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Scholarship Programs For Children Of Veterans

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Descendants of US military veterans and service members, including both their children and grandchildren, can be eligible for numerous scholarship opportunities that provide benefits for grandchildren of World War II veterans and can result in significant savings on college tuition fees. College scholarships for children of veterans can be combined with military tuition assistance, student discounts, and other types of financial aid to make higher education more affordable. 

Even if your family includes veterans or active-duty service members, earning your degree doesn't need to be expensive. We have information on college scholarships for children of veterans, spouses of military personnel, and other dependents of military personnel. Some of the resources available and the scholarships you may be eligible for might surprise you. 

Who Counts as a Military Dependent? 

The term "military dependent" is generally used by the US Army to refer to spouses and children of those serving in the military, except for adults age 21 or older. Families with parents, adult children, foster children, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews of service members may also qualify, depending on individual circumstances. 

The following college scholarships for children of veterans are available and can help you cut your college tuition and related expenses. 

Scholarships For Dependants Of Veterans

Most college scholarships for children of veterans are also sometimes available to their grandchildren. There are even organizations that provide scholarships or financial aid for siblings, stepchildren, and adopted children of veterans. Let's start by looking at some college scholarships for children of veterans. 

American Patriot Freedom Scholarship

Homefront America offers the American Patriot Freedom Scholarship to eligible dependent children and eligible students of military veterans, including those with service-connected injuries, to assist them in fulfilling their educational goals through various educational programs including undergraduate programs and potentially, graduate degrees.

The recipient of a scholarship award up to $1,000 can use the grant for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and room and board expenses. Once the student enrolls in the educational institution, the scholarship will be paid directly to the institution.

ASF Scholarships

You may be eligible for a scholarship from the Army Scholarship Foundation (ASF) if your parent is an active-duty member of the Army, including those in the Reserves. The scholarships are valued at between $500 and $2,000 each. 

These awards are intended to pay for tuition and fees at accredited educational or technical institutions. They may be renewed annually for up to four years (for students who have shown satisfactory academic performance).

Coast Guard Foundation Scholarship 

Children of active-duty, Reserve, or retired Coast Guard members are eligible for this scholarship provided by the Coast Guard Foundation. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. This scholarship is for children under 20 dependents of US Coast Guard personnel. Successful applicants can use this scholarship to enroll in either a technical school or an accredited college.

MCSF Scholarships

Over the past half-century, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) has built a prestigious reputation. More than 37,000 scholarships have been awarded; the average scholarship amounts to over $3,000. The MCSF offers college scholarships for children of veterans to support undergraduate and associate degree programs and certificate and vocational programs.

MCSF offers a variety of scholarships, including merit-based scholarships and need-based scholarships, to facilitate access to higher education in various forms including public university and private colleges. They extend their help to eligible children of veterans targeting not just undergraduate programs but also vocational and certificate endeavors, setting a strong foundation for achieving educational goals through substantial scholarship grants.

A minimum 2.0-grade point average, a plan to attend an accredited undergraduate college or technical school, and income requirements are the requirements for applying. Students involved with the Federal Service Academy or pursuing a second bachelor's degree are ineligible.

Wings Over America Scholarship 

The Wings Over America Scholarship is open to children and spouses of US Navy personnel. Candidates whose parents or spouses are currently on active duty, have died, were honorably discharged, or are now retired are included. Each year applicants receive the scholarship based on their academic achievement, extracurricular activities, work experience, community service, recommendations, and essays. The Wings Over America program includes community college and trade schools and traditional four-year colleges. Scholarship amounts differ, but they typically average $4,600.

Hope For The Warriors Scholarships 

Hope For The Warriors has been avidly offering scholarship assistance, which includes aiding deserving students seeking to accomplish their college degree through various educational opportunities. These scholarship grants cater to different educational goals, providing financial awards that significantly reduce the burden of student loans.

Since 2006, Hope For The Warriors has provided more than $412,000 in scholarships to over 140 families of post-9/11 veterans. Hope For The Warriors currently offers five scholarships:

  1. The Honorary Scholarship for post-grad and graduate students
  2. The New Beginnings scholarship for students pursuing an associate's degree 
  3. The Restoring Family Scholarship, which is only available for Gold Star Spouses 
  4. The Restoring Hope Scholarship for students pursuing a master's degree in social work
  5. The Restoring Self Scholarship for students pursuing a bachelor's degree in any field 

The AMVETS National Scholarship

The AMVETS National Scholarship helps high school students pay for undergraduate coursework by American Veterans (AMVETS), one of the nation's largest veteran organizations. Children and grandchildren of veterans or active-duty service members are eligible for the AMVETS scholarship if they are currently high school seniors and meet additional eligibility requirements. 

The minimum grade point average for admission is 3.0, and you must demonstrate academic and financial need. Candidates must submit an essay of 250-500 words, with a topic that changes each year. Additionally, students in high school who are in the JROTC program are eligible to apply for a $1,000 annual scholarship. Successful applicants will receive a scholarship amount of $4,000, with an application opening in January 2022 and a deadline of April 30, 2022.

The Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship

Auxiliary of the American Legion (ALA) offers the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during or after World War II (any time after December 7, 1941). You can use the scholarship money for tuition, books, fees, room, and board. The scholarship is worth $5,000. Apply for the scholarship online if you think you are eligible.

Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation has a rich list of scholarships available for eligible students, including those pursuing courses in accredited educational programs. Not just limited to college applicants, but also facilitating educational counseling to help students choose the right path, the foundation stands as a robust support system for college degree aspirants.

Students who have been a part of the US Navy Submarine Force and are currently enrolled in college and recent high school graduates can apply for scholarships from the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation.

The applicant must be under 24 years of age, unmarried, and enrolled in an accredited college during the year of application. An essay is required, in addition to academic proficiency, extracurricular activities, community service, and references.

Dolphin Scholarship Foundation awards might be available if you are a current or former member of the submarine force and a high school senior or college student. Students from accredited technical and vocational schools are eligible, but those from Military Service Academies are not.

Scholarship amounts range between $2,000 and $3,400. The deadline for applying to be considered is March 15, 2022. Applications open every October.

Tailhook Educational Foundation Scholarship

The Tailhook Educational Foundation facilitates educational counseling and offers scholarship assistance to eligible applicants, including children of veterans and active military personnel, aiming to foster a generation of well-educated individuals. Service requirements include being a child or grandchild of individuals associated with the US Navy in various capacities. The foundation ensures a generous scholarship fund that aids in alleviating the financial strains often associated with pursuing credit hours in esteemed institutions.

You must meet the following eligibility requirements to be eligible for the Tailhook Educational Foundation scholarship:

  • High school graduate and grandchild of an active or retired Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, or Air Crew member. Or,
  • The children and grandchildren of US Navy personnel who served on aircraft carriers. And,
  • Admission to an accredited college for undergraduate study.

The TEF application is available on December 15 every year, and it has to be returned by March 1 each year. TEF Scholarship application dates for that academic year are available on the TEF Web pages.

Each year, TEF awards more than a hundred scholarships, averaging more than $3,000 each, with a maximum grant of $15,000. The TEF awards several grants to students pursuing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs. The TEF program assists Naval Aviation academic legacy students in obtaining a higher education.

John Cornelius/Max English Memorial Scholarship

Children and grandchildren of active, Reserve, retired, or honorably discharged Marine Corps Tanker members and current MCTA members may apply for an award sponsored by the Marine Corps Tankers Association.

It would be best if you were a graduating senior from a high school or a full-time student in an accredited junior college or university with at least 12 units. Applicants should begin the application process as soon as possible as it is comprehensive. Applicants must submit an application form, write an essay, provide a transcript, two letters of recommendation, evidence of extracurricular activity, and describe the "need" for the scholarship.

Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program

Children of veterans may apply for the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship for based financial assistance to help them earn their first undergraduate degree. Scholarships may be awarded for four academic years, but candidates must meet eligibility criteria and reapply every year. This year's application period runs from January 1 through April 1, 2022.

The financial need determines the scholarship award. Undergraduate students under 23 and pursuing a four-year degree are eligible for the scholarship. A grade point average of 2.0 is required. Each scholarship award depends on several factors, including the number of applicants, total scholarships approved, the applicant's expected family contribution (from FAFSA), and the average cost of attending a college or university in the US (according to the College Board).

Women's Army Corps Veterans’ Association Scholarship

Children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews of women who served in the Army may apply for the Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association Scholarship. Scholars are selected based on academic success and leadership demonstrated through co-curricular activities and community involvement. A $1,500 scholarship will be awarded each year, and recipients will be notified by mail or email. They will forward the check to the accepted institution.

Students must have a 3.5 GPA or higher and plan to attend an accredited college or university full-time to qualify for the scholarship. Academic achievement, leadership qualities, recommendations, and a biographical sketch are all considered in making selections. Applications must be submitted by February 2 each year.

Paralyzed Veterans of America Educational Scholarship Program

Unmarried applicants and dependents of a Paralyzed Veterans of America member may apply for the scholarship. Scholarship winners may apply again, but they're limited to two awards in their lifetime. Part-time or full-time students are eligible to apply. Part-time students will receive $1,000, while full-time students will receive $2,500.

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • PVA members, their spouses, or an unmarried child under 24 who is financially dependent on the member (as defined by the IRS) can apply.
  • Citizens of the United States.
  • Admission to a US college or university and enrollment as a full-time or part-time student.

General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant

A major component of the AFAS education support system is the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant. The Arnold Education Grant application process paves the way for other key opportunities for education support at the Society.

In addition to its competitive selection criteria, the Hap Arnold Grant is specially designed to properly balance the appropriate weighting of family income and educational costs. Dependent children of active duty, title 10 reservists on extended active duty, title 32 guards on full-time active duty, retirees and retired Reserves, and deceased members of the Air Force can apply for the grant.

Each year, dependents of Air Force and Space Force members are awarded grants that range in value from $500 to $4,000. Each student is awarded according to their level of financial need.

NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship

Under the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Education Program, students may apply for grants and interest-free loans to pursue undergraduate or master's degrees in the US at an accredited two- or four-year post-secondary, technical, or vocational institution. These financial assistance opportunities are available to children and spouses of active duty, retired and deceased Sailors and Marines, and those enrolled in the MECEP or MECP programs.

Students who are a child of a deceased sailor or marine are eligible for the Gold Star Scholarship Program, which covers $500 to $2,500 in education expenses per year. Renewals for four academic years may be applied for by applicants who demonstrate financial need.

This scholarship is open to applicants who are:

  • Child (under 23 years of age on September 30, 2022) of a Sailor or Marine who is on active duty, retired, or deceased
  • Married to a retired or active duty Sailor or Marine
  • Students enrolled in MECEP/MECP
  • DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System) registration is required
  • Enrolled full-time for the entire academic year (Aug-May) at the same institution and pursued their undergraduate or master's degree at a post-secondary, technical, or vocational institution in the US accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting body by the US Secretary of Education.
  • A participant in the Title IV Financial Aid Program of the United States Department of Education
  • Using the FAFSA SAR form, demonstrate your financial need

Fisher House Scholarship for Military Children

The Military Commissary Association created scholarships for Military Children to honor the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and the commissary's role in the community of military families.

The scholarship program will award 500 grants of $2,000 each for use at four-year undergraduate public colleges and universities or two-year community colleges. Scholarships valued at $16.7 million have been given to more than 10,000 students through the program over the past 17 years. 

At every commissary that receives qualified applications, the program will select at least one recipient. Additional recipients will be selected on a prorated basis, so more applications will be selected from those commissaries with a larger number of applicants.

ThanksUSA Scholarship

ThanksUSA offers $3,000 annual scholarships to children of full-time military personnel or retired or discharged personnel who served at least 180 days after September 11, 2001. Since 2006, ThanksUSA has awarded ​5,000 scholarships ​valued at more than $16 million to recipients from all 50 states and representing every military branch. ThanksUSA provides scholarships of $3,000 for spouses and college-aged children of service members and veterans.

The scholarships cover two- and four-year colleges but not certificate programs or postgraduate work. You must be 24 or under, a full-time college student, or a high school senior, and maintain a 2.0 on a 4.0-grade point average scale in your most recent term.

Veterans Affairs Dependent Assistance

Dependents of veterans who were permanently disabled or died in the line of duty are eligible for up to 45 months of education benefits or up to 81 months if they use the scholarship in conjunction with other programs. The scholarship is also available to children of deceased veterans who contracted a condition in the military or soldiers detained by foreign governments. Applicants generally must be between 18 and 26 years old, although the program can make exceptions. You can't receive the benefit if you serve in the military. Download a form at the Veterans Affairs website to apply.

American Patriot Scholarship

Children of active duty, Reserve, or National Guard military members or their families are eligible for the American Patriot Scholarship. Fundraising each year determines how much and how many grants are awarded to students. As a result of the generosity of their donors, over 45 students whose parents died while serving in the military or were severely injured will receive $5,000 grants for the 2022-2023 school year. The American Patriot Scholarship is available to students at accredited 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities, but the award must be at least $2,500.

For the scholarship to be applied for, you must be 24 or under. The scholarship is based on grades, extracurricular activities, financial necessity, and extracurricular activities. Applications must be submitted by March 1.

American Patriot Freedom Scholarship

Children of veterans are eligible for a $1,000 annual scholarship from Homefront America. Since the scholarship's inception in 2006, the organization has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships. Scholarships can be used to study at four-year colleges, vocational schools, or certificate programs. 

The American Patriot Freedom Scholarship program enables dependents of military personnel to achieve academic success by assisting with post-secondary education. Students are restricted from using their scholarship awards for tuition, fees, books, supplies, or room and board. The scholarship funds are disbursed directly to the educational institution after enrollment verification.  

Additional Resources

For disabled veterans or those who have faced permanent disability during their military service, including active-duty personnel and army reserve, there are additional scholarships dedicated to helping their children achieve their educational dreams. These scholarship programs also extend to offering support for those pursuing graduate degrees.

Pell grants and federal grants are also avenues worth exploring for eligible students seeking financial aid to attain their educational goals. Special scholarship funds are established to facilitate education counseling and provide scholarship to students showcasing exceptional merit in their academic endeavors.

Further, private scholarships are also at the disposal of eligible children, offering a vast array of options to secure financial aid for pursuing higher education. Be it active service members or those with an honorable discharge, their dependents have a wealth of resources to tap into to achieve their educational dreams.

To discover more scholarship opportunities including merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, and a comprehensive list of scholarships, visit our comprehensive guide. It's essential to explore every avenue, including private colleges, public university programs, and unique scholarship funds dedicated to supporting the educational endeavors of the brave servicemen and women's families.

While exploring scholarship opportunities for children of veterans, consider the exclusive benefits available to the grandchildren of World War II heroes. Visit our blog post to uncover scholarships tailored for grandchildren of World War II veterans and foster a legacy of education.

If one of your parents are disabled, there is a scholarship for students with disabled parents. Some educational grants come with the added bonus of providing students with a free laptop, enabling them to thrive in their studies without technological barriers. Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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