Financial Aid Guide for Military and Veterans

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In 2015, the federal government allocated $16.4 billion for veteran education benefits. According to the VA, the federal effort to get veterans back to school is working. Servicemembers are returning to school and utilizing their benefits at higher rates than they have in decades.

If you or one of your family members has served in the military and want to return to school, you probably qualify for several governmental or institutional educational awards.The following lists detail the educational assistance programs available to veterans, servicemembers and their dependents.

Please note that most application deadlines listed are for 2016. Each award and program listed is offered annually. If this year’s deadline has passed, check the sponsoring website for dates of the next application cycle.

To help veterans get the education and training they need in today’s job market, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers the GI Bill. The program pays for tuition, fees and housing; it also directs veterans to a variety of education and training opportunities. The workings of the system can be complicated, so it’s important to understand everything you’re entitled to beforehand. The first thing you need to know is that there are two versions of the GI Bill:

Montgomery GI Bill

While the original GI Bill was enacted in 1944 for veterans of World War II, the program was revamped in 1984 and rebranded as the Montgomery GI Bill. It is available to active duty and honorably discharged veterans who served at least two years, entered service after June 30, 1985 and paid the $1,200 enrollment fee. This program provides a set amount of funds each month to cover the costs of tuition, fees, housing, and books.

As an eligible veteran, you have up to 10 years from the last day of your active duty service to take advantage of 36 months of benefits. Unlike the Post 9/11 program, Montgomery provides a single monthly benefit payment made directly to the veteran; the amount varies depending on the type of training or education you choose and the length of your service.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill expands educational benefits for veterans who served at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001 (30 days if discharged for a disability). Open to veterans and active duty soldiers, benefits are paid for 36 months, and honorably discharged veterans have up to 15 years from their last day of active service to participate.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to 100% of your tuition and fees, depending on your length of service and whether you attend public or private school. To receive the full benefit, you must have served at least three years, although even those who only have 90 days of service will be eligible for as much as 40% of total tuition coverage. A stipend of up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies is available, as is housing assistance that depends on the school’s location.

What is Covered Under the GI Bill

The types of education programs covered by both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill are generally the same and include:

  • Associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees
  • Online, distance learning and on-campus programs
  • Business, technical and vocational courses
  • Non-degree and on-the-job training and apprenticeships
  • Correspondence courses
  • Licensing costs
  • Certificate programs
  • Work study

Within each GI Bill program, there may be some exceptions or limitations on benefits. For example, with Post 9/11, if you only attend online or distance learning, your housing allowance will be cut in half. You may also use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to attend a private college or university; since the amount of tuition paid will be capped, you must seek additional assistance for the costlier tuition through the Yellow Ribbon program.

Although either program can be used to pay for your education, there are a few differences between what is paid for and how it’s paid.

Expenses Covered Under the Montgomery GI Bill

With the Montgomery program, rather than the VA paying the school directly, you receive a single monthly payment that can be used for tuition, fees, housing, and books. The rate of pay varies depending on how long you have served and what type of school you choose.

For example, in 2015, a veteran with at least three years of service enrolled full-time in college received $1,789 each month, while a veteran who signed up for an on-the-job training course received $1,341.75 for the first six months, and less after that. Likewise, a two-year veteran enrolled in college received a monthly stipend of $1,454. For a full list of rates, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Unique to the Montgomery GI Bill is the $600 Buy-Up Program. If you increased your one-time $1,200 contribution by an additional $600, then you will receive up to $5,400 in additional benefits.

Expenses Covered Under Post-9/11 GI Bill

For the Post 9/11 program, tuition, and fees are paid directly to the educational institution while housing assistance and money for books and supplies are paid directly to the veteran.

  • Up to $1,000 is provided per year for books and supplies.
  • The housing allowance varies by the cost of living near your school and is based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for a E-5 with dependents. You can estimate your housing allowance by using the military’s BAH Calculator.
  • Students enrolled in fully online programs receive a housing allowance of half the national BAH average.
  • Some veterans also qualify for a one-time payment of $500 to help them move from a rural area to the school they’ve enrolled in (Rural Benefit).

In-state tuition and fees for full-time enrollment at a public university will be completely covered if you served (after 9/11) at least 36 months or were discharged after 30 days due to a service-based disability. If you served less than that, a portion of tuition and fees will be paid based on an eligibility percentage (see chart below).

Post 9/11 Eligibility Percentage for Active-Duty Veterans

At least 36 months 100%
At least 30 days on active duty and discharged because of service-related disability 100%
At least 30 months, but less than 36 90%
At least 24 months, but less than 30 80%
At least 18 months, but less than 24 70%
At least 12 months, but less than 18 60%
At least 6 months, but less than 128 50%
At least 6 months, but less than 12 50%
At least 90 days, but less than 6 months 40%

Tuition and fees for private and foreign schools are limited, although still generous. The annual maximum for tuition benefits through July 2016 is $21,084.89, although there are a number of exceptions. The Yellow Ribbon Program can help you make up the gap for more expensive private school tuition.

Options for Family Members

With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may be able to transfer the education benefit to a family member if one of the following scenarios applies to you:

  • You have at least six years of active duty and/or Selected Reserve service and agree to serve an additional four years
  • You have at least 10 years of active duty and/or Selected Reserve service, cannot serve an extra four years and agree to serve the maximum amount of time
  • You are eligible for retirement but agree to serve four more years.

Eligible family members that need to be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) include your spouse and one or more of your children. In addition, the spouse or child of a veteran who has died or is permanently and completely disabled may qualify for Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA). There are a few unique features to this program:

  • An eligible child must be between 18 and 26 years of age, extended to age 31 in some circumstances
  • An eligible spouse must use the benefit within 10 years from the determination of eligibility (or death of the veteran), or 20 years in some circumstances

Step 1: Choose the best benefit for you by answering these questions:

  • Will I have a service-connected disability rating? If yes, and it will be greater than 20%, see if you are entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR&E) benefits.
  • What level of education and training will I seek? Make sure your program is covered.
  • How will I study? You will receive only half of the Post 9/11 housing allowance if you take only online or distance learning courses. But, if you attend part- or full-time and take at least one course on campus, you will qualify for the full allowance.
  • Where will I go to school? With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the amount of tuition assistance and housing allowance depends on the location of the school. If you attend a school that has a low cost-of-living and low in-state tuition, you may actually receive more benefits by choosing the single monthly payment Montgomery GI Bill, rather than the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you’re eligible for either version of the bill, do the math and compare your options.

Step 2: Find all your paperwork and be prepared to provide the following information before you start applying:

  • Your total active duty service. This is used to determine your eligibility percentage (see the table above), so be sure to keep track of the dates and service status for each service period.
  • Whether you qualify for other VA programs and the amount of those benefits.
  • If you paid into the Buy-Up Program for the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Have these documents on hand:
    • DD214 – the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
    • Post high school transcripts
    • Kicker Contract (if any)

Step 3: After determining your benefits, choose your school. Remember, costs and benefits will vary depending on whether you use the Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill, where your school is located, your eligibility percentage and whether you choose public or private school. For private institutions, investigate the Yellow Ribbon Program to cover the higher tuition.

Step 4: Submit an online application or apply by mail within the eligibility period (10 years for the Montgomery GI Bill and 15 for the Post 9/11 GI Bill). The VA’s online application system, VONAPP, should be easy to complete, as long as you are prepared with all of the information identified in Step 2.

If you choose to apply by mail, print out and complete Form 22-1990 and mail it to your regional VA Processing Office.

Maximize Your GI Benefits

There are several things you can do to ensure you receive the maximum benefit:

  • Calculate tuition and housing costs and benefits under each plan.
  • Attend full-time if possible. Under the Montgomery GI Bill, your monthly payment will vary with your credit load. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your housing allowance will be less if you attend less than half time.
  • Take at least one on-campus class if you’re using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, so you qualify for the housing allowance.
  • Check to see if your state has educational programs for veterans, like the Illinois Veterans Grant. Often, you can receive benefits under your GI Bill and the state program.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post 9/11 GI Bill will cover up to 100% of the cost of full time in-state tuition and fees at a public institution of higher learning (IHL). But if you want to go to a private college, or attend a school out-of-state, your benefit amount is limited and frequently will not cover the full cost of tuition. To make up this difference, the Veterans Administration (VA) has created the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Who Qualifies for Yellow Ribbon

  • Active Duty: Active duty personnel are ineligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. However, they can still use other educational benefits, like the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, Tuition Assistance and the Top Up program.
  • Veterans: Note that unlike the Post 9/11 GI Bill, only veterans from all branches of the service who have earned the maximum benefit rate may participate. To qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, a veteran must have:
    • Served for at least 36 months after 9/10/01
    • Been honorably discharged from active duty service or served at least 30 continuous days and been discharged with a service-connected disability
  • Dependents of Veterans: However, like the Post 9/11 GI Bill, spouses and children may participate if they meet the criteria:
    • The spouse or child is a dependent eligible for a Transfer of Entitlement
    • The veteran is qualified to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Children of Active Duty Personnel: Although spouses of active duty servicemembers cannot use Yellow Ribbon benefits, children may be able to participate if the service member is entitled to the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

What Yellow Ribbon Covers

Types of Programs: A wide variety of educational programs are covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program, including:

  • Certificate programs
  • Licensure costs
  • Correspondence courses
  • Non-degree and on-the-job training
  • Apprenticeships
  • Business, technical and vocational courses
  • Associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees
  • Online, distance learning and on-campus programs
  • Work study

Expenses: Remember that with the Yellow Ribbon Program, you are also receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits; they’re just capped. So you will still get up to $1,000 for supplies and books and a housing allowance based on the E-5 rate (with dependents) where you attend school. In fact, you may even qualify for the additional $500 for relocation expenses if you’re entitled to the Rural Benefit.

Tuition and Benefits: Tuition is more complicated. For most veterans attending private school or a public school at the out-of-state rate, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay the National Maximum, which for 2015-2016, is $21,084.89.

Once the full tuition benefit amount is reached, the Yellow Ribbon Program can kick in, but not every school offers it. To participate in the program, schools have to agree to contribute a certain yearly amount, which will be matched by the VA. Participating schools also choose how many students they will sponsor each year; so it is common to see smaller colleges sponsoring only 20 veterans, while other schools place no limit on the number of students who may participate. This search tool provided by the VA will help you find Yellow Ribbon schools in your area and then tell you how much they will contribute.

How to Apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program

First, you must apply for your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, and the easiest way is with the VA’s online system VONAPP. Of course, you can apply via snail mail by downloading and mailing Form 22-1990 to your regional VA Processing Office.

After your application for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is approved at the 100% level, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility. This is submitted to your school, which will then determine if you are approved to participate in their Yellow Ribbon Program.

Remember, you have 10 years from your last day of active duty service to use your 36 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Maximize Your Yellow Ribbon Benefits

There are several things you can do to get the most from your benefits:

  • Attend classes more than half the time or you will not receive a housing allowance
  • Attend at least one class on campus. Students who only attend online classes have their housing allowance capped at $783

The different branches of the armed forces each offer tuition assistance (TA) to their active duty personnel. Depending on the service, TA may be used to cover some or all of the costs to complete a high school diploma, get a vocational certificate or even earn a college degree. Each branch has its own rules, so you’ll need to read up to learn what you’re entitled to.

Who Qualifies for TA

Eligibility for your TA program depends on your branch and your service.

Active Duty x x x x x
National Guard Active Duty x   x    
Reserves x x x x x
Civilian Workers         x
  • Active Duty: Generally speaking, all active duty servicemembers are entitled to TA. Enlisted personnel must complete their enrolled courses before mustering out; commissioned active duty officers, however, incur an additional two years of service obligation (ADSO).
  • Reservists: Only active reservists in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard qualify for TA. Army Reserve (USAR) and Air Force Reserve (USAFR) allow other reservists to participate in the program, but their requirements are more complicated.
Actively participating or drilling x x
Course can be completed before separation (for soldiers and servicemen) x x
Course leads to a degree higher than current level   x
Student must declare an educational goal or have a degree plan x x
Student must have a high school diploma   x
Commissioned officers must have four years of service remaining after the course ends x x
Commissioned officers incur an additional four-year service commitment x x

What TA Covers

Types of Programs: For a program to qualify, it must be offered through an accredited institution. With the exception of the Navy, TA is not typically paid to students earning a second degree at their current level. The different branches vary in the types of educational programs they will pay for.

High School or GED x x   x x
Vocational, Certificate or Non-Degree x x   x x
Online or Distance Learning x x x x x
Associate x x x x x
Bachelor’s x x x x x
Master’s or Doctorate x x x x x
Second Lateral or Lower Degree   x      

Expenses: Tuition and fees are usually paid up to a pre-set quarter hour, semester hour and yearly limit (see below); the Coast Guard TA, however, does not cover certain fees.

Tuition 100% 100% 75-100% 100% 100%
Enrollment Fees Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Special Fees Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Lab Fees Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Computer Fees Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cap per semester credit hour $250 $250 $250/$187.50 $250 $250
Cap per quarter credit hour $166 $166 $166 $166 $166
Cap per year $4,500 16 semester hours per year $4,500/$3,500 $4,500 $4,500

Typically, none of the programs cover relocation expenses, supplies or books. (Though if your books are included in the price of your tuition, TA will probably cover them.)

Since even tuition and fees are capped, your total expenses may exceed your TA benefit. To help bridge that gap, the Veterans Administration (VA) has created the Top Up program. Essentially, it allows those servicemembers who are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty or the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to use them to make up the difference.

How to Apply for TA

Regardless of branch, you will need information about the school, program, and courses you want to take in order to complete the application.

  • Army: At GoArmyEd, create an account (or access an existing one) and apply online. You will receive an email notification when your request is approved.
  • Navy, Marines and Coast Guard: Using WebTA, soldiers can apply directly online. You will be notified by email when your request has been approved. Help with the application can be found at Navy College Program.
  • Air Force: Access the Air Force Portal. Create an account (or access an existing one) for the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC). Enter your information through the online application process. You will receive an email notifying you when your request is approved.

For veterans, many of the most valuable educational benefits don’t come in the form of direct financial assistance. The programs below help servicemembers leverage their expertise by granting college credits for equivalent service accomplishments or military training programs. Many of these programs can be completed during active military enlistment and can substantially cut the time required to earn a degree.

  • ACE – The ACE Student Veteran Support Program offers transfer credit recommendations and certifies the Joint Services Transcript, which helps to transfer professional military experience into academic credit. This decreases the investment of time and money put toward earning a degree.
  • Career NCO Degrees Program of the College of the American Soldier – Focused on combat arms NCOs but available to soldiers in all MOSes, this program helps to ensure that military training and education programs translate into academic credit, while giving career NCOs more options when it comes to higher education. These courses are available online or at military installations.
  • DANTES – Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) offers veterans and servicemembers the opportunity to speak with an education counselor, as well as advice on preparing for college. The organization offers information on resources from the Veterans Administration, other financial assistance and even alternatives to college credits.
  • Enlisted Education Program – The Enlisted Education Program allows certain servicemembers to earn an associate degree during their first term of enlistment. The program is for entry-level soldiers in the following combat arms MOSes in CMFs: 11 Infantry, 13 Field Artillery, 14 Air Defense Artillery, and 19 Armor.
  • GoArmyEd – Enlisted servicemen and women in any military branch can use GoArmyEd to learn about and request tuition assistance online. This is the site where military personnel can manage education records and get Army Education Counselor support.
  • Joint Services Transcript – The Joint Services Transcript is a transcript of military service that shows credit recommendations from the ACE. This transcript is available for members of the Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines.
  • National Association of Veterans Upward Bound – The National Association of Veterans Upward Bound (NAVUB) is a professional association for Veterans Upward Bound members who work with veterans in the program. The staff members of VUB work to create and improve access to education with academic assessments, access to institutions, instruction and academic support. These projects are funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges – Since the 1970s, Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges has partnered with more than a dozen higher education associations and government agencies to improve voluntary opportunities for military personnel to participate in higher education programs. There are separate network systems for each branch of the military. Review participating schools through SOC’s onsite directory.
  • Troops to Teachers – The Troops to Teachers program helps servicemembers to transition from the military to careers in public school education. Participants are placed in high need schools.
  • Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) – ACS helps selected officers to obtain a graduate degree from a variety of civilian universities. Participants in this program attend graduate programs within their branch, functional area or specialty. Officers must be nominated to this program; they must meet specific educational and testing criteria.

As mentioned, participation in educational assistance programs has risen in recent years. This is partly due to the expansion of these programs and partly due to the increasingly competitive job market veterans find once they return from their tours of service. If you qualify for one or more of these benefits programs, now is a better time than ever to take advantage of them.

Loan Repayment Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Eligibility requirements vary depending on the branch of service one has enlisted in, but LRPs are offered through the Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • Award: The Navy and the Army will pay up to $65,000 in college loans. Those who enlist in the Air Force can participate in a loan forgiveness program that will pay off 33.3% of your outstanding student loan after each completed year of active duty service.
  • How to Apply: Speak with your recruiter or advisor to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

National Call to Service Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Multiple groups are eligible. The NCSP requires a three-tiered service requirement for all recipients. In addition to entry training, participants should expect to spend a minimum of 3 years in active duty service.
  • Award: Benefits vary. Participants can choose from several incentives including a $5,000 cash bonus or repayment of a qualifying student loan of $18,000 or less.
  • How to Apply: Visit your nearest Veterans Administration office to apply or visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to learn more.

Navy College Fund

  • Who’s Eligible: Personnel who qualify for training in a selected navy rating as a non-prior service enlistee who have entered active duty after Nov. 21, 1989 and agreed to serve at least three years, between the ages of 17 and 35 are eligible for assistance through the Navy College Fund.
  • Award:Benefits vary depending on the date of entry into the Navy and the terms of your enlistment contract. Read more about how the NCF accumulates here.
  • How to Apply: Speak with your recruiter to learn more about applying for this program. If you’re already enlisted, ask your advisor about eligibility and enrollment procedures.

Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

  • Who’s Eligible: Members of the reserve components called or ordered to “active service” in response to a war or national emergency. See the REAP pamphlet to review specific eligibility terms. NOTE: Some Reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after Sept. 11, 2001, may be eligible for benefits.
  • Award: Benefits vary widely according to your enrollment status and years of consecutive service. Allowances are issued monthly and may only be used for tuition and fees. Current REAP rates range from $164 to $1,318 for institutional training.
  • How to Apply: File a claim for benefits from Veterans Affairs. Read more about the application process here.

Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

  • Who’s Eligible: Eligibility varies in the ROTC programs, depending on the branch of the military.Enrollees can choose between the Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, and Navy ROTC programs; the Coast Guard has a separate reserve training program.
  • Award: Varies by branch. Can often cover up to 70-100% of a full-time student’s tuition and fees for four years. All programs require minimum periods of service after graduation and training commitments during school.
  • How to Apply: Contact your recruiter or counselor for information on applying for ROTC programs.

Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)

  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals who first enlisted between 1977 and June 30, 1985 and opened contribution accounts before April 1, 1987, voluntarily contributing $25.00 – $2,700 to their pay are eligible for the VEAP program. Eligibility for Air Force personnel must have enlisted between Dec. 1, 1980, and Sept. 30, 1981 in one of several specific Air Force Specialties in specific locations.
  • Award: Benefits vary, depending on the amount contributed voluntarily.
  • How to Apply: Fill out the VA form 22-1990 and submit to your local Veteran’s Administration office.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

  • Who’s Eligible: All veterans and servicemembers are eligible for this program.
  • Award: Free vocational rehabilitation job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job seeking skills coaching are available.
  • How to Apply: Visit the VA’s VRE page and download the forms to apply.

All-Military Scholarships

AmVets National Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Veterans who have exhausted other government education benefits are eligible for this scholarship
  • Award: $1,000 annually for a maximum of four years; must be used for pursuit of full-time study
  • Deadline: April 15

Dr. Aurelio M. Cacccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Current active duty personnel or veterans of the Armed Forces who are enrolled part-time or full-time in a U.S. college or vocational training program.
  • Award: $3,000 for books and tuition
  • Deadline: April 15

Veterans United Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Veterans, active duty servicemembers, including National Guard and Reservists who are currently pursuing a post-secondary education. Family members of these individuals may also be eligible.
  • Award: up to $20,000
  • Deadline: April 1

Paralyzed Veterans of America Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Members or relatives of members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America are invited to apply. Recipient must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. college to be eligible.
  • Award: Varies
  • Deadline: June 17

Air Force Scholarships

Air Force ROTC Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Eligibility requirements vary depending on the scholarship, but Air Force ROTC participants typical enroll in the program at the time of enlistment into the Air Force.
  • Awards: There are multiple ROTC scholarships; these awards often include full tuition, lab fees and $500 for books.
  • Deadline: Application is due Dec. 1; supplemental materials due Jan. 12.

Michael Wilson Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Current Air Force ROTC cadets in good standing, enrolled full-time as an incoming junior or senior; those enrolled in the Professional Air Force ROTC Officer Course program and attend Aerospace studies class and leadership lab every semester are eligible, if they meet specific GPA requirements.
  • Award: $15,000
  • Deadline: Not Available.

Captain Jodi Callahan Memorial scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Active duty Air Force, full-time Air National Guard or full-time Air Force Reserve (officer or enlisted) pursuing a Master’s Degree in a non-technical field of study are eligible for this scholarship
  • Award: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 30

Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program

  • Who’s Eligible: U.S. citizens who have been accepted into graduate-level health professions training programs are eligible for this scholarship.
  • Award: Full tuition plus $2,000 per month stipend for living expenses.
  • Deadline: Varies, depending on whether applying for a 2, 3 or 4-year scholarship.

Col. Loren J. and Mrs. Lawona R. Spencer Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Military personnel who have been accepted into a master’s level program who have not received this scholarship previously are eligible.
  • Award: Varies, depending on the type of degree program
  • Deadline: June 30

Army Scholarships

Army ROTC Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: High school ROTC, College-level ROTC students or enlisted soldiers are eligible.
  • Award: Varies, but full tuition, room and board; books and fees are fully covered in some instances.
  • Deadline: Varies depending on the Army ROTC level scholarship applying for. Talk with your recruiter or advisor to see if and how quickly you can enroll.

Army Health Professions Scholarship Program

  • Who’s Eligible: U.S. residents who have an accredited bachelor’s degree who have been accepted to or enrolled in an accredited graduate program. These individuals must maintain full-time student status and qualify as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
  • Award: Full tuition for a graduate-level health care degree in an accredited medical, dental, veterinary, psychology or optometry program in the U.S. or Puerto Rico.Students also receive a monthly stipend, (officer’s pay when school is not in session) and allowances for food and housing.
  • Deadline: Varies

Army Women’s Foundation Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Eligibility requirements vary depending on the specific scholarship; must be a female who has served or is serving in the U.S. Army or a daughter of a current or former service member.
  • Award: $1,000-$2,500, for tuition for technical certification or coursework at the community college or 4-year academic level.
  • Deadline: Jan. 15

Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Students in baccalaureate or advanced degree nursing or nurse anesthesia programs who are serving or have served in any branch of the U.S. military at any rank who are not receiving funding by a branch of the military.
  • Award: $3,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Marine Scholarships

Marine Corps ROTC

  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals who are physically qualified by Marine Corps standards, with no criminal record, a qualifying score on college entrance exams (SAT, AFGT or ACT)
  • Award: Full tuition for four years; uniforms; $750 semester stipend for textbooks
  • Deadline: Jan. 15

Olmsted Scholars Program

  • Who’s Eligible: MIlitary officers and their spouses who are seeking to learn foreign languages to advance their military careers are eligible. Candidates must be nominated directly by their service branch.
  • Award: The Olmsted Foundation offers reimbursement for Olmsted Scholar Program expenses as well as grants for participation in the program.
  • Deadline: Notifications of nominations go out in March and April.

Marines Memorial Association Tribute Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Marines who have transitioned from active duty to reserve or civilian status in the past three years are eligible to apply for financial assistance for undergraduate study.
  • Award: $2,500
  • Deadline: April 23

Navy Scholarships

Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Education Assistance

  • Who’s Eligible: Wounded or injured veterans of the U.S. Navy from from OEF, OIF, Operation New Dawn, or those injured in operational mishaps, major training exercises, or deployments and are now pursuing a degree in the teaching profession or medical-related field
  • Award: Award amounts vary but are to be used for tuition, books, room and board.
  • Deadline: May 1


  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals who are physically qualified by Marine Corps standards, with no criminal record, a qualifying score on college entrance exams (SAT, AFGT or ACT)
  • Award: Varies, but can cover full tuition for four years; uniforms; and a $750 semester stipend for textbooks
  • Deadline: May 31

Samuel Eliot Morison Naval History Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Active duty commissioned officers of the U.S. Navy who are working to obtain a graduate degree in history are eligible for this scholarship.
  • Award: $5,000 for research, travel, books and supplies.
  • Deadline: April 30

Navy Seal Foundation Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Active duty SEALs, SWCC and Naval Special Warfare personnel currently serving in NSW Commands
  • Award: Varies by degree program and the academic and service record of the recipient
  • Deadline: March 13

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative

  • Who’s Eligible: Undergraduate students between 19 and 28 who are sophomores or juniors in a specific college or university with at least a 2.5 GPA.
  • Award: Full coverage of tuition, fees, books and living expenses.
  • Deadline: January 4

All-Military Family Benefits

GI Bill Transfer of Benefits

  • Who’s Eligible: Spouse or dependent children of servicemembers who are enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer to receive benefits of any armed forces active duty or Selected Reserve servicemember, officer or enlisted who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  • Benefit: The servicemember’s unused post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
  • How to Apply: Contact your local Veterans Affairs office or apply online.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependents of military personnel who served and died in Iraq and Afghanistan who qualify for a Pell Grant but are ineligible because of their expected family contribution amount.
  • Benefit: The amount varies, but it is based on the maximum amount for the Federal Pell grant.
  • How to Apply: File a FAFSA form and you will be automatically considered for this grant.

Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)

  • Who’s Eligible: Spouses of active duty servicemembers in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2, and the spouses of activated Guard and Reserve members in those ranks.
  • Benefit: $4,000 for tuition, licensing/ credentialing fees. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) classes, high school completion courses, GED tests and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
  • How to apply: Go to and create an account, then follow the application procedures.

Survivors & Dependents Assistance Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Family members of veterans who served and became permanently disabled or died during their service.
  • Benefit: Up to 45 months of education benefits; Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances
  • How to Apply: Visit your nearest Veterans Administration office to apply or visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs web site.

All-Military Scholarships

Sgt. John David Fry Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Children of active duty armed services members who died while on active duty.
  • Award: 36 months of education benefits
  • Deadline: Oct. 1

Scholarships for Military Children

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependent unmarried children under 23 years, of active duty, reserve/guard and retired military members, or survivors of servicemembers who died while on active duty.
  • Award: $2,000
  • Deadline: Feb. 12

Heroes Legacy Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependent unmarried children under 23 years, of active duty, reserve/guard and retired military members, or survivors of servicemembers who died while on active duty.
  • Award: $2,000
  • Deadline: March 18

Pat Tillman Scholars Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Spouses of veterans or active duty military personnel (as well as veterans and active duty servicemembers)
  • Award: Varies between one time awards and renewable tuition assistance programs
  • Deadline: March 1

Air Force Scholarships

General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Sons and daughters of active duty Air Force personnel.
  • Award: $2,000
  • Deadline: March 18

Air Force Sergeant’s Association

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependents of AFSA organization members
  • Award: $500-$3,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Mike and Gail Donley Spouse Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Spouses of enlisted Air Force, Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve personnel
  • Award: $2,500
  • Deadline: April 30

Lt Col Romeo – Josephine Bass Ferretti Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Minor dependents of active duty or retired Air Force, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard enlisted Airmen who are studying a STEM field.
  • Award: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 30

Hanscom Spouses Club Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependent of active duty retired or deceased Air Force personnel.
  • Award: Varies depending on the degree program and academic history of the recipient
  • Deadline: March 12

Army Scholarships

Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependents of permanently disabled, deceased or MIA U.S. soldiers under the age of 26.
  • Award: Varies depending on the degree program and academic history of the recipient
  • Deadline: Rolling

Marines Scholarships

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Awards

  • Who’s Eligible: Children of active duty or reserve Marine, of an honorably discharged Marine or one who was killed while serving.
  • Award: Varies
  • Deadline: March 1

Hero’s Tribute Scholarship Program for Children of the Fallen

  • Who’s Eligible: Children of Marines and veteran Marines who were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; of Marines a attached to a Marine unit killed in combat operations after September 11, 2001;and of Marines who were killed in training after September 27, 2008.
  • Award: $30,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Navy Scholarships

Colonel Hazel Elizabeth Benn Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: unmarried, dependent children of past and present enlisted Navy medical personnel who have served with the Marine Corps.
  • Award: Varies
  • Deadline: April 15

Navy League of the United States

  • Who’s Eligible: Children and grandchildren of current and former members of the Sea Services.
  • Award: $2,500
  • Deadline: March 1

Wings Over America Scholarship Foundation

  • Who’s Eligible: Dependent children and spouses of Navy personnel.
  • Award: $3,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

  • Who’s Eligible: High school or college children/stepchildren who are unmarried and under 24 of current or former members of the U.S. Navy or submarine forces.
  • Award: $2,000 or $3,400
  • Deadline: March 15

Coast Guard

CG Foundation Spouse Education Grant (SPEG) Spouses & Dependents

  • Who’s Eligible: Spouses of active duty enlisted personnel from pay grades E3-E6 and spouses of reservists who are on any active duty orders for at least a year are eligible, if they are pursuing a degree or certificate.
  • Award: $500 per calendar year, covers items not covered by other resources, like books, school fees, transportation and childcare costs.
  • Deadline: Rolling

Photo Credit: Hammerin Man