The price of a college education has risen astronomically over the last few decades. The days of working your way through college are a distant memory that millennials and the coming generations will most likely never enjoy. Unless your parents started saving for your college fund well before you were born, chances are you won’t be paying for your tuition, books, supplies, and living quarters out of your own pocket (or your parents’ pockets, for that matter).
You could, of course, get student loans to pay for your college education. However, most people aren’t terribly excited about the debts they’ll be incurring while they go to school; debts they’ll have to start paying back almost immediately after they graduate. To avoid these burdens, more and more students are looking for scholarships and grants to help lighten the load. Among these funding opportunities are education grants for veterans.
If you or one of your family members has served in the United States military, you could be eligible for full coverage of or at least partial assistance with your college tuition through governmental education grants for veterans. What grants might you qualify for?
For Servicemen and Women — The Post-9/11 GI Bill
As of this revised bill’s enactment in 2009, all military servicemen and women who have served for at least 90 consecutive days since September 10, 2001 are eligible for substantial education grants for veterans. Benefits from this bill include:
- Tuition up to the highest-cost in-state public college or university.
- $1000 annual allowance for books.
- Living stipend based on the housing allowance that’s allowed for an E-5 with dependents in the same zip code.
The actual amount of money you receive for education grants for veterans through the current GI Bill will vary depending on how long you served in the military, with those who’ve served longer benefitting through more financial assistance. If you are enrolled in college and your funds from the GI Bill do not cover all of your tuition and/or supplies, you should check to see if your school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, in which case you will receive additional funding for your education from your school as well as from the government.
For Widows and Dependents of Servicemen and Women
If you have not served in the military, yourself, but your mother, father, or spouse has served and/or has fallen in combat, you are most likely eligible to receive education grants for veterans and veterans’ family members through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the GI Bill.
Additional Governmental Grants for Veterans
As a dependent of a deceased serviceman or woman, you may be eligible for additional Pell grant awards and/or Iraq and Afghanistan Service grants. You must be able to show proof that you were a dependent, less than 24 years of age, or enrolled at least part-time in college courses at the time of your parent’s death.
If you meet these requirements, your Pell grant money will be maximized because your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to your education will be set to zero. However, if you are for any reason unable to qualify for Pell grant money, you will be taken care of with funding from the Iraq and Afghanistan Service grant.
Searching for and Applying for Education Grants for Veterans
In addition to the GI Bill, there are other opportunities to find education grants for veterans that you may be eligible for. Through a number of charitable organizations dedicated to assisting veterans and their kin, you can find scholarships and grants for a lot of different programs that you may not have considered possible before.
The American Legion, for example, has a number of merit- and need-based scholarships for veterans and family members of veterans. These include the American Legion Legacy Scholarship, the American Legion Baseball Scholarship, the Eight and Forty Lung and Respiratory Disease Nursing Scholarship, and much more.
AMVETS scholarships are also available for retired veterans, reservists, and active duty servicemen and women. Then there is DAV (Disabled American Veterans), an organization, “Dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity,” (DAV.org 2015). DAV offers educational funding for veterans disabled in combat, as well. These are just a few of the opportunities available for you to find funding.
Military ROTC Scholarships
If you are not a veteran and/or you do not have a parent or spouse who is a veteran, you will not be eligible for education grants for veterans. However, this does not mean that you cannot get assistance with funding your college education from the military. You may qualify for an ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) scholarship.
Like most scholarships, ROTC scholarships are awarded on a merit basis, rather than on a need basis. So, if you don’t know how you’re going to pay for your college career but you don’t qualify for any education grants for veterans or other grants, you may be able to join an ROTC program. There is an ROTC program for each branch of the military, including Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines.
More Opportunities Through Your School or Work
To find out more about how your service in the United States Military can help fund your college education, visit your school’s financial aid office. They can walk you through all of the options available to you, how much funding you qualify for, and other opportunities open to you as a veteran or family member of a veteran.
Some corporations also have established education budgets to help enrich their employees’ knowledge and experience in their fields. Talk with your employer about these programs and/or any programs that your company may have in place to assist veterans in gaining higher education and furthering their careers. You may be surprised at all of the funding available to you.
Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com
ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.