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Scholarships for Service: A Guide for Military Members and Veterans

Scholarships for Service: A Guide for Military Members and Veterans

Military members and veterans are privy to unique scholarship opportunities to help them pay for college and its associated expenses. Keep reading to learn more about scholarship opportunities you can apply for now.

For military members transitioning to civilian life, the pursuit of higher education presents a challenge. The G.I. Bill has long served as a reliable source of funding, however according to the National Veteran Education Success Tracker, a significant number of veterans still face financial barriers to completing their degree.

College scholarships are a crucial resource for veterans, active-duty military members, and their families to bridge the financial gap and achieve their academic dreams. Beyond covering tuition, scholarships can pay for books, housing, and other essentials that might not be fully covered by existing military and government financial aid. Keep reading to learn more about scholarships especially for members of the military, and what you need to do to apply.

50 Scholarships for Military Members and Veterans

Many organizations recognize the need for financing when it comes to education. The G.I. Bill doesn’t cover everything, so grants and scholarships help fill the gap. The list below is extensive, with 50 scholarships ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

  • General Military Scholarships

    American Legion Legacy Scholarship Application

    • Amount: Up to $20,000 for children of fallen soldiers; up to $5,000 for children of disabled vets
    • Description & eligibility: For current high school seniors and those accepted to accredited colleges. You must have a parent who was in the military (post 9/11) and has a disability rating of 50% or higher or a parent who died while serving on active duty. 
    • Deadline: April 1

    ASUS Scholarship

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Description & eligibility: American States Utility Services has a scholarship program for children of active full-time and honorably discharged military veterans. These scholarships go to current high school seniors, high school graduates, or undergraduate students studying in a variety of fields including environmental science and engineering; biology and chemistry; medical and mathematical sciences; business management; and technology. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Colonel Kathleen Swacina Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Description & eligibility: This scholarship honors Col. Kathleen Swacina, USA (Ret.). The award recognizes one female college student who has shown a dedication to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and is pursuing a full-time degree. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Council of College and Military Educators Veteran Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000 per year
    • Description & eligibility: The Council of College and Military Educators offers scholarships each year to active duty service members and veterans, their spouses, and their children. The funds go toward the completion of higher education degrees, certifications, and various licenses. 25 scholarships were awarded in 2023.
    • Deadline: October 15

    Fisher House Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship

    • Amount: Up to $5,000.
    • Description & eligibility: The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships program honors military members who have fallen in battle by providing their dependents with financing for their undergraduate degrees. Unmarried children (under the age of 23) of active-duty personnel, reserve members, retired service members, disabled service members, or survivors of service members who died while on active duty can apply. 
    • Deadline: February 14

    Fisher House Scholarships for Military Children

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Description & eligibility: This Fisher House scholarship helps the kids of active-duty military members and veterans finance their undergraduate degrees. The scholarship is available to unmarried military-dependent children under the age of 23. 
    • Deadline: February 14

    Military Child of the Year® Award

    • Amount: $10,000, a trip to Washington D.C., a laptop, and other gifts
    • Description & eligibility: This annual award recognizes military kids ages 13-18. There’s a recipient for each branch of the armed forces. Academics, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular involvement all are a factor.
    • Deadline: December 3

    Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Purple Heart Scholarship Program is for Purple Heart recipients, their spouses, children, and grandchildren. Applicants must be accepted or enrolled full-time in an accredited program and must have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    No Greater Sacrifice Scholarship

    • Amount: Not disclosed
    • Description & eligibility: No Greater Sacrifice is an organization dedicated to helping the children of fallen and wounded military members (post 9/11). The scholarships help descendants pay for higher education, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, or certificates from a trade school.
    • Deadline: Not listed; the next selection process begins in January 2024.

    Pat Tillman Scholars

    • Amount: Average of $10,000 per academic year
    • Description & eligibility: The Pat Tillman Foundation provides scholarships to active-duty military service members, veterans, and their spouses. Winners get access to a large mentor and peer network ready to help you further your education. 
    • Deadline: February 1

    Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: The program offers scholarships for active-duty service members and veterans looking to pursue post-secondary education or attend trade school.
    • Deadline: April 30 for the fall semester; November 15 for the spring semester

    Study.com Scholarship for Military Members & Veterans

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: Study.com offers a scholarship for current and former military members. You must be accepted to or enrolled at an accredited college, and you must have a minimum of 30 semester hours to complete. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Women’s Overseas Service League Scholarships

    • Amount: $500 to $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: These scholarships are for women currently in the military or other public service sectors who have completed at least 12 semester hours of higher education. You must have a minimum 2.5 grade point average to apply. 
    • Deadline: Postmarked by March 1
  • General Veterans Scholarships

    AMVETS Scholarships

    • Amount: $4,000 or $12,000
    • Description & eligibility: American Veterans provides one $4,000 scholarship and two $12,000 scholarships for active-duty military members and veterans pursuing a bachelor’s degree full-time. You must demonstrate financial need to qualify. 
    • Deadline: April 30

    Comcast NBCUniversal-SVA Scholarship

    • Amount: $12,000
    • Description & eligibility: Comcast NBCUniversal offers scholarships to two students each year who are veterans of any branch of the military. No matter what your major is, you can qualify as long as you have an interest in the entertainment industry. 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Google SVA Scholarship

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Description & eligibility: Google partners with the Student Veterans of America (SVA) to offer eight annual scholarships. Any student-veterans pursuing degrees in a computer science field may apply.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Leave No Veteran Behind Program

    • Amount: Varies based on need
    • Description & eligibility: The Leave No Veteran Behind program offers debt relief in the form of retroactive scholarships. Loan amounts are determined by how long you’ve been enrolled in the program (those waiting the longest are assessed first). Your current economic situation and the availability of funds also determine how much you may qualify for. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Paralyzed Veterans of America Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000 for part-time students; $2,500 for full-time students
    • Description & eligibility: Paralyzed Veterans of America offers scholarships to its members and their spouses and children who are enrolled in a part-time or full-time university program.
    • Deadline: Currently closed, but new applications open on March 1, 2024.

    Posse Veterans Program

    • Amount: Full-tuition scholarship
    • Description & eligibility: The Posse Veterans Program is unique, offering veterans interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees financing and a supportive environment. Those in the program attend college as part of a team (a Veterans Posse) and each student gets funding to cover the full cost of tuition. The universities that qualify are Case Western Reserve University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Virginia.
    • Deadline: Varies. You must be nominated in the spring or summer before your senior year.

    Yellow Ribbon Program

    • Amount: Varies based on student status and type of school
    • Description & eligibility: The Yellow Ribbon Program helps pay for undergraduate or graduate degrees. Apply if you served at least 36 months on active duty, received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, or you’re a spouse or child of someone that meets one of the qualifications above.
    • Deadline: May 15
  • Army Scholarships

    Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Scholarships

    • Amount: $1,000 to $12,000
    • Description & eligibility: The AAAA Scholarship Foundation provides merit-based scholarships to spouses, children, grandchildren, and even unmarried siblings of current and deceased AAAA members. 
    • Deadline: December 15

    Army Green to Gold Active Duty Scholarship

    • Amount: Full tuition and room and board
    • Description & eligibility: If you’re already enlisted in the Army and are looking to become a commissioned officer, apply to the Army Green to Gold program. You may qualify for a scholarship that covers full tuition and room and board plus offers a monthly stipend. Use the scholarship toward your first bachelor’s or graduate degree.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Army Nurse Corps Association offers scholarships to active duty and veteran U.S. Army members who are pursuing a nursing or nurse anesthesia degree. You may also be eligible if your parents, spouse, or child are currently serving in the U.S. Army. 
    • Deadline: New applications open in late 2023 or early 2024.

    Army Scholarship Foundation Scholarships

    • Amount: Usually $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Army Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit that awards scholarships to undergraduate students who are children or spouses of current and former U.S. Army members. To be eligible, you must meet income limits and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. 
    • Deadline: Postmarked by April 15

    Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000 for certificate or community college programs; $2,500 or $3,000 for undergraduate or graduate degree programs
    • Description & eligibility: The foundation offers education scholarships to current and former soldiers who are women, as well as to their direct descendants. This merit-based scholarship is awarded based on academic potential, financial need, and community service. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    George C. Morton Special Operations Association (SOA) Scholarship Award

    • Amount: $4,000 divided over two semesters
    • Description & eligibility: The George C. Morton Special Operations Association Scholarship honors Col. George Clyde Morton, an SOA member and donor to the scholarship program since it began in 1983. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of SOA members may apply. 
    • Deadline: April 15, 2024

    Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Fund

    • Amount: Varies based on the total number of applications, the approved scholarship budget, and other factors
    • Description & eligibility: The Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship offers need-based scholarships to children who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. With this scholarship, you can receive financial assistance for up to four years. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program

    • Amount: Varies based on number of applicants and approved scholarship budget 
    • Description & eligibility: The Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program is a need-based scholarship available to Army spouses pursuing an undergraduate degree or professional certification. To be eligible, you must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 and be an Army spouse. 
    • Deadline: Apply year-round.

    Society of Daughters of the United States Army Scholarship Program

    • Amount: $1,500, renewable
    • Description & eligibility: The Society of Daughters of the United States Army Scholarship is funded each year by the Society. To earn this scholarship, you must be the daughter, granddaughter, stepdaughter, or adopted daughter of a career commissioned or warrant officer in the Army. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024
  • Navy Scholarships

    Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

    • Amount: $2,000 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: If you’re a dependent child or spouse of an active-duty or retired Navy officer, you may qualify for one of two $5,000 scholarships or about 20 $2,000 scholarships, which are given out each year. 
    • Deadline: April 1, 2024

    Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

    • Amount: $1,500 to $4,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation awards multiple scholarships each year to members of the submarine force and their families. Scholars are chosen based on their academic excellence and their commitment to community service. 
    • Deadline: March 15

    Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation Scholarship

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: Apply if you’re a veteran, spouse, grandchild, or great-grandchild of a service member in the Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard.
    • Deadline: April 15

    Navy League Foundation Scholarships

    • Amount: $1,000, $2,500, $10,000, or $20,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Navy League Foundation gives multiple scholarships to high school seniors attending college in the fall. These scholarships are available to children and grandchildren of veterans or active-duty sea service members. Members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps qualify. 
    • Deadline: March 15, 2024

    Navy SEAL Foundation Scholarship

    • Amount: Not disclosed
    • Description & eligibility: The Navy SEAL Foundation offers scholarships to multiple recipients who are pursuing vocational degrees, certificates, licensure, and post-secondary degrees. Some graduate degrees count as well. Navy vets, their dependents and spouses can apply. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    NMCRS Education Assistance Program

    • Amount: $500 to $3,000
    • Description & eligibility: The NMCRS Education Assistance Program consists of scholarships and interest-free loans to help Navy and Marine Corps families pursue career and technical education degrees, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees. Financial need determines the amount provided.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    Wings Over America Scholarships

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Wings Over America Scholarship Foundation sponsors 50 scholarships each year to Navy dependents. Use these scholarships for tuition at trade schools, community colleges, or four-year undergraduate universities. 
    • Deadline: March 1
  • Air Force/Space Force Scholarships

    Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP)

    • Amount: Covers tuition, provides annual textbook allowance, and includes a monthly stipend
    • Description & eligibility: The ASCP offers enlisted Air Force members the ability to complete their bachelor’s degree while still acting as a cadet. Scholarships come in two- or four-year lengths.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    AFAS Merit Scholarships

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) awards merit-based scholarships to air crew members, guardians, and their children. To receive this scholarship, you must be an incoming college freshman who has completed the Arnold Education Grant application (though you don’t need to have received the grant).
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant

    • Amount: $500 to $2,000
    • Description & eligibility: The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant is a need-based grant offered to eligible Air Force and Space Force dependents. If selected, the amount you receive depends on your family income and the cost of your education. 
    • Deadline: 2024-2025 applications open in January 2024

    Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program (SLECP)

    • Amount: Up to $18,000 each year 
    • Description & eligibility: SLECP gives exemplary air crew members and guardians the opportunity to complete their degrees while on active duty. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to apply, but you must have completed at least 24 semester hours and plan to get a bachelor’s degree within three years.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    U.S. Air Force Healthcare Professionals Scholarships

    • Amount: Covers tuition, textbooks, small equipment, and supplies necessary for study.
    • Description & eligibility: For those looking to become healthcare professionals, the Air Force offers one- and two-year scholarships for specialties such as pharmacists, optometrists, clinical psychologists, and public health officers. They also offer two- and three-year scholarships for nursing degrees, as well as three- and four-year scholarships for medical corps and dental corps. These scholarships cover all tuition and other fees related to your studies. Recipients also receive a monthly stipend for living expenses. 
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024
  • Marine Scholarships

    1st Marine Division Association Scholarships

    • Amount: $2,500 per academic year
    • Description & eligibility: These scholarships help dependents of deceased, missing in action, or 100% permanently disabled veterans who served with the First Marine Division. Funds can be used to earn a bachelor’s degree.
    • Deadline: Not stated; applications open March 1 for the fall semester.

    Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

    • Amount: $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000 per academic year
    • Description & eligibility: The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships for children of Marine or Navy Corpsmen. Those seeking undergraduate degrees or technical certificates can use the money to put toward their applications. You must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 and have an adjusted gross income at or below $117,000 (for the 2024-2025 years).
    • Deadline: Application opens January 1.

    Marine Corps Tankers Association Scholarship Program

    • Amount: Varies
    • Description & eligibility: These scholarships are specifically designed for dependents of Marine Corps tankers. Applicants can be active duty or reserve Marine tankers. To apply, you must be a graduating high school senior or a full-time student with at least 12 units in an accredited junior college or four-year college. 
    • Deadline: Postmarked by March 15

    Marines’ Memorial Scholarship

    • Amount: $2,500 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: The Marines’ Memorial Tribute Scholarship is funded by donations from Marines’ Memorial members and supporters. It provides financing to help military personnel leaving full-time service enter an undergraduate or graduate program. 
    • Deadline: March 2024

    Women Marines Association (WMA) Scholarships

    • Amount: $500 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: For women who have served or are serving in the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve, these scholarships offer financing for accredited colleges, universities, or college-level trade schools. Spouses and direct descendants qualify as well. You must be a current WMA member.
    • Deadline: March 31
  • Coast Guard Scholarships

    Coast Guard Foundation Fallen Heroes Scholarship

    • Amount: Varies
    • Description & eligibility: The Fallen Heroes Scholarship, offered by the Coast Guard Foundation, was established in memory of Captain Frederick Statts and his wife Sara. Captain Statts graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1936 and served for 30 years. The scholarship goes to dependent children of Coast Guard members who lost their lives while serving. 
    • Deadline: Open all year

    Coast Guard Foundation Spouse Grant

    • Amount: $500
    • Description & eligibility: The Coast Guard Foundation’s spouse grants help spouses of Coast Guard members who are ranks E3 – E8 to pursue advanced degrees. This includes professional development courses, licensing courses, certifications, undergraduate degrees, and graduate-level degrees.
    • Deadline: December 1, 2023

    College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)

    • Amount: Tuition, books, and other fees are covered annually at your qualifying university. 
    • Description & eligibility: CSPI is a scholarship program specifically for college juniors and seniors who demonstrate both academic and leadership excellence paired with a desire to serve in the Coast Guard. Applicants must attend a federally designated Minority Serving Institution.
    • Deadline: TBD for 2024

    The Colona Scholarship

    • Amount: $4,000, dispersed in $1,000 increments over four years of undergraduate study
    • Description & eligibility: The Eleanor Colona Scholarship honors Lt. Colona and provides financing to dependent children of active, retired, or reserve members of the United States Coast Guard. 
    • Deadline: February 1

Increase Your Chances of Winning a Scholarship

While there are many scholarship options, there are just as many military members and their families looking to earn them. Your best chance is to stand out from the crowd, potentially earning yourself multiple scholarships. The steps below help you better your chances of getting the scholarships you need.

Apply for Multiple Scholarships

Many scholarship amounts are a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This hardly covers the full cost of any education, so you’ll want to apply for as many scholarships as you can to increase your chances of getting the right amount of financial assistance. Scholarships have different deadlines, so be sure to keep track of each deadline and the associated application requirements.

Do Your Research

Before applying for every scholarship on this list, take a moment to research the requirements and purpose of each scholarship. Consider the field you’re looking to enter, as there may be industry-specific scholarships (i.e. for nurses or doctors). Look for scholarships based on your branch (or family member’s branch) of the military, as not every scholarship applies to each branch. If you’re a veteran looking for scholarships, watch for veteran-specific scholarships that may be a better match. 

Tailor Your Application

Submitting the same generic answers for every application is a surefire way not to stand out. Each application has specific criteria you must meet, so explain why this grant or scholarship would work well for you and how you meet the requirements. Also include your academic achievements and extracurriculars to highlight why you’re an excellent student. You can even discuss personal and military experiences that set you apart from other applicants. 

Follow the Instructions

One of the easiest ways to get your application denied is to ignore the instructions. Pay attention to the guidelines and submit all required documents. Double-check yourself or ask someone else to do so to make sure you’ve followed the directions precisely. 

Write a Compelling Essay

When you apply for most of these scholarships, you must submit an essay along with any other required documentation showing that you or your family member is a veteran or military member. This is the place to say everything you want to the scholarship provider. Explain why you qualify and how the scholarship can help you get the education you need. Use personal anecdotes to illustrate your points and clearly demonstrate your financial need.

Showcase What Makes You Unique

Your military experience or your family’s military experience is already impressive, but it’s not unique among the pool of applicants. In your essay, highlight what you’re passionate about and why that makes you a unique applicant. Do you play an instrument? Do you love the idea of becoming an engineer? Explaining your career aspirations and hobbies makes your application stand out. 

Highlight Community Involvement

Scholarship providers look for well-rounded candidates among the thousands of submissions, so applicants who show a strong desire to give back to their community stand out from the crowd. Explain any volunteer work or community service you’ve done and provide references, if possible. This can be anything from volunteering at your local animal shelter to starting initiatives to end hunger and homelessness in your community. 

Source Solid Letters of Recommendation

Most scholarships require you to submit letters of recommendation. These recommendations speak to your character, unique abilities, and accomplishments. For each person you ask to submit a letter on your behalf, provide them with the details of the scholarship(s) you’re applying for. This makes it easier for them to craft a letter specific to those scholarship requirements. These letters should come from qualified sources such as military superiors, former professors or teachers, and employers. 

Proofread Before Submitting

Take the time to reread your entire application including your essay before submitting it. Grammatical errors don’t reflect well on your attention to detail, and they’re easy to fix. If you’re concerned about errors, ask someone else to review and edit your application.