American Legion Scholarships

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What is an American Legion Scholarship?

An American Legion scholarship may provide financial aid to make higher education affordable for children of post 9/11 veterans. American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary want to help students invest in their education and fulfill their college and career goals. 

Each year, there are a number of scholarship programs to apply for. Eligibility requirements may vary, but most assess your financial need and merit. American Legion scholarship supports military children of past service members and veterans to achieve their dreams of college.

8 American Legion Scholarships You Can Apply for Now

Here are ten awards from the American Legion scholarship organization that you should apply for now. 

  1. American Legion Oratorical Contest
  2. Children of Warriors National President Scholarship
  3. Spirit of Youth Scholarship
  4. Eagle Scout of the Year Scholarship
  5. Samsung American Legion Scholarship
  6. American Legion Auxiliary Non Traditional Student Scholarship 
  7. Lemon Bay American Legion Scholarship 
  8. American Legion Legacy Scholarship

What is the American Legion?

Chartered by Congress in 1919, the Legion is the nation’s largest nonprofit veteran’s service organization. It began with a group of World War I veterans and grew its membership as they set up local posts around the U.S. 

By 2020, membership stands at almost 2 million in more than 13,000 posts nation wide. The posts have 55 departments. One for each 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

In fact, one of the early resolutions in 1919 was in support of the Boy Scouts of America. Today, the Legion is the chartering agency for over 1,700 Scouting units made up of about 64,000 youths.

In 1920, the Legion created the U.S. Veterans Bureau. It’s currently now known as Veterans Administration or VA. 

The Legion also currently lobbies for Veteran funding. As a result, it advocates that these funds should be enough to cover medical, disability, education and more.

American Legion Programs and Events

Over the years, the Legion also runs programs for veterans, children and youth. These include several fundraising campaigns. They’ve raised over $1.4 million for VA hospitals. The Legacy Scholarship also offers about $1 million in scholarship funds. Some of the Legion’s programs and events include:

Legion Riders. Known for their charitable work, these chapters raise money for local children’s hospitals, schools, veterans’ homes, severely wounded service members and scholarships.

Boys State / Boys Nation. A selective educational program founded in 1935. Program participants may also learn the rights, privileges and duties of franchised citizens. 

National ConventionThis is the largest annual meeting where each of the Legion’s 55 departments send up to five voting delegates. 

The Legion also offers special services and resources to veterans and their family members. 

Veterans Health and Career Center. The Legion runs career fairs as well as helps veterans find jobs through various tools. This service also offers guidance about healthcare options for PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and suicide prevention.

Troop and Family Support Center. The Legion offers financial assistance in the form of grants for children of veterans eligible for membership.

Women Veterans. There are many resources that help women veterans learn about their benefits and gender specific health care. Female veterans may also tap this source to learn how the Legion responds to, and advocates against Military Sexual Trauma.

How do you Join the American Legion?

You may apply for a American Legion membership by signing up online. Your information could be processed by the headquarters. Then, after review, the organization mails out a membership card to you. Then you may participate in numerous programs to assist veterans, military personnel and their communities. Membership is open to veterans who meet the following:

  • Served federal active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since December 7, 1941 and have an honorable discharge or still serve
  • U.S. Merchant Marine eligible only from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946 (WWII)

As a member, you must pay dues of about $40 per year. However, each post sets the cost of these dues, so they could vary.

The membership expires on December 31 of the paid year shown on your card. After that, you must renew (with a fee) or the account becomes delinquent.

Once you are a member, you may enjoy benefits like discounts on auto insurance, medical, car rental and other services. You could also receive career and education assistance and American Legion scholarships to help pay for your continued education.

Samsung American Legion Scholarship

The Samsung Scholarship fund started with a $5 million donation from Samsung. They range from $1,250 to $10,000. Due to Covid 19 this American Legion scholarship is on hold for 2020-2021.

  • 10 National Scholars: $10,000 each (two from each region)
  • 10 National Runners: $5,000 each (two from each region)
  • Remaining Department Finalists: $1,250 each guaranteed

Recipients used the funds for tuition, books, fees, room and board and for undergraduate study only. To qualify, you must be a high school junior with the following requirements. 

  • School involvement and community service.
  • Current student at American Legion Boys State / American Legion Auxiliary Girls State 
  • A direct descendant – i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc. or legally adopted child of a wartime U.S. military veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war approved by the AL for this award
  • Direct descendants of Korean War Era Veterans

Legacy Scholarship

This is a needs based American Legion scholarship and awards up to $20,000. The funds help offset the cost of undergraduate or post graduate study. The goal of the program is to fill the gap left after tapping all other sources of aid such as state and federal grants.

The program is open to high school seniors and grads who are children of: 

  •  U.S. military service members who died while on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001
  • Post 9/11 veterans having been assigned a combined disability rating of 50 % or greater by the Department of Veterans Affair

National High School Oratorical Contest 

This academic speaking contest has been around for high school students since 1938. It exists to deepen students’ understanding of the U.S. Constitution. This American Legion scholarship helps improve students’ ability to lead, think and speak in a clear way.

Contest eligibility requirements:

  • Citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Under the age of 20 on the date of the national contest
  • Enrolled in high school or junior high ((public, parochial, military, private or home school)

If you are eligible, you must prepare a 10 minute speech on some aspect of the Constitution. It should focus on a citizen’s duties and obligations to the government. 

The national contest winner receives an American Legion scholarship of $25,000. Second place takes home $22,500, and third receives $20,000.

The competition begins at the post level then advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest. Here, department winners compete against each other. By the final round, there are three finalists. 

Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an extra $2,000 scholarship.

American Legion Baseball Scholarship

Every year, this American Legion scholarship awards between $22,000 to $25,000 to deserving baseball players.

Each American Legion Department Baseball Committee may select one of its players to receive the funds. Eligible applicants each receive $500. 

Then, the All Academic Team sponsored by Diamond Sports considers each certified winner. Eight of these players receive an extra $2,500 annually. A ninth player, deemed “most outstanding member” of the Team receives an extra $5,000.

If you are interested, you must receive a nomination and fill out a scholarship application. The application asks for high school transcripts, three letters of recommendation and essays. 

Eagle Scout of the Year Scholarship

Each year, students receive nominations from their respective departments to put them in the running for this scholarship. The Scout of the Year receives a $10,000 scholarship. Three runner ups receive a $2,500 American Legion scholarship each. 

American Legion Auxiliary Scholarships

The Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. It has about 1 million members and runs hundreds of volunteer programs. 

These programs serve its communities and veterans. The organization also raises money to support Legion and other charities familiar to Americans. Some of the ALA programs include:

ALA Girls State / Girls Nation. A hands on learning program for young women. Its mission is to grow leadership skills, foster confidence and an action based understanding of government. 

Americanism. These programs also aim to foster patriotism and respect for the nation’s flag. One of the things they do is fold pocket flags to send to our troops overseas.

Community Service. This is a major outreach program run by the ALA since 1926. It includes blood drives, first aid and CPR training, child safety and support for women’s shelters.

National Security. ALA members help military families during deployments. Activities include child care, lawn work and hosting send offs and welcome home events.

Spirit of Youth Scholarship Fund

This $5,000 award is available for five U.S. female high school seniors who are current members of the ALA. To qualify, you must have a GPA of 3.0 and be a member for at least 3 years. 

ALA Non-Traditional Student Scholarship

This $2,000 award is available for non traditional students who are ALA members. There are five recipients each year, one for each ALA region. To qualify, you must also be returning to college after an absence or attending college at a nontraditional age.

Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship

This $5,000 award goes to fifteen students each year. There are three recipients in each division. To qualify you must be a current U.S. high school student who has 50 hours or more of community service. You must also be the sons or daughters of veterans who served in the armed forces during the eligibility period. 

List of American Legion Scholarships

Eagle Scout of the Year Award

U.S. high school students who are 15 years or older and have been awarded the Eagle Scout Award are eligible for this award. Students must be a registered, active member of a Boy Scout Troop or related group.
Award Amount

Total:  $70000

Awards:  4


Deadline:  March 01

American Patriot Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. and international undergraduate students that have a parent or legal guardian who was a uniformed services member and died in active service. Students must attend an accredited college or university full-time during the following school year and be under the age of 24. If the applicant served in a uniformed service before completing college, his/her maximum age for eligibility will be increased by the number of years he/she served, for a maximum of five years.
Award Amount

Total:  $7000

Awards:  1


Deadline:  March 01

Samsung American Legion Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school juniors who are the child, grandchild, or legally recognized dependent of a U.S. military member who has served honorably during a time of war or conflict.
Award Amount

Total:  $20000

Awards:  1


Deadline:  March 01

American Legion Auxiliary Non-Traditional Student Scholarship

This scholarship is available for non-traditional students who are members of the American Legion Auxiliary. Applicants must be a non-traditional student who is returning to college after an extended absence or one who is beginning higher education for the first time at a non-traditional age. Learn more and apply today!
Award Amount

Total:  $10000

Awards:  5


Deadline:  March 01

ALA Junior Member Loyalty Scholarship

The American Legion Auxiliary offers the Junior Member Loyalty Scholarship to current college students. Ten scholarships, in the amount of $2,500 each, will be awarded to a current college student for 2020. Two scholarships will be awarded in each division of the American Legion Auxiliary. Apply today!
Award Amount

Total:  $250000

Awards:  10


Deadline:  March 01

Lemon Bay American Legion Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. undergraduate and/or graduate students who graduated from Lemon Bay High School in Englewood, Florida and are legal residents of the Englewood, Florida area. Students must have experience in community service and/or employment and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher.
Award Amount

Total:  $1850

Awards:  1


Deadline:  March 04

American Legion Trade School Scholarship

The Education and Scholarship Award program of The American Legion, Department of Illinois, awards (25) $1,000 scholarships. These scholarships are set up to assist students of American Legion members and Dependents of Veterans, who have the ability and desire to receive an education beyond high school in an institution.
Award Amount

Total:  $625000

Awards:  25


Deadline:  March 15

The Eight and Forty Lung and Respiratory Disease Nursing School Scholarship Fund

Students must have employment prospects in specific positions in hospitals, clinics or health departments upon completion of their education, and the position must have a full-time and direct relationship to pediatric lung and respiratory control. Aid offered: Scholarship awards are $5,000 each.
Award Amount

Total:  $125000

Awards:  5


Deadline:  March 15

American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship Program for Alabama

This scholarship is available for undergraduate Alabama students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and attend an eligible Alabama institution. Applicants must have a parent or grandparent who was/is a veteran of WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, the Beirut/Grenada Emergency, the Panama Emergency, or Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
Award Amount

Total:  $34000

Awards:  40


Deadline:  April 01

American Legion Oratorical Contest

American Legion is the nation’s largest Veterans agency. Central to its mission is to mentor youth, sponsor wholesome programs, advocate patriotism and promote national security. The American Legion Oratorical Contest is an academic speaking challenge. It teaches Many things. Like key leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. Over $188,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets a $20,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $17,000, and third gets $15,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.
Award Amount

Total:  $752000

Awards:  4


Deadline:  April 01