Active personnel and veterans in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard, or Coast Guard can get free money towards college tuition fees. Military scholarships can make getting a college degree more affordable.
If you’re serving or have served in the armed forces, scholarships open tremendous learning opportunities for you. Military scholarships are also available for spouses and children of active military service members, veterans, and those honorably discharged.
There are many reasons why finding the best military scholarships makes sense. You may be making the change to civilian life — in which case, a college degree will help launch a satisfying career.
Or you may want to move up the ranks in the military, and earning a degree will increase your promotion chances. A military scholarship may help you bridge the financial gap between income and tuition fees so you can afford college.
How can you find a scholarship if you’re an active service member or ex-military? Suppose your parent or spouse is an honorably charged veteran or is currently serving. What scholarships are out there to help fund your education? This article lists some of the top ten military scholarships available.
What are Military Scholarships?
A military scholarship is financial aid for people associated with the military to further education at a college or university. And unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay the money back. The grant is free money for active serving personnel, veterans, and their family members. Scholarships for military personnel can be awarded based on merit, need, or other criteria.
According to a report by the American Council on Education, most military-connected students receive some kind of financial aid. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) says that military undergraduates receive an average of $8,000 in financial assistance.
10 Military Scholarships for service members and their families
Military scholarships provide financial assistance for active service members, veterans, and their spouses and dependents. In most cases, it’s necessary to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for a scholarship.
Related reading: How to avoid costly FAFSA mistakes.
Here is a list of the top ten military scholarships you can apply for if you are serving or have served in the military.
1. Air Force ROTC Scholarships
The Air Force ROTC Scholarship offers to cover tuition fees and provides monthly stipends from $300 to $500. In some cases, the scholarship covers all related education expenses. The free college money is for students wanting to further their careers in the Air Force.
2. Army ROTC Scholarships
Similar to Air Force scholarships, Army ROTC Scholarships are for anyone who wants a career in the Army. Entry requirements include a minimum high school GPA of 2.50, meeting physical standards, and a commitment to serve in the Army for at least eight years. Army ROTC scholarships can be worth up to $57,000.
3. HotelPlanner Scholarship for Military Veterans
The HotelPlanner scholarship is to assist veterans, their spouses, and dependents get a technology degree. You can apply for the scholarship twice a year, and it is worth $1,000. Along with your application, you need to write a scholarship essay and show financial need.
4. Google SVA (Student Veterans of America) Scholarship
Google offers scholarships for veterans to earn a college degree. To apply, you should have served or be currently serving in the military. Members of the National Guard or Reserve can also apply. There are eight annual scholarships up for grabs, and each is worth $10,000. To be eligible, you must be currently in a degree program related to computer engineering or computer science.
5. Pat Tillman Scholars Program
This military scholarship for active-duty personnel, veterans, their spouses, and dependents. The Pat Tillman scholarship program helps finance college degree education in fields such as medicine, law, technology, education, and business. The scholarship covers costs relating to tuition fees, course material, and living expenses. The average award is $10,000.
6. NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship for Navy and Marine Dependents and Spouse
The NMCRS Gold Star scholarship is for Spouses and dependents of Navy and Marine personnel killed in active duty. Money is awarded based on financial need and academic merit. Grants range from $500 to $3,000 per academic year and can pay for tuition, accommodation, and books.
7. Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty Scholarship (MGIB-AD)
If you have served in the military for at least two years, you could apply for the MGIB-AD scholarship. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs sponsors this scholarship. The financial aid is for various degree and certificate programs. The scholarship amount varies depending on the cost of education, length of active duty, and financial need.
8. Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
Another VA scholarship is available to military service personnel who paid into the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program. Your contributions are matched on a $2 for $1 basis by the government. You can use the extra funding to pay for college degrees and certificate programs. However, you can also use the scholarship for apprenticeships, entrepreneurship training, vocational programs, and refresher training.
9. American Legion Scholarship for Children of Veterans
The American Legion provides several scholarships to help children of veterans killed in action. The types of scholarships and the amount varies, depending on the degree course and financial need. Thanks to financial aid, veterans’ families can avoid the financial burden of taking out large student loans.
10. Army Nurse Corps Scholarship
The Army Nurse Corps scholarship program helps fund education to get a career in nursing. To be eligible for the scholarship award, you must be in the Army, an Army veteran, have a parent or spouse in the Army, or be wanting to join the Army. You should be in an accredited bachelor’s or graduate nursing program or in an anesthesia program to qualify. Anyone receiving an Army ROTC scholarship can’t apply for this.
Related reading: What you should do after applying for a scholarship.
Military Scholarships: A Takeaway
There are many military scholarships you can apply for to fund your higher education and get a fulfilling career. Scholarships for active-duty military personnel, veterans, as well as their spouses and dependents can make going to college affordable. With scholarships and grants, you can also reduce any student loan burden.