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Financial Aid & Scholarships for Military Personnel

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Serving our country is an admiral, worthwhile profession. Besides serving our country, however, many military personnel often look to further their education. Whether they are completing a program, seeking an associate’s degree, or higher, financial aid and scholarships are available to them. Many educational institutions as well as national organizations, and government agencies offer scholarships to military personnel to help defray the costs of a higher education. In addition to scholarships, there are several financial aid options specifically designed for military personnel and their dependents.

Financial Aid Options for Military Personnel

There are many financial aid options and scholarships available to military personnel, including federal programs, as well as scholarship opportunities offered by institutions and organizations. Here are examples of each:

Federal Programs

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers several education benefits for military personnel.

  • Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)—this program offers up to 36 months worth of education benefits to personnel from the National Guard, Selected Reserves, and the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) called to active service because of a national emergency or a war.
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)—this program is offered to veterans who once paid into VEAP while on active duty. This program can be used for apprenticeships, flight training, degree programs, certificate programs, and some courses.
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)—this program is designed for dependents of veterans who are currently disabled or have died in the line of duty. Available for degree programs, on-the-job training, and certificate programs.
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill—this award pays military personnel their tuition fees, a monthly housing allowance, an annual $1,000 stipend for books and educational supplies, as well as a rural benefit one-time payment for those who qualify.
  • The Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty—also known as “Chapter 30,” this program can be used for flight training, degree and certificate programs, correspondence classes, and on-the-job training. There is a $600 buy-up option offered with this program.
  • The Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve—this programs is only available to Selected Reserve in the Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Navy, Army National Guard, Coast Guard, and Air National Guard. This education benefit can be used for correspondence courses, degree and certificate programs, on-the-job training, and flight training.

National Scholarships

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) offers several scholarships for military personnel.

  • LTG Douglas D. Buchholz Memorial Scholarship—awards $2,000 annually to an enlisted soldier assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia. An essay is required for this award.
  • Intelligence Scholarships—awards four scholarships; two for undergraduate students in the amount of $2,250 each; and, two for graduate students in the amount of $5,000 each. Distance learning students are eligible for this award.
  • CSC Defense Graduate Scholarship—awards two $3,000 scholarships to qualifying graduate students enrolled in an accredited program either on campus, through distance learning, or through an online program. Applicants must be pursuing an advanced degree related to computers, electronics, communications, or engineering.
  • Disabled War Veterans Scholarship—awards $2,500 to military personnel who are currently in active-duty service, are reservists, have received an honorable discharge, or are wounded National Guard employees.

College Scholarships

Florida International University offers a special scholarship to military personnel admitted into the university’s Corporate Master of Business Administration program and pursuing a degree online. The award amount is $20,000.

The University of Idaho offers the Operation Education Scholarship which is dedicated to military personnel who have taken an honorable discharge from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, National Guard, or Reserves. Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student at the university. Preference is given to Idaho residents. Veterans’ spouses are also eligible.

Key Points about Financial Aid & Scholarships for Military Personnel

  • With so many financial aid options available to military personnel, it is important to start your search early. Keep track of all deadlines and requirements to make sure all materials are submitted on time.
  • Check with the college or university you are planning to attend for financial aid options whether they are federal programs, or institutional scholarships and awards.
  • Many universities and colleges also offer Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, and In-College Scholarship Programs designed for students interested in becoming a Reserve for all military groups, such as Army, Navy, Air Force, and earning a degree simultaneously.
  • Use the Internet to seek national scholarships and awards specifically designed for military personnel.

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