With the costs of education on the rise, its important now than ever for military parents to explore every grant avenue possible. Good news is that grants for children of military service members are readily available, and funding is available from all branches of the military including the Marine Corps and Reserves. These grant programs provide valuable financial assistance particularly for those students whose education includes fields vital to the military. Below is a sampling of a few grants to explore that are available for children of military parents.
The Air Force Aid Society – administered by the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS), the General Henry Arnold Education Grant has been providing grants to members of the Air Force and their families ever since its inception in 1942. This grant is extremely popular, and its success is reflected in the more than 100,000 grants disbursed since the first awards made for the 1988-1989 academic year. Unlike scholarships that are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, the AFAS administered grant is need based, and takes into consideration family income and education cost factors. AFAS provides $2000 grants, and has partnered with Scholarship America, a non-profit organization to ensure unbiased selection.
The Coast Guard Foundation – Founded 20 years ago, the scholarship program by the Coast Guard Foundation has helped over 350 coast guard kids achieve their education dreams and in terms of numbers, that’s more than $3 million worth of disbursements. Eligibility criteria for the program include unmarried dependent children whose parents are enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and can be either active duty, retired or deceased. Students currently in college or applying to college may apply, and eligibility criteria include listed in Coast Guard DEERS, working towards their first undergraduate degree program and are under the age of 24 at the time of application. Ineligible students include Coast Guard spouses, active duty Coast Guard members and children of commissioned officers.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – grants are available for marines and their families, and eligible members include children and spouses of retired sailors and marines, active duty, deceased sailors and marines or MECP or MECEP students. The grants are provided for undergraduate/post secondary education at an accredited 2 or 4 year technical, education or vocational institution in the United States. Grant amounts range from $500-$3000 per year, and the amount to be disbursed will be determined by the NMCRS. Funds from this grant are to be used for books, tuition, fees, room and board and students must demonstrate financial need to prove eligibility.
General John Paul Ratay Educational Fund Grants – these grants are available only to children of surviving spouses of retired servicemembers. These $5000 grants are not available for graduate study, and may have additional requirements so it’s best to consult the official office before application.
Service members in all facets of the U.S. Military make remarkable sacrifices for the country, but the sacrifices made by their families is often overlooked. Even when their family lives together, children may spend a large portion of their school years moving to different locations, and changing schools with each deployment. The grants mentioned above are geared towards those children who are struggling to meet the rising costs of education and designed to help them realize their education goals.