifices, your college education does not have to be one of them.
The Dept of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) provides education benefits for the dependants and spouses of veterans who have been injured in active duty. This college funding can be used to pay for a college degree or school training programs.
Whether or not you choose to enter the military yourself, you may be able to benefit from military college funding to pursue your college education if your parent is an injured or deceased veteran. Find out more about how this program works below.
What Is the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)?
In order to provide for the spouses and children of veterans who have been harmed while on active duty in the Armed Forces, the military offers up to 45 months toward a degree program or training.
This money for college can be used for a variety of post-secondary education, including tuition at a college or university; business, technical or vocational courses; independent study or apprenticeships; costs for tests for licenses or certificates that are required to practice a trade; and distance learning programs, such as courses at online schools.
Who Is Eligible for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)?
In order to be eligible for this financial aid, you must have a veteran parent or spouse who has died or been permanently disabled as a result of involvement in active duty, or who has been missing in action, captured or forcibly detained while serving in the Armed Forces.
If you are enrolled in the military yourself, you cannot utilize this benefit while you’re on active duty.
How Much College Aid Can You Receive through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)?
The amount of college money for tuition and other costs you can receive depends on the type of training or college degree program you choose, and the length of time it takes to complete it. You are paid monthly, and full-time payments max out at $925 per month.
How Do You Apply for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)?
- First, find a degree program that is approved for Veterans Affairs training through a Campus Explorer college search.
- Complete the VA Form 22-5490, the Application Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance.
- Send your completed application to the regional Veterans Affairs office that serves the state you’ll take courses in.
You can also apply online through the Veterans ON-line APPlication (VONAPP) website.
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational AssistanceTips & Tactics
- Eligible children must use this college money between age 18 and 26. Spouses have 10 years to use their benefits, starting on the date the VA establishes their eligibility. It is possible to extend this time limit under certain circumstances. Or, if it’s not possible to extend your time limit, you may be able to receive college loans through the military.To find out more about both of these possibilities, call 888-GIBILL-1.
- If you’re enrolled in the Armed Forces, you are not eligible for this benefit while you’re on active duty. However, there are other programs available to you, like the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB).
- Entering the military means you’re entitled to military aid as well as 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. Remember, school grants and scholarships are gift aid that don’t need to be repaid, so accept any you’re offered before college loans, which does need to be paid back. Private loans usually have higher interest rates and repayment terms, so make sure to compare loans to get the best package available.