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Scholarship Opportunities for Surviving Family Members

Benefit overview

Surviving spouses and their children may be eligible for certain education benefits. If you or your children are interested in pursuing higher education, there are several scholarship options. Both private and federal programs provide financial assistance. Go to the sites for updated deadlines, information on eligibility and how to apply.

How this benefit helps

Nothing can take the place of your loved one in your heart, but pursuing your educational dreams is just one small way to honor their legacy. There are numerous resources available that connect you or your children to education benefits.

How to access this benefit

Scholarship opportunities from private organizations

  • Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. The goal of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is to ensure that no child of a deceased service member has to pay out of pocket or take out loans to pay for college.
  • Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship. The Fisher House Foundation established the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship for the children of service members who have died or become disabled through their active-duty service since Sept. 11, 2001.
  • American Legion Legacy Scholarship. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship is for children of military members who have died while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Scholarships for Military Children Program. The Defense Commissary Agency runs the Scholarships for Military Children Program, funded by the manufacturers and suppliers of commissary goods. The organization aims to award at least one scholarship each year for every commissary worldwide that receives qualified applications.
  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides or identifies funding for educational programs for children who have a parent who died serving in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy or Department of the Air Force special operations.
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, also known as TAPS, connects survivors of military deaths to available education benefits.

Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits

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If you’re a surviving military spouse, you are eligible for educational benefits for up to 20 years after the date of your spouse’s death. Your children are also eligible to use their educational benefits, but typically only if they are ages 18 to 26.

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Children or spouses of those who died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are potentially eligible to receive the Fry Scholarship, which can provide up to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level.

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Did your spouse transfer any months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits before their death? If unused months were transferred to your child, they can also benefit as long as they have attained a secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate) or are at least 18 years of age.

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Veterans and Fry Scholars who have or will soon exhaust their benefits and are currently enrolled in a STEM degree program or are seeking a teaching certification are eligible to receive the Rogers STEM scholarship. Family members who received a transferred entitlement are not eligible for additional educational assistance under the STEM Scholarship.

Service-specific scholarships and aid

Each military service and related organization offer financial assistance to family members in need, and many have scholarship options. Check out your particular branch of service for more information.

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