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College Scholarships for Military Teens and How to Apply

Preparing for your child’s college education can be both exciting and financially challenging. Military families have access to a number of scholarship options to help offset some of the out-of-pocket college expenses. Two scholarships, in particular, are designed specifically for military teens. The Fisher House Foundation administers the Scholarships for Military Children Program and the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship. These two opportunities for military children assist with tuition costs, books, lab fees and other college-related expenses.

Scholarships for Military Children Program

The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created to recognize military families’ contributions to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the commissary’s role in the military family community. When you think of your local commissary, you might not think about an extra $2,000 for college expenses, but commissaries have awarded more than $27 million in scholarships to more than 15,000 military children.

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At least one $2,000 scholarship is awarded at every commissary location that receives qualified applications. Applicants or sponsors do not need to live at an installation with a commissary. Simply select the commissary where you shop or the one nearest to you. Approximately 500 scholarship grants are awarded each school year, and more than one scholarship per commissary may be available based on the response and funding. The scholarship provides for payment of tuition, books, lab fees and other college-related expenses.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be under age 23
  • Be a dependent, unmarried child of active-duty personnel, reserve component member, National Guard and retired military member, survivor of a service member who died while on active duty or survivor of an individual who died while receiving retired pay from the military
  • Ensure that they and their sponsor are currently enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database
  • Have a current dependent military ID card and have parent(s) serving in or retired from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force or Coast Guard
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university in the fall term (Students attending a community or junior college must be enrolled in a program of studies that allows them to transfer directly into a four-year program.)
  • Have a minimum cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (high school applicants)
  • Have a minimum cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (college applicants)
  • College freshmen must also submit a first-semester college transcript

Students can complete scholarship applications online. Applications become available in mid-December for the following school year. Detailed information and due dates can be found in FAQs on the Fisher House website.

How recipients are selected. Scholarship Managers, an independent, professional scholarship service, selects the recipients based on the following criteria:

  • Academic achievement
  • Participation in school and community activities
  • Work experience
  • A submitted essay

Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships

The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship honors those who fell in battle and all who died or became disabled through their active military service since Sept. 11, 2001. Over 1.8 million in scholarships have been awarded in the first five years of the program.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a child with one parent who died while serving on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, in any branch or component of the U. S. Armed Forces, or
  • Be a child with one parent who became disabled while serving on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001 (which means the parent qualified to receive traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance), or be a child with one parent who was on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and received a permanent and total compensation rating of 100 percent from the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Be under age 23
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll full time in the fall term in an accredited U.S. college, university, or junior or community college
  • Be a dependent, unmarried child of active-duty personnel, reserve component member, the National Guard or retired military member
  • Have a minimum cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (high school applicants)
  • Have a minimum cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (college applicants)
  • College freshmen should submit a transcript for the qualifying semester they have completed

Completed application materials include:

  • Online application, including completion of all tabs
  • A transcript or copy of grades
  • Verification of dates of sponsor’s service (DD Form 1300 or DD Form 214)
  • Verification of death, eligibility to receive Traumatic Service Members Group Life Insurance or disability of sponsor

Students can complete their scholarship applications online. Applications become available in mid-December for the following year. Detailed information and due dates can be found in FAQs on the Fisher House website.

Recipient selection. Scholarship Managers select the recipients based on the following criteria:

  • Academic achievement
  • Participation in school, community and volunteer activities
  • Work experience
  • A submitted essay

Students may apply to both the Scholarships for Military Children Program and Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships as long as they meet the criteria for both.

Find additional scholarships for military-connected students

Military families have access to a number of scholarship options to help offset some of the out-of-pocket college expenses. While the Scholarships for Military Children Program and the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship are available to military-connected teens from any service branch, there are dozens of additional scholarships available through service-specific departments and other military-affiliated organizations such as American Legion, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Military Youth of the Year, ThanksUSA Scholarship Program, DECA scholarships for emerging leaders, and branch aid organizations like Air Force Aid Society and Army Emergency Relief. You can also:

  • Use the scholarship search tool available on the Fisher House website to customize your scholarship search by military branch affiliation, education goals and more.
  • Contact your local school liaison to explore the numerous scholarship opportunities available to assist military children with tuition costs, books, lab fees and other college-related expenses.
  • Search “scholarship” on your service-specific benefits page for additional scholarship opportunities.

Get assistance with locating financial resources

Learn more about financing your child’s college education. The costs of postsecondary schooling and college tuition will continue to rise, so be sure to take advantage of the financial awards available to military families, such as the transferability of GI Bill benefits.

Your local school liaison can help with overall college, career and military readiness — including standardized test preparation, test scheduling, and scholarships and financial aid information. School liaisons also offer parent workshops aimed at providing support and resources to help parents assist their teens in preparing for college and careers. Contact your local School Liaison Program office for more information.

Still have questions? Visit Military OneSource and schedule a no-cost, confidential education consultation to learn more about scholarship opportunities and the financial assistance available to military children. Our consultants are available 24/7/365. Call 800-342-9647, set up a live chat or view overseas calling options.

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