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Higher Education for Your Children


Military OneSource stands by your side with information and resources so you can support your child’s education. Military families have several options when it comes to financing your youth’s college or trade school education, including scholarships, Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits, education grants, loans and college savings programs. Your children’s goals are as important as your own, and Military OneSource has your back as you plan for this milestone. Here are several ways to make college or trade school education possible for your youth.

Financing higher education

Regardless of your child’s age, start saving now. It may seem daunting, but there are plenty of ways to put some money away now that will pay dividends to your child’s college education down the line. Many savings plans are available, including 529 Plans, which allow your savings to grow tax-free. The Office of Financial Readiness is also available to help with your financial planning. Talk to a personal financial counselor at your installation. You can also arrange to speak with an education consultant or financial counselor through Military OneSource.



Grant applications

A Better FAFSA® Form

Visit the Federal Student Aid website to see important updates that expand aid eligibility for Pell Grants and streamline the FAFSA® application process.

In addition to scholarships, there are education grants which families don’t have to repay, such as Federal Pell Grants and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program.

To begin the grant process, start with the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Most colleges and universities use this form to determine students’ eligibilities for aid, grants and scholarships.


Scholarships for military children

Military families have access to a number of scholarship options to help offset some of the out-of-pocket college expenses. While two scholarships are designed specifically for military-connected teens from any service branch — Scholarships for Military Children Program and the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship — there are dozens of additional scholarships available to military teens through service-specific departments and other military-affiliated organizations such as Operation Homefront, National Military Family Association, Knights of Columbus and branch aid organizations like Air Force Aid Society and Army Emergency Relief.

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Installation School Liaisons

Contact your installation school liaison to explore the numerous scholarship opportunities available to assist military children with tuition costs, books, lab fees and other college-related expenses. School liaisons can direct military-connected youth to dozens of scholarship opportunities, in your community and beyond.

Education loans

If you’re taking out a loan, be sure to read the fine print. Colleges, universities and trade schools will offer a host of financial aid packages, so research each carefully to make sure you’re signing up for the right one. You also have the option to borrow directly from the government. Create a personal financial aid spreadsheet to compare which loans and aid your student qualifies for.

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Military OneSource education consultant

A Military OneSource education consultant can help answer your student loan questions and more.

Alternatives to traditional degree programs

Your student may decide a different career path might be a better fit than pursuing a traditional college degree. Many opportunities exist for additional learning and career growth, including:

  • Internships and apprenticeships
  • Trade and vocational schools
  • Adult education and job training programs
  • Comprehensive postsecondary transition programs, or CPTs

Students with special needs

Most colleges, universities and trade schools now offer in-person and distance learning options that allow for equal access to learning for students with disabilities. To find the right fit for your student seeking traditional learning, begin the search early for higher education. Visit the school virtually or in person, talk to the disability service offices on prospective campuses and reach out to current students with similar disabilities to better understand their learning and living experiences.

PACER Center, with its Transitioning to Life After High School content, provides invaluable resources for families with exceptional family members. Families can also explore vocational rehabilitation programs.

If your teen has an individualized education program, or IEP, a transition plan will be discussed before your child turns 16. This planning helps prepare your youth for postsecondary education. Your teen may also be eligible to receive additional educational support and assistance through age 21. While an IEP doesn’t extend to higher education institutions, students with 504 plans can take those plans with them to college. Contact the school’s disability services office to find out what steps need to be taken to obtain accommodations. Some colleges have better programs and services for students who have greater needs for accommodation than others.

Families with exceptional family members can explore postsecondary education with the help of their installation’s Exceptional Family Member Program.

Families with exceptional family members can find links to their state’s transition resources in the Education Directory for Children with Special Needs.

Military OneSource offers special needs consultants, available 24/7, to answer your questions. Call 800-342-9647 to set up a live chat to schedule an appointment to talk with a special needs consultant. Read more about how special needs consultants can help you.

School liaisons

Whatever your education goals or challenges may be, your local school liaison can help. School liaisons are located at each installation and are your go-to resource for all things education. They serve parents, educators and military-connected children in grades pre-K through 12. School liaisons offer a wide variety of college, career and military readiness services including:

  • Standardized test preparation and scheduling assistance
  • Scholarship and financial aid information
  • Postsecondary, college and vocational fairs

School liaisons also host workshops to help parents with smooth school transitions, to include college preparation and planning for their children. They can also connect you to the Exceptional Family Member Program and your school’s special education department, as well as provide information about your new school district’s special education program.

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Find your local school liaison

Visit the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website to find your installation School Liaison Program office contact information.

Resources, benefits and support services for Higher Education for Your Children

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