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Scholarship Opportunities for Surviving Family Members

One way of taking the first step toward your new normal is by following your educational dreams. If you or your children are interested in pursuing higher education, there are several scholarship options. Both private and federal programs provide financial assistance.

Be aware of the application deadlines. Check out the listed deadlines below. Go to the sites for updated deadlines, information on eligibility and how to apply.

Scholarship opportunities from private organizations

National Resource Directory

The NRD provides surviving family members, service members, veterans, and their family members, and caregivers with recovery and rehabilitation resources, including education and training.

  • 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.
  • 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. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 17, 2022, at 11:59 PST.
  • The American Legion Legacy Scholarship is for children of military members who have died while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. Applications are being accepted through April 1, 2022.
  • 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. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 17, 2022, at 11:59 PST.
  • 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.
  • The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, also known as TAPS, connects survivors of military deaths to available education benefits.

The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs both have links to more scholarships specifically for military children.

Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits

  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. 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.
  • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship. 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.
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Did your spouse transfer any months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits before their death? If so, you can take advantage of this benefit after your loved one’s 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.
  • Rogers STEM Scholarship. 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.

Your loved one served bravely and, while nothing can take their place in your heart, pursuing your educational dreams is just one small way to honor their legacy.

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.