Military Scholarships

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How Do You Get Military Scholarships?

Military scholarships tend to be for active duty service members, reservists, honorably discharged, or retired veterans. Military family members such as spouses, children and grandchildren may also receive military scholarships if they qualify.

There are five main branches of the United States military. They are the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. Each may set aside financial aid for those who serve or served in that branch.

Apart from military service, providers grant scholarships on the basis of financial need or merit. Financial need is about lack of funds. And merit may be about grades and community service. 

There are 1,192,700 military undergraduate students, and 241,000 military graduate students according to the NCES report. On average, undergraduates receive between get from $8,000 to $15,100 in education benefits. Graduate students receive an average of $16,200 or $10,400 when excluding housing. 

The use of military education benefits has gone up since the Post 9/11 GI Bill. But studies show many military undergraduates and graduate students are not utilizing these benefits.  

A scholarship may be useful to make a college education more affordable. At a public college, the cost of tuition, fees, room and board is about $17,797 per year. Award amounts may vary, but the funds is not like a student loan which you do not need to pay back the amount with interest.

10 Military Scholarships You Can Apply for Now

  1. Corvias Foundation Military Dependent Children Scholarship
  2. Lowe’s + AMVETS + Generation T Scholarship
  3. Marine Corps Foundation Undergraduate & Associate Degrees Scholarship
  4. Navy Seal Foundation Scholarships
  5. Veterans in Tech Scholarship
  6. Army ROTC Nursing 4 Year Scholarship
  7. WGU Military Appreciation Scholarship
  8. NROTC 3 Year Scholarship
  9. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program
  10. Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship

How Do You Get ROTC Scholarships?

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships swap a paid (or partially paid) undergraduate degree for a service contract. If you accept one, you must agree to serve in the military for a specific number of years.  

Many ROTC scholarships are for high school graduates who meet criteria. But there may be other opportunities if a college student or enlisted service member already. All tend to focus on your merits, GPA, test scores, community service, leadership etc. 

Army (AROTC) and  Air Force (AFROTC) graduates start out as Second Lieutenants. Navy (NROTC) grads may begin as Navy Ensigns or Marine Corps Second Lieutenants. 

ARMY ROTC 

The Four Year High School Scholarship is for high school students who plan to attend a four year college program. It offers the opportunity to grow military and leadership skills while you prepare for a career. 

Courses take place in the classroom and in the field. So, they mix in with your normal academic studies even if online. Extra summer programs like Jump School may be available too. When you graduate, you become commissioned as an officer in the Army.

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 17 and 26. You must also have a high school diploma or GED with a GPA no lower than 2.5. Other criteria include SAT score of 1000+ or ACT of 19+ and meeting the physical fitness test.

The scholarship comes with a contract. This commitment spans 8 years of service. Four years full time in the Army and 4 years with the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Some selected Cadets may choose to serve part time in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.

NAVY ROTC 

The Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (NROTC) offers financial aid to college students if they qualify. If interested in a scholarship, you may apply while in high school or college.

The NROTC programs prep young adults for leadership and management positions in the Navy and may be available at 170 colleges in the U.S. Courses take place both in the classroom and in the field. 

Once you graduate, an NROTC grad becomes commissioned as an officer. The Navy entails at least 5 years of active military service. It is at least 4 years for the Marine Corps and Navy Nursing program.

The scholarships offer full tuition and mandatory fees at listed schools. They also provide a stipend for academic, Naval Science text books, uniforms, three summer cruises and an allowance.

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 17 and 23. The list of other criteria is stringent and detailed. As a snapshot, they include physical fitness, GPA, and test scores. You must also apply for and gain admission to an approved school and major. 

Carnegie Mellon University offers the Naval ROTC grant for first year and returning undergraduate students. Eligible recipients may receive a $8,000 grant.

AIR FORCE ROTC 

There are Air Force ROTC scholarships for enlisted airmen, high school and college students. 

An example is the Type 1 Scholarship for high school seniors. It pays 100% college tuition and approved fees at any public or private school with an Air Force ROTC detachment. Type 1 selectees also receive stipends. One for living expenses and another for books.

To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen and meet all the criteria. Some relate to grades and entail a 3.0 GPA, SAT of 1240 or ACT of 26. Others, to passing medical and fitness exams. 

If you do receive a scholarship, you must agree to its terms. Among them, is a contract to accept a commission as an Air Force officer and serve at least 4 years on active service.

There are many schools across the states which offer AFROTC programs. The University of Delaware is one. They have a crosstown agreement with a few other schools such as Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware State University, and Wilmington University.

Military Scholarships by Branch

Active duty is full time military service in the U.S. armed forces. The armed forces are the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. They all fall under the direction of the Department of Defense (DOD).

There were about 1.4 million active duty service members in the U.S. in 2019. Active duty service member are subject to active duty for 24 hours and 7 days per week. The exception could be on leave or authorized time off. 

Each branch provides military scholarships to its members who qualify. The awards honor one’s service and help service members reach educational goals.

Air Force Scholarships

The U.S. Air Force protects the air and space. Many Air Force scholarship opportunities are for active duty, full time Guard or Reserve (officer or enlisted) Airmen. 

One is the Captain Jodi Callahan Memorial Scholarship. It provides $1,000 in financial assistance to Airman pursuing a master’s degree in a non technical field.

The annual AFA Mike & Gail Donley Spouse scholarship program is another. It awards two $2,500 scholarships to help Air Force spouses pursue either associate’s, bachelor’s, graduate or post graduate degrees.  

Army Scholarships

The U.S. Army is the largest, oldest, and most senior branch of the U.S. military. These ground forces deploy to fight wars and protect the nation. 

If you’re a female military member, then you may be eligible for the Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program. This program provides grants to women soldiers, past and present, and their lineal descendants. It uses criteria including merit, academic promise, community service, letters of reference and financial need. 

AWF financial aid is available in four areas as long as it’s for an accredited school. Community college and certificate program awards up to $1,000. Undergraduate degrees, and Graduate degree programs award up to $2,500.

Coast Guard Scholarships

The Coast Guard provides law and maritime safety as well as military naval support. In times of peace, they are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Coast Guard Foundation Enlisted Education Grants began in 1999. These grants award $500 max and are open to eligible enlisted personnel in pay grades from E3 to E6. 

There also awards for children of current and fallen Coast Guard members. Spouses of enlisted members may apply for Lisa Cook Reed Spouse Education Scholarship program. It could help cover college expenses like books, fees, transportation and child care.

Also, Coast Guard reservists and their families may be eligible for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Reserve Scholarship. This award helps families who are pursuing higher education and pay for out of pocket fees, books, and school equipment.

Marine Corps Scholarships

The Marine Corps is part of the Naval Forces and maintain units to support its operations. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation offers two different need based awards. The award amounts range from $1,500 to $10,000. Their Undergraduate and Associate Degree award could help incoming freshmen and current students complete an associate or bachelor’s degree.

The Career and Technical Education award supports students pursuing certificate program or vocational training at a community college or trade school. To be eligible for either award, you must be a child of an active personnel, reserve or veteran U.S. Marine. You must have at least 2.0 GPA and have a certain family adjusted gross income of less than $103,000. 

Navy Scholarships

The Navy operates on and under water to protect and defend the nation. This military scholarship offers opportunities to undergraduates and graduates who plan to earn a master’s, or doctorate degrees.

One provider of Navy scholarships is the Walter Beall Scholarship Foundation. Sponsors of the program are past regional presidents of the FRA. Each year, they award scholarships for general engineering, aviation or aeronautical engineering degree programs.

Criteria for the awards include grades, community service ad financial need. Applicants may be FRA members, their spouse, children or grandchildren. The member must be active for two years and in good standing with the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA).

The FRA also offers the Colonel Hazel Elizabeth Benn, U.S.M.C. Scholarship. This merit award provides $2,000. It is for U.S. college freshmen and sophomores who are the dependents of a current or deceased FRA member. 

National Guard Scholarships

The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of the military. They operate under state authority, so each state may have resources for its resident members. 

One example is the Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance Program. It is for U.S. students who are members of a Kansas Air Force or Army National Guard Unit. Eligible students must plan to attend a Kansas college. To apply for this award of up to $2,508, you must have a GED or high school diploma.

The the Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship. It awards up to $7,725. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen, undergrad and member of the Iowa National Guard. You must also be planning to attend college in Iowa.

Are There Scholarships for Veterans Attending College?

There are scholarships for veterans who have served the country and service members who were discharged due to a service related disability. These scholarships often help veterans transition into a civilian career. Some military scholarships also help their dependent children and spouses afford a college education.

By 2017, 5.2 million veterans (28% of all veterans) over the age of 25 have completed a post secondary degree or credential. About 54% were enrolled in associate degree or certificate programs. 

AMVETS (American Veterans) is one potential source of scholarships. The national member organization offers awards to high school seniors, J/ROTC students, veterans, and service members going for higher education.

With the support of Lowe’s, AMVETS offers Generation T scholarships of up to $5,000 to those who are enrolled in an eligible construction trade school. To qualify, you must be a veteran, have a high school diploma or GED and plan to pursue a college degree. 

The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) offers also scholarships for disabled veterans. PVA offers funds to PVA members and their immediate family members through the Educational Scholarship Program. Full time students may be eligible to receive $2,500 and part time students may receive $1,000.

Can Military Spouses Receive Military Scholarships?

Many military scholarships are open to military spouses. A military spouse is the wife or husband of a service member whether they are active, retired, reserve or National Guard. 

One of the programs in place for military spouses is MyCAA. Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 for over 2 years of financial assistance. It is for military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification, or associate’s degree that will lead to employment.

Another organization that assists spouses is the National Military Family Association (MFA). Founded by military wives, the NMFA offers about 30 awards per year. NMFA Military Spouse Scholarships are one time awards with amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Can Military Children and Children of Veterans Apply for Scholarships?

There are scholarships for military children of service members who are deceased or no longer on active duty. You must be children and/or grandchildren of military members and veterans. Many military children may face various challenges from moving to different bases or losing a loved one. Scholarships may lower the cost of higher education and make college more affordable despite the challenges. 

One of the places to look for scholarships is the branch of the military your family member belongs to. For example, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation offers tuition assistance. These awards go to children of a Marine or a Navy Corpsmen, Chaplain or Religious Programs specialist attached to a Marine unit. Eligible applicants need a 2.0 GPA and must meet their financial need criteria.

The American Legion Legacy Scholarship is needs based award. It aims to fill the financial gap left after an eligible applicant uses all of their allocated federal and state funds. 

To apply, you must be the child of a U.S. military member who died on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Children of post 9/11 veterans with a combined disability rating of 50 % or greater by the Department of Veterans Affairs may also qualify.

What Other Financial Aid Can Military Students Receive for College?

Military students may receive federal and state financial aid such as grants and G.I. Bill benefits. Federal and state government make grants available to military and veteran students who qualify. Outside of the military, many businesses, nonprofits and colleges set up scholarship funds for military members. 

Grants are funds you only pay back if you fail to meet terms. Grants rely on information about your family income.

If your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11, you may be eligible for extra aid.  To qualify, at the time of their death, you must have been less than 24 years old. You could be enrolled at least part time at a college or career school. 

Federal Pell Grants: If you meet these criteria and are eligible for a Pell Grant, you likely have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero. This maximizes the sum of the Pell Grant you may receive and may boost your eligibility for other federal student aid programs

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants: If you meet these criteria but are not eligible for a Pell Grant based on your EFC, you may qualify for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The max amount of the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is the same as the maximum Pell Grant award.

What are the GI Bill Benefits for College?

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers education benefits for veterans, service members, or qualified family members. They are called GI Bill benefits which help pay for college, graduate school, and training programs. 

Once you know which benefit you qualify for, you apply online at VA.gov. Here are a few GI benefits to consider.

Post 9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) aims to help you pay for school or job training. If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for it. You may receive up to 36 months of benefits, including:

  • Tuition and fees. If you qualify for the max benefit, VA covers the full cost of public, in state tuition and fees. They cap the rates for private and foreign schools, and update those rates each year.
  • Housing (if you’re in school more than half time). VA bases your monthly housing allowance on the cost of living where your school is located.
  • Money for books and supplies. You might receive up to $1,000 per school year.
  • Funds to help you move from a rural area to go to school. You may qualify for this one time payment of $500 if you are moving from a very rural area with no college 

The amount depends on how much active service you’ve had since September 10, 2001. VA then calculates this amount based on a percentage of the max benefit.  

You might use GI Benefits for campus and online programs. The VA pays a housing allowance based on 50% of the national average if attending an online program.

To get a sense of possible payment amounts, the VA has a school finder and GI comparison tool.  If you need more money to cover higher private school costs or out of state tuition, you may apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

If you’re a qualified service member, you may also transfer all 36 months or a portion of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child. The Department of Defense approves a transfer of benefits.

Montgomery GI Bill 

The Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB AD) might help you pay for education and training programs. If you’ve served at least 2 years on active service, you may qualify

Select Reserve GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB SR) program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. If you’re a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard, you may be eligible

Veterans Readiness and Employment

The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) are services to help with job training and search. Things like skills coaching and resume building. These funds might also help to launch a business. Or, provide independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work 

Dependents Educational Assistance 

The DEA program is also Chapter 35. If you’re the child or spouse of a Veteran or service member who died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities, you may be able to get help paying for school or job training through it.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program may help you pay for higher out of state, private school, or graduate school tuition that the Post 9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover. You may qualify if you served at least 36 months of active service or received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001. However, not every school takes part in this program, so make sure to double check if your school participates.

List of Military Scholarships

Check out our list of military scholarships worth $.

American Legion Scholarships

A scholarship from the American Legion is a kind of grant. It offers financial aid to make higher education possible for children of post 9/11 veterans. Each year, there are a number of scholarship programs to apply for. And while eligibility requirements vary, most assess both financial need and merit. Find ones that line up with your interests by taking Unigo's scholarship match quiz. Then start your scholarship search on our site.

AWARDS: 235
TOTAL: $2M

Grants for Veterans

These grants can assist low income veterans with bills, mortgage, rent, housing, college, medications and much more. If you're a veteran, browse through these grants and find the perfect grant to help fund your education and expenses!

AWARDS: 13,347
TOTAL: $24M

Military Medical School Scholarship

If you're in the military and pursuing a career in the medical industry, browse through this directory!

AWARDS: 31
TOTAL: $18K

Military Spouse Scholarships

Here are scholarships for eligible spouses of active duty, reservist and other military personnel. Browse and apply today!

AWARDS: 9,111
TOTAL: $22M

ROTC Scholarships

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) offers generous college scholarships for those who are committed to serving in the military.

AWARDS: 14,097
TOTAL: $333M

Scholarships for Children of Veterans

If you are the child or grandchild of a veteran, many college scholarships are set aside for you. Scholarships for children of veterans often honor the fallen and their service.

AWARDS: 16,054
TOTAL: $63M

Scholarships for Military Children

If you are the child of a veteran, many scholarships are set aside for you in honor of parents who are military personnel.

AWARDS: 13,140
TOTAL: $49M

Scholarships for Veterans

Scholarships for military personnel, veterans, and their families is one way we say thanks to our servicemen and women. These funds are our sincere gratitude to the ones that sacrifice their lives to serve us as a people. Veterans are encouraged to browse and apply today!

AWARDS: 29,915
TOTAL: $84M

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