There are many resources available to our military community to assist them on their journey to pursuing a degree or following the higher education path. It’s important that schools are aware of the federal, government, VSO, and private sector funding opportunities available that go beyond some of the more well-known military student funding resources such as the GI Bill, especially for military spouses and dependents.
While the GI Bill is a very important resource it’s always good practice to make sure that your institution is aware of what other funding sources are available for those who may have exhausted their benefits. There are some programs and benefits that are specific and unique to each branch of service or member of the community, so it’s important to take a deep dive and get to know the Military affiliated students who are exploring the opportunity with your institution. A simple GPS Plan, or Getting Prepared to Start plan, can be a great way to take a deeper dive into your student’s background as well as equipping that student with the information and tools that lead to a successful onboarding experience.
We will go into more detail on the GPS subject and review best practices for implementing these programs in another resource for you. So now, let’s take some time to review some of the funding sources your institution should be aware of.
GI Bill: Military Student Funding
A long-standing benefit that offers education funding for those who serve in the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The program has two chapters: Montgomery G.I. Active Duty and Montgomery G.I. Selected Reserve.
AER (Army Emergency Relief) Education Scholarships
The Army Emergency Relief Fund offers two scholarships to the prior service community. Often they will offer additional scholarships depending on their resources. So make sure that you keep an eye out for changes and updates on their offerings. Here are the current opportunities:
- Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program:
A need-based scholarship program established to assist Army Spouses in obtaining an undergraduate degree or similar professional certification. Applicants may receive assistance for up to four academic years of full-time study or eight academic years of part-time study.
- MG James Ursano Scholarship Program for Children:
A need-based scholarship program established to assist children of Army Soldiers in obtaining their first undergraduate degree. Applicants must reapply each year and may receive assistance for up to four academic years as long as they meet the eligibility criteria explained in the documents on the info page below.
Who is Eligible for the AER Education Scholarships?
Spouses and Children of Soldiers in the following statuses are eligible to apply for Army Emergency Relief scholarship programs:
- Active Duty, Deceased Active, Retired, Deceased Retired, Medically Retired, Grey Area Retiree, AGR and ARNG / USAR on Title 10 Orders for the entire Academic Year for which they are applying.
- Applicants must be listed as dependents of their Soldier Sponsor in DEERS.
- Applicants for the MG James Ursano Children’s Scholarship Program must be under the age of 24.
- Recipients must be pursuing their first undergraduate degree at a college or university listed in the US Department of Education’s accreditation database. (Exceptions may be made for Spouses). Trade schools are acceptable as well. You may visit The US Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to determine if your school is listed.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s Assistance Program offers interest-free loans and grants for undergraduate or master’s degrees at an accredited 2- or 4-year post-secondary, a technical or vocational institution in the United States. This financial assistance is available for children of active duty, retired or deceased Sailors and Marines; and for spouses of active duty and retired Sailors and Marines.
- Interest-free loans and grants range from $500 to $3,000 per academic year
- Amount to be provided to each applicant will be determined by NMCRS
- Funds are payable and provided to the student’s academic institution, not the student
- Funds are to be used only for tuition, books, fees, room, and board
- Repayment of interest free loans must be by military payroll allotment or EFT within 24 months of the loan disbursal and must begin September 1, 2022
- Students must complete a new application for each academic year
Fleet Reserve Association
The Fleet Reserve Association serves the community of the Sea Services; U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel. They offer many resources and opportunities to continue to serve those who have served. The FRS offers an extensive list of scholarships and academic funding.
Here are a few:
- Glenn F. Glezen Scholarship:
- Robert W. Nolan Scholarship
- Joseph R. Baranski Scholarship
- Robert. M. Treadwell Annual Scholarship
- Stanley A. Doran Memorial Scholarship
- The Donald Bruce Pringle Family Scholarship
- Fleet Reserve Association Scholarship
- Individual Contributions Scholarship
Other scholarship programs related to FRA are:
- The Colonel Hazel Elizabeth Benn Scholarship
- The Walter E. Beall Scholarship
- The LA FRA Scholarships
- Tom and Karen Snee Scholarship
Air Force Tuition Assistance Program
Air Force offers exclusive programs and hands-on experience to help individuals develop skills and advance in their careers. With financial assistance available every step of the way, they provide the opportunity to take training and education as far as their members strive to go. There are several other funding opportunities, check out the Air Force Education resource site for more details.
Here are some of the programs that the Airforce offers for funding continued education:
- Scholarships for Outstanding Airman to ROTC (SOAR):
Enlisted Airmen who strive to attend or complete college may apply to the Scholarship for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR) program. SOAR nominates up to 50 people for two-to-four-year ROTC scholarships that cover most tuition and all fees. Scholarships are awarded in a variety of fields, including technical, nontechnical, nursing, pre-health and foreign language areas. Those who are accepted will temporarily separate from the Air Force while completing their degree and rejoin upon graduation.
- The Airman Scholarship and commissioning program (ASCP):
Active duty, enlisted Airmen may apply for the Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP). This program offers Airmen the opportunity to earn a commission while completing their bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields, including technical, nontechnical, nursing, pre-health and foreign language areas. Those selected temporarily separate from active duty Air Force to join ROTC and become a full-time student at a participating college. Participants receive tuition and fees scholarships for up to $15,000 per year, and a textbook allowance of $600 per year.
- Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program (POC-ERP):
This program is open to students in all majors who are within two years of completing all bachelor’s degree and commissioning requirements. Those who are selected separately from the active duty Air Force to join ROTC and become a full-time student at a participating college to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Upon graduation and completion of the two-year program, you will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and return to active duty for at least four years.
Here are some additional programs that offer funding for continued education: