Financial Aid: Military Scholarships
| TBS Staff
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Military scholarships are offered to veterans, enlisted soldiers, and high school and college students aspiring to careers in the military.
Military personnel includes individuals who serve or have served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, or National Guard. Reservists, active members of the armed forces, and veterans all qualify for federal student aid, as do many of their dependents. Members of the military and their families should explore these and other programs when pursuing college degrees.
Military scholarships also support students who plan to enter the armed forces or want to advance their careers while serving. Financial aid opportunities include scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans.
Limitations and eligibility restrictions for the GI Bill® can mean service members need additional financial aid for college. While the GI Bill® can cover many expenses related to a college degree or training program, the scholarships below help supplement those funds. Members of the military, their dependents, and veterans should further research the following scholarships to determine which meet their specific circumstances.
|About||Army ROTC Scholarships support college students enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps on campus. Eligible candidates include incoming and current college enrollees and enlisted soldiers. Applicants must provide documentation of academic success and physical abilities. Potential awards include full tuition, room and board, and allowances for books and fees.|
|About||Scholarships awarded by the Army Scholarship Foundation support the children of active-duty military members as they pursue undergraduate degrees. Each applicant must provide documentation of U.S. citizenship and a minimum 2.0 GPA from previous high school and college coursework. Additional application materials include tax returns, an essay, and proof of a parent's military service.|
|About||The Army Women's Foundation offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students earning degrees through Trident at American Intercontinental University. The organization's Legacy Scholarship awards funds to past and present military members enrolled in community colleges, certificate programs, or accredited four-year institutions. Application materials include documentation of academic potential, community service, and financial need.|
|About||This tuition assistance program, which supports the professional and personal goals of active-duty and reserve members of the military, funds enrollment in approved academic degrees or certificate programs. Applicants request assistance on a course-by-course basis. To qualify, candidates must sign up for a service obligation.|
|About||The Army will repay part of a qualifying soldier's student loans as an incentive toward military service. Applicants must enlist for a minimum of six years, meet requirements for military occupational specialties, and secure funds prior to entry into the military. Private, institution, state-funded, and consolidated loans do not qualify for repayment.|
|About||U.S. Air Force ROTC scholarships include both tuition and fee payment stipend entitlements and are open to college-bound students, currently enrolled learners, and enlisted airmen. Funding is based on academic performance and physical ability. Receipt of a scholarship requires an obligation to military service. The Air Force also awards scholarships to individuals studying highly desired majors, such as nursing, engineering, and foreign languages.|
|About||Scholarships awarded by AFA support current Air Force personnel, individuals whose parents served in the Air Force, and spouses of active Air Force members and veterans. AFA also provides funding for students in specific majors and for pilots-in-training who intend to join the Air Force upon graduation.|
|About||In an effort to increase the number of healthcare workers in the Air Force, these scholarships cover tuition, fees, textbooks, and equipment for students studying healthcare. Recipients also receive a stipend and must take part in 45 days of active duty during the scholarship. Upon graduation, individuals serve one year of active duty for each year of the scholarship.|
|About||NROTC scholarships support individuals who intend to enter the U.S. Navy or Marines. Scholarships cover 2-3 years of an academic degree. Application materials include a fitness assessment, college transcripts, and optional letters of reference. In exchange for financial assistance, recipients agree to four or five years of military service.|
|About||The Navy League offers scholarships for high school seniors who will attend accredited colleges or universities. Children and dependents of Navy, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard personnel can apply. Several scholarships also support grandchildren of these branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, while others give preference to enrollees in specific disciplines.|
|About||Navy scholarships provide money for tuition, fees, and textbooks at approved colleges and universities. Additional scholarship programs support individuals studying civil engineering, nursing, or nuclear propulsion. Upon graduation, recipients enter military service in their specialized field.|
|About||This foundation offers scholarships for individuals earning undergraduate degrees and students enrolled in career and technical education programs. Applicants must be children of active, reserve, or veteran members of the Marine Corps. Candidate must demonstrate academic potential, provide documentation of honorable service, and submit tax documents for consideration.|
|About||The Marine Corps League Scholarships are for individuals pursuing undergraduate degrees. Candidates must attend an approved school, hold membership in the Marine Corps League, or be a spouse or dependent of a member. Applicants must provide transcripts, proof of enrollment, and documentation from any member serving as a sponsor. Recipients can renew their scholarships for up to four years.|
|About||Students who enlist to serve eight years in the Army National Guard can receive these scholarships to cover tuition, books, fees, and room and board. The Minuteman Scholarship requires attendance at drill weekends and annual training programs. Applicants must enroll full time, hold U.S. citizenship, and demonstrate medical and moral qualifications for the National Guard.|
|About||NGAUS is a group that advocates for the U.S. National Guard. Its scholarship programs support current Guardsmen, their children, and their spouses. Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees can apply for tuition, fee, and textbook remittance. Applicants must hold membership in NGAUS.|
|About||Eligible members of the Air National Guard can apply for financial assistance as they pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees. Soldiers may receive funding for enrollment in certificate or diploma programs. Applicants must attend accredited institutions and take classes listed within the curriculum of a degree plan or training program.|
|About||This grant program assists Coast Guard personnel with funding for tuition, fees, and other expenses related to an academic degree or technical training. Applicants may be currently serving or hold veteran status. Funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.|
|About||An individual entering or enrolled in a bachelor's program at an approved institution interested in the U.S. Coast Guard can apply to this initiative. Funding supports two years of tuition, books, and fees, with additional housing and stipend allowances. During the school year, recipients participate in a minimum of 16 hours of Coast Guard duties each month. Online degrees do not qualify.|
|About||The Army Nurse Corps Association offers financial assistance for individuals earning bachelor's or advanced degrees in nursing or nurse anesthesia. Applicants must be serving or have previously served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Students receiving ROTC scholarship funds or full GI Bill® benefits cannot apply.|
|About||The Daniels Fund awards the Boundless Opportunity Scholarship to veterans entering or returning to college, along with former foster care youth or juvenile justice youths enrolling in college. Qualified candidates must reside in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, or Wyoming.|
|About||Awarded to sophomore, junior, and first-year students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Wyoming, the Edna M. Humphrey Engineering scholarship gives first preference to members of the National Guard or veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Applicants must be residents of Wyoming, have graduated from high schools in Wyoming, or currently serve as active military stationed in Wyoming.|
|About||Supporting sophomore, junior, and first-year students enrolled in the College of Education at the University of Wyoming, the Roberta Derr Education Scholarship gives preference to National Guard members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Each candidate must serve as an active military member stationed in Wyoming, maintain residency in Wyoming, or have a high school diploma from a school within the state.|
|About||The Dr. Robert W. & Jean L. Sheldon Scholarship provides financial assistance to two students transferring from Bakersfield College to California State University Bakersfield each year. One award is reserved for a nursing student and the other for a veteran.|
|About||Only residents of Maryland can apply for these scholarships. Eligible applicants include high school seniors and both full- and part-time undergraduates and graduate students who are the child or spouse of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who died or suffered a permanent disability as a result of service. Individuals who lost loved ones on 9/11, have a relative designated as POW/MIA, or are related to a state or public safety employee or volunteer who was killed or disabled may also apply.|
|About||Veterans, spouses of service members, and children or grandchildren of veterans can apply for the Graydon and Myrth Fox Scholarship. Supported by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, the award prefers wounded personnel, surviving spouses, and dependents of wounded veterans. Recipients can renew the award for up to four years.|
|About||Supporting women who are either pursuing a career related to national security or defense or already working in those fields, the HORIZONS-Michigan Scholarship awards financial assistance based on academic achievement, work experience, and financial need. Each candidate must enroll in an accredited Michigan college or university, hold residency in Michigan, and be a graduate or undergraduate student with junior-level status.|
|About||Established by the Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Jack E. Barger, Sr. Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for nursing students in response to the state's nursing shortage. Applicants must be active-duty military service members, veterans, or the child or spouse of a service member or veteran. Recipients must also hold Pennsylvania residency and be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree.|
|About||The Ed "Chief" Parsons Memorial Scholarship supports high school seniors, graduates, and returning veterans entering junior college, technical institutes, or four-year institutions. Dependents of Vietnam veterans, military veterans, and law enforcement personnel receive preference. Applicants must reside in Burlington County, New Jersey.|
|About||The NBCC Foundation Military Scholarship offers financial support for individuals pursuing master's-level counseling degrees. Recipients must intend to support members of the military community with mental health services.|
|About||The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. offers scholarships to individuals who attend college and contribute to national security, freedom, and building national alliances. Many of the scholarships honor individuals who served in the military. Candidates must submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and essays for consideration.|
|About||The Raytheon Patriot Scholarship is offered through a partnership between Student Veterans of America and Raytheon Missiles and Defense and it gives preference to Army veterans. This scholarship supports individuals who demonstrate leadership, community engagement, and a passion for their discipline in undergraduate or graduate programs. Application materials include transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a video submission.|
|About||NBC Universal and Student Veterans of America have partnered to support student veterans pursuing associate, bachelor's, or graduate degrees from institutions in the United States. Each applicant must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, demonstrate proof of military service, submit a resume, and respond to an essay prompt.|
|About||Students serving in the Texas Air National Guard, Air National Guard, or State Guard can apply for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program. Additional eligible candidates include individuals who become members of the U.S. Coast Guard or Merchant Marines or anyone who becomes a commissioned officer in any branch of the U.S. armed services. Scholarships may be renewed for up to six years.|
|About||Designed to support military service members, veterans, and their spouses, the Tillman Scholar Program awards funding based on service, scholarship, humble leadership, and impact on the world. Recipients receive money to cover tuition, books, and living expenses, along with national networking opportunities and access to leadership development programs.|
|About||Awarded through Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), the Michael and Candy Yakimo Scholarship supports a member of the TKE fraternity studying at Missouri University of Science and Technology or a veteran earning a degree at the institution.|
|About||These scholarships offered by Student Veterans of America, Sports Clips Haircuts, and the VFW support U.S. residents who have retired, been honorably discharged from, or remain on active duty in the military. Members of the National Guard or Reserves may also apply. Each candidate must demonstrate financial need and enroll in a VA-approved program or an accredited postsecondary institution. Awards are restricted to tuition and fees.|
|About||Trident, the online university for military and adult education at American InterContinental University, supports active-duty, reserve, and National Guard service members pursuing graduate degrees. Candidates must currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, hold the rank of E-9, possess a bachelor's degree, and submit an essay for consideration.|
|About||These scholarships are awarded to women seeking advancement within the military or in public service careers by enrolling in undergraduate or graduate degrees. Applicants must provide a resume, transcripts, references, and essays for consideration. Recipients can renew scholarship funds for a second year based on academic performance.|
|About||Offered to enrollees at Colorado Technical University, this annual scholarship supports fifty eligible wounded service members or their spouses, non-medical attendants or caregivers, and dependents annually. Recipients receive full tuition remittance, a new laptop, and textbooks for their classes.|
|About||AMVETS is funded by a grant from the Lowe's Companies, Inc. and offers scholarships through its National Service Foundation. Veterans and their spouses can apply for funding to earn degrees in skilled trade industries. Current veteran students and their spouses studying computer science or business entrepreneurship can also receive support through the program.|
|About||Undergraduate students on active duty or with an honorable discharge from a branch of the military can apply for the AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship. Recipients must enroll part- or full-time in eligible STEM programs at accredited colleges and universities and must use the funds on tuition and course-related expenses. Online and distance-learning enrollees may apply.|
|About||Created to support U.S. military members and their families, Education Connection offers annual scholarships to facilitate earning a college degree. Applicants must be 18 years or older, maintain active-duty or veteran membership in the U.S. armed forces, and submit essays for consideration. Recipients may use funds for tuition, fees, books, and housing expenses.|
|About||This scholarship fund supports the children of military families. Applicants must have a parent eligible for MOAA membership or be a child of an active-duty, reserve, or retired member of the military. Children of National Guard members can also apply. Candidates receive consideration based on scholastic ability, extracurricular activities, and financial need.|
|About||Service members and honorably discharged Gulf War veterans can apply for a Heroes Fund Scholarship at Liberty University. Individuals must have received a Purple Heart, had a spouse killed in action during one of the Gulf Wars, or be rated 50-100% disabled by the VA. Recipients can apply funds toward their first associate, bachelor's, or master's degrees or toward certificate programs.|
|About||Members of PVA, their spouses, and their dependents qualify for scholarships to support full- or part-time study at accredited colleges or universities in the United States. PVA awards two scholarships each year. To apply, candidates submit a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and verification of enrollment.|
|About||The Patriot Scholarship awards 10% tuition remittance to veterans earning graduate degrees at Divine Mercy University. Applicants must provide appropriate documentation to support their status as a veteran, military spouse or dependent, active-duty service member, reservist, or retired member of the military.|
|About||Candidates for the Posse Veterans Program must participate in a three-stage interview process before meeting with representatives from participating institutions. Enrollees pursue a bachelor's degree and receive funding to cover the full cost of tuition. Once enrolled, veterans work closely with their faculty mentors, on-campus support staff, and career development professionals to facilitate entrance into civilian careers. Veterans can either apply to the program themselves or be nominated for the program.|
|About||The Bonsai Finance Veterans Scholarship offers funds to support current or future education costs for veterans, active military service members, or direct dependents of members of the military. Candidates must submit an essay, which is the sole determinant for funding.|
|About||Current, separated, and retired members of the U.S. armed forces can apply to the Troops to Teachers program. Designed to support individuals as they transition from service to careers in teaching, the program awards stipends and bonus payments to cover education-related expenses and incentivize taking teaching positions at high-need schools.|
Members of the military receive access to healthcare, housing and homeownership programs, and financing opportunities, as well as discounts on other services. Other benefits include caregiver support, tax preparation assistance, and career development assistance.
Military and veteran benefits extend to education, with programs designed to support members of the armed forces, their spouses, and their dependents.
Federal and state agencies also support active-duty military members and veteran students through scholarship and grant opportunities, counseling and tutoring resources, specialized training programs, and transfer credit agreements.
Federal military academies train students for service in one of the nation's armed forces. To apply for entry to a federal military academy, candidates must present documents demonstrating excellence in academics, service, and leadership. Support from a political official and attendance at summer programs also benefit students during the application process.
Once admitted to a federal military academy, students receive full tuition, room and board, and costs for books and supplies. By covering all tuition and living expenses, military academies support students through their entire undergraduate degrees.
During four years at a military academy, learners earn degrees comparable to those offered at colleges and universities around the country. Instructors supplement humanities, engineering, and social science coursework with military training, research activities, and physical programs designed to prepare students for service.
During the first five years after graduation from a federal military academy, students attend basic officer training and enter vocations within the armed forces. After five years, individuals can advance within the military, transition to a reserve role, or enter a civilian career.
Federal Military Academies
Admission to the U.S. Military Academy, most often referred to as West Point because it is located in West Point, New York, requires a strong academic background, leadership experience, and physical prowess. West Point's interdisciplinary curriculum leads to a bachelor of science degree in the student's major of choice. At the end of their time at West Point, learners choose a branch of military service, although consideration is first given to the needs of the Army.
To apply to the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland, individuals must demonstrate moral character and academic excellence and pass a fitness assessment. At the USNA, learners complete required core classes and major coursework in anticipation of serving in the U.S. Navy or the Marine Corps.
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Air Force Academy is a training ground for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force.
The former prepares learners to serve in the U.S. Merchant Marines or other military ranks, while the U.S. Coast Guard Academy offers nine academic majors for cadets who intend to serve in the Coast Guard.
Finding and Applying to Scholarships
Service members have many options for financial help when pursing a college degree. Individual colleges and universities commonly offer scholarships specifically for military personnel, while communities and corporations provide financial aid. Scholarships for active-duty military members, veterans, and their dependents often support specific branches of service.
Many organizations and groups also support the spouses and children of military members and veterans, with additional programs designed to support relatives of soldiers who have lost their lives or been injured in the line of duty.
For many learners, military service is a viable financial aid option, although it is not the only option. By signing up to serve in the military, students can gain access to scholarships for tuition, housing, books, and supplies, which are often renewable and can supplement other financial aid options.
Where to Look
Students can access information about scholarships by talking to guidance counselors and representatives from prospective schools or by visiting online databases and guides. Military.com and U.S. Veterans Magazine offer content about financial aid specifically for service members.
Another good place to start is the Federal Student Aid website, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. This site offers a variety of information on government funding, including scholarships for military families, active-duty personnel, veterans, and those who plan to join the military.
How to Apply
Students should apply for as many scholarships as possible. More applications means more opportunities to receive financial support. However, applicants should check scholarship guidelines before submitting their materials; many scholarships limit eligibility based on things like demographics, income level, and academic performance, and some have conditions related to how they are spent.
Application requirements vary by scholarship, so candidates should prepare a wide variety of materials in anticipation of their search. Common requirements include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal essays. To improve your chances, it's best to highlight academic success and engagement with your community. Military and veteran scholarships often also call for discussion of past service, current military duties, or future military goals.
Submitting your scholarship application on time is key, so always check deadlines and contact potential references or letter writers well in advance. This ensures references will submit their letters in a timely manner. You should also consider requesting transcripts, writing and revising application essays, and securing all required documents well in advance to prevent potential problems during the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers scholarships to students pursuing degrees in particular fields, including healthcare, nursing, and visual impairment and orientation. These programs are designed to help create a well-trained and informed body of professionals to work with and care for veterans and members of the armed forces at VA facilities.
Qualified veterans can apply for GI Bill® benefits to cover expenses related to college and university degrees and certificate programs. The GI Bill® provides enough financial support for four years of education at a public institution, but may not cover full enrollment at private colleges and universities. GI Bill® awards depend on how long an individual served on active duty, if it was before or after 9/11, type of military discharge, and whether they paid into the program during their first year of service.
Studying at a military academy is comparable with collegiate institutions, albeit with an emphasis on discipline, leadership, and physical training. Along with general curricula courses, enrollees study military arts and sciences, developing tactical knowledge and skills applicable to military service. Military academies in the United States often align with specific branches of the armed forces. Admission to a military academy is competitive and requires a commitment to military service.
Several states in the United States offer programs that give tuition waivers to veterans, their dependents, and their spouses. Requirements vary by state, with consideration based on length of service, residency status, and enrollment. Members of the military also benefit from tuition discounts and additional programs that can lower the overall cost of earning a degree.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the VA. More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the VA. More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.
Image Credit: Ariel Skelley | Getty Images
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