Posted on January 23, 2017 in Career Grants
If you're a member of the U.S. military, you and members of your immediate family may be eligible for grants and scholarships in many fields, particularly those essential to military service. Active, retired and reservist members of the military in all branches are eligible for grants and benefits, many of which can be used for vocational, as well as academic, education. Military grants help Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine and ROTC personnel pursue a college degree while serving in the military (or after they've retired.)
Spouses and children of military service members and veterans are eligible for many educational grants and scholarships for colleges, universities, and technical schools. These grants may be offered by the branch of the military in which the member served, by the Veteran's Administration, or by a private organization.
Grants and scholarships, unlike educational loans from the government, don't have to be paid back. Need-based grants and merit-based scholarships are available in all branches of the military, and some scholarships for military service members are available from private organizations.
General Military Grants
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are available to military service members who can't receive a Pell Grant due to the amount of their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The maximum Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant equals the maximum Pell Grant. Your EFC and ability to apply for need-based financial aid won't be affected if you receive this grant.
The Montgomery G.I. Bill offers education for active Armed Forces members entitled to receive benefits after they've completed a minimum amount of service. Monies can be used for a college degree and certificate programs, but also apply to flight training and technical or vocational courses.
Veteran's Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) is for military personnel who contribute to the program from their military pay. The government matches your contribution two to one. To apply for the VEAP program, you must:
- Voluntarily contribute from $25 to $2,700
- Entered military service between Jan. 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985
- Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987
- Completed first period of service and were released or discharged under any condition except dishonorable
You must have at least three months of contributions available if you're on active duty and want to apply for VEAP benefits.
College Grants for Navy Personnel and Their Families
The Navy College Fund Program is offered to qualified high school graduates between ages 17-35 on active duty. Applicants must have an AFQT score of at least 50 and agree to continue active duty for three more years. The Navy College Fund permits an increase in the basic MGIB allowance for service people who have a certain specialty or skill set.
Grants for Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The spouses and children of veterans who died or were totally disabled in the line of duty are eligible. Benefits may be used to pursue bachelor's, graduate, or associates degrees, or obtain training from technical, business or vocational schools.
Army ROTC Grants
Army ROTC education grants include scholarships for high school students who plan to attend a four-year college. You'll need to meet academic and physical standards and commit to serving in the Army or Army Reserve for a specified amount of time.
Undergraduate college students who are considering the ROTC can choose from two, three or four-year scholarship options with a commitment to serving in the Army for four years.
College Grants for Air Force Personnel and Their Families
The Col Loren J. and Mrs. Lawona R. Spencer Scholarship provides funds to Air Force enlisted members or officers, full-time National Guard, full-time Reserve or Air Force, civilian members for graduate school studies.
The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program from the Air Force Aid Society is based on financial need and dedicated to children and spouses of active, retired or deceased Air Force personnel. Applicants are full-time undergraduate students at a college, university or trade school.
Coast Guard Grants
The Coast Guard offers grants for active and retired members and their families. The Coast Guard Foundation, the Coast Guard Scholarship Fund, and the RADM Arnold I. Sobel Scholarship provide financial aid to enlisted and retired personnel and their children. The Fallen Heroes Scholarship offers educational aid for children of Coast Guard members who died in the line of duty.
Marine Corps Education Grants
The Marine Corps offer tuition assistance, the Marine Corps College Fund and a College Degree fund (available for two and four-year programs). Their advanced degree program (ADP) lets individual officers spend up to 18 months off-duty to attend full-time graduate school.
The Pat Tillman Scholarship Foundation is named in memory of Pat Tillman, who left the NFL to serve his country after the 9/11 attacks and died under friendly fire. Veteran and active military personnel, current spouses of military service members, and military veterans or spouses who attend college full-time are eligible to apply.
The Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges
Created to help military service personnel who experienced trouble completing college degrees due to frequent moves, the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) connects service members with institutions that make it easier for them to transfer college credits and earn a degree.
The SOC works with several state colleges offering associate and bachelor's degrees in fields including criminal justice, business administration, computer studies, psychology, and management. While this isn't a grant, per see, it does make it easier for qualified service members to earn associates or bachelor's degrees in subjects relevant the military.
Imagine America Foundation Grants for Military Personnel
The Imagine America program, established in 2004, is open to military personnel, but not their families, and offers grants for tuition to career colleges in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Applicants can be an active servicemember, reservist, honorably discharged or retired, and must show financial need.
The grants and scholarships listed here offer a sampling of the funds waiting for qualified service members and their families. Visit the websites for the military branch you belong to (or are interested in) to learn more.