Great Military Scholarships for Active Duty Members and Veterans

About the Author

Noah McGraw

Noah developed the methodology, layout, and vision of OSR. He has a background in journalism and web editing. He’s probably spent close to a thousand hours poring through the National Center for Education Statistics’ spreadsheets.

The brave people that serve in the United States Armed Forces deserve gratitude and respect from the country they protect. Through offering scholarships and education programs to continue their education, we as a country can begin to thank veterans, active service members and their families for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe. 

Considering how grateful we are for our servicemen and women, it makes sense that there are hundreds of nationally available scholarships and education grants to help them start or continue their education at the college level. With so many options out there, it can seem overwhelming to choose which is the best for your or your family’s situation.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of 33 military scholarships for active duty members, veterans, their families and ROTC members to simplify choosing the best one. Be sure to check out the criteria for each to see if you’re eligible, and don’t forget to see which online college option works best for you! 

Table of Contents:

  1. Scholarships for Active Duty Military Members
  2. Scholarships for Veterans 
  3. Scholarships for Military Dependents and Spouses
  4. ROTC Scholarships 
  5. Federal Grants and Programs
  6. Best Online Colleges for Military Members and Veterans
  7. Additional Resources

Scholarships for Active Duty Military Members

If you are an active duty military member and are interested in funding college for yourself, there are many options available to you both from federal funding and nationally available scholarships. See which options you have, and then narrow down what you’re eligible for and what best works for you! 

National Scholarships for Military Members

There are a number of nationally available scholarship opportunities for funding education, from smaller organizations to worldwide brands who want to help their servicemen and women start or continue their education. Read on for more information and eligibility requirements!

AFCEA War Veteran’s Scholarship

Award amount: $2,500 each

Scholarship details: This is an undergraduate-only scholarship that provides merit-based scholarships to active duty soldiers or honorably discharged veterans who participated in an Overseas Contingency Operation. 

Requirements: 

  • Must be studying an eligible STEM degree program at an accredited U.S. institution
  • U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled at and attending a four-year accredited institution
  • Applying as a sophomore or junior; cannot apply as a freshman, senior or the year you are graduating
  • Overall 3.0 GPA
  • Studying a C4I field-related to the mission of AFCEA
  • Was deployed in one of the following Overseas Contingency Operations:
    • Operation Enduring Freedom
    • Operation Iraqi Freedom
    • Operation New Dawn
    • Operation Inherent Resolve
    • Operation Freedom’s Sentinel 

AMVETS Active Duty or Veterans Scholarship

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details:  Eligible to any active duty service member or honorably-discharged veteran, including Guard and Reserve. 

Requirements: For more information on applying, as well as required documents, go to the AMVETS website.

Armed Forces Tuition Assistance

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details: This is an umbrella term for the tuition assistance offered to active duty service members in each branch of the military, including Reserves and National Guard. 

The benefits and eligibility requirements vary from branch to branch, so reference or contact your exact branch for more information on eligibility.

Army Women’s Foundation 

Award amount: varies based on scholarship 

Scholarship details: The AWF provides grants to past and present women soldiers and their descendants to help them fund their coursework at accredited institutions. Scholarship awards are based on merit, academic potential, community service, letters of recommendation and need. The award amount is as follows:

  • Community College and Certificate Program Legacy Scholarships: up to $1,000
  • College, University and Graduate Program Legacy Scholarships: up to $2,500

Requirements: 

  • Woman who is serving honorably or has served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard
  • Child of woman who is serving honorably or has served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard
  • Community College Legacy Scholarship criteria:
    • High school graduate or GED recipient with minimum of 2.5 GPA 
    • Must be currently enrolled in accredited community college 
  • Certificate Program Legacy Scholarship criteria:
    • High school graduate or GED recipient with minimum of 2.5 GPA 
    • Must be currently enrolled in accredited Certificate-granting institution
  • College and University Legacy Scholarship criteria:
    • Must be currently enrolled at an accredited college or university
    • Completed 30 credit hours of coursework with minimum GPA of 3.0 
  • Graduate Program Legacy Scholarships:
    • Must have achieved undergraduate degree with cumulative GPA of 3.0 
    • Must be enrolled or accepted in a Graduate-level program — Masters or Doctoral

For more information on applying, visit the Army Women’s Foundation

Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Education Foundation

Award amount: up to $5,000

Scholarship details: The FRA’s Education Foundation has a variety of scholarship options available for qualified applicants seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees. These awards are based on financial need as well as merit. 

Requirements:
The exact eligibility requirements vary depending on the scholarship, but applicants should first meet these base requirements:

  • Affiliated with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Coast Guard 
    • Through own service or that of spouse, parent, grandparent or great-grandparent
  • U.S. citizen
  • Full-time student at accredited U.S. institution 

For more information and to see their full list of scholarships, check out the FRA Education Connection.  

Green to Gold Scholarship Option

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details: Offered by the Army to active duty Army soldiers, this is a scholarship offered on a two-, three- or four-year basis. 

Scholarship winners receive a variety of benefits, including tuition or room and board support, funding for textbooks and supplies, as well as other funding opportunities.

Requirements:

  • Minimum of two years Active Duty
  • GT score of 110 or greater 
  • High school graduate or equivalent
  • Cumulative high school or college GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • No more than three dependents including spouse (waiverable) 
  • Letter of acceptance from accredited institution offering Army ROTC

For more information on eligibility and requirements, check out the U.S. Army’s Green to Gold Scholarship Option page. 

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Scholarship

Award amount: up to $5,000  

Scholarship details: Sponsored by the VFW, Student Veterans of America and Sports Clips Haircuts, this rolling scholarship is open to service members and veterans alike. The exact award amount varies depending on the applicant’s need, and are restricted to tuition and fees only.

Requirements: 

  • Active duty, retired, honorably discharged or member of National Guard or Reserve
  • Completed Basic Training and follow-on training 
  • Separated with or currently hold military rank of E-5 or below
  • Demonstrate a need for financial assistance 
  • Participate in, accepted to or currently enrolled in VA-approved program or school at accredited institution

For more information on how to apply, visit the VFW Scholarship page.

Women’s Overseas Service League Scholarship

Award amount: averages $5,000 to $10,000  

Scholarship details: This scholarship is provided to active-duty women in any branch of the military who are committed to advancement in military or other public service careers. Scholarships may be renewed if the recipient maintains award criteria. 

Requirements: 

  • Demonstrated commitment to military or public service careers through life experiences 
  • Completed minimum of 12 semester (18 quarter) hours of study at higher-education institution
  • Maintained minimum 2.5 GPA 
  • Admitted for study at higher education institution leading to an Associate’s Degree or higher
  • Agree to enroll for minimum of six semester (nine quarter) hours of study each academic period 
  • Agree to maintain academic standards

For more information, visit the Women’s Overseas Service League Scholarships page. 

Scholarships for Veterans

Here, you’ll find scholarships and grants especially for honorably discharged veterans. Many of these scholarships are also available to dependents, so be sure to see which of these you or your family qualifies for!

National Scholarships for Veterans

In addition to federal funding by the G.I. Bill, there are also a number of scholarship opportunities available to veterans. See which of the following eight options you qualify for! 

Ankin Law Office Veteran Scholarship 

Award amount: $1,000

Scholarship details: Funded by a Chicago-based law firm, this merit-based scholarship is open to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as their spouses, parents or children. This scholarship is to be used for tuition or books at an accredited undergraduate, graduate or vocational institution.

For more information on applying, check out the Ankin Law Office Veteran Scholarship page.

Course Hero Veteran Hero Scholarship

Award amount: $5,000

Scholarship details: Sponsored by Course Hero, this is a merit-based scholarship applied to tuition fees at an accredited college or university. 

Requirements: 

  • Retired, honorably discharged or active duty service member of the U.S. military, or have a family member of such service 
  • Currently enrolled full- or part-time in a two- or four-year accredited undergraduate or graduate college or university
  • At least 16 years old
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA

To learn more about applying, visit the Course Hero scholarships page. 

Imagine America Military Award Program (MAP)

Award amount: $1,000

Scholarship details: Funded by the Imagine America Foundation, this grant program was established to help ease the transition from military to civilian life. These scholarships are open to any armed forces member interested in pursuing a career college.

Requirements: 

  • Enrolling in participating career college 
  • Active duty, reservist, honorably discharged or retired veteran of the U.S. military 
  • Likelihood of enrolling in and successfully completing postsecondary education 
  • Not a previous recipient of any other Imagine America scholarship or award
  • Demonstrated financial need 

To learn more and apply, visit the Imagine America MAP website.

Pat Tillman Foundation Leadership Through Action — Tillman Military Scholars Program

Award amount: average of $11,000 annually 

Scholarship details: This program provides financial assistance to veterans or active-duty service members who wish to start, continue or finish their education at the college level. This scholarship is granted based on both merit and need, and award amounts vary by recipient. 

Requirements: 

  • Veteran or active-duty service member from any branch of the military, including National Guard or Reserves, who served in pre- and post-September 11 service areas
  • Current spouse of veteran or surviving or deceased active-duty service member 
  • Full-time student at an accredited U.S. institution pursuing a bachelors, graduate or professional degree

For more information on eligibility and application, visit the Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar page.

Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship Program

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details: This is a competitive scholarship program, awarding financial assistance to Purple Heart recipients and their spouses, children and grandchildren. 

Applicants must be a member of one of the following categories:

  • Purple Heart recipient who is also a Member of MPOH, or
  • Spouse of a Purple Heart recipient who is also a Member of MPOH, or
  • Direct lineal descendant (natural, adopted, step-child, grandchild or step-grandchild) of a Purple Heart recipient who is also a Member of MPOH, or
  • Spouse, widow/widower or direct lineal descendant as described above of a service member killed in action or who died of wounds sustained in combat

Requirements: 

  • Graduate or upcoming graduate of a high school or GED program
  • Accepted by or enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited U.S. college, university or trade school at the time scholarship is awarded
  • Able to maintain at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship Program website.

Ranger Memorial Scholarship

Award amount: $1,000

Scholarship details: In partnership with the Ranger Battalions Association of World War II, the National Ranger Memorial Foundation offers this scholarship to qualified Rangers and their descendants. 

For more information on eligibility and applying, visit the Ranger Memorial Scholarship website. 

Tonalaw Veteran’s Scholarship

Award amount: $1,000 

Scholarship details: Open to all veterans of any branch in the U.S. military, these awards are distributed to accredited U.S. institutions for fall and spring semesters. 

For more information and how to apply, visit the Tonalaw Veteran’s Scholarship page.

Troops to Teachers 

Award amount: up to $10,000 stipends 

Scholarship details: This program, funded and overseen by the Departments of Defense and Education, was established to help transitioning service members and veterans to careers as K–12 teachers in public, charter and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. In addition to helping participants with meeting the requirements necessary for becoming teachers with stipends, Troops to Teachers also provides employment assistance when eligible to teach. 

Requirements: 

  • Current or former member of the U.S. military
  • For financial assistance: 
    • Must apply within three years of active duty or reserve retirement date 
    • Members in the reserve that were formerly active duty must apply within three years after active duty separation date

For more information on applying and funding, visit Troops to Teachers

Scholarships for Military Dependents and Spouses

Those in the armed forces aren’t the only ones making a sacrifice — their families are too. To show support and gratitude to spouses and children, there are many grants and scholarships available. Read on to see the 10 options we’ve found! 

National Scholarships for Military Dependents and Spouses

Below are seven options for merit- and need-based scholarships for military dependents and spouses. Be sure to read the eligibility requirements to see if this is a possible funding opportunity!

American Legion Legacy Scholarship

Award amount: up to $20,000

Scholarship details: This is a needs-based scholarship designed for children of U.S. military members who died while on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. The scholarship amount must be used in one year, and recipients can reapply up to six times.

Requirements:

  • Child or children (natural, adopted or step-child) of active duty United States military, National Guard or Reserve member who died while on duty on or after September 11, 2001
  • Child or children (natural, adopted or step-child) of active duty United States military, National Guard or Reserve member who received an injury on or after September 11, 2001, leading to a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher 

For more information on eligibility and applying, visit the American Legion Legacy Scholarship page.

Army Aviation Association of America

Award amount: $1,000 to $2,000 

Scholarship details: Founded in 1963 to provide financial assistance to children of AAAA members and deceased members, this is an annual, merit-based scholarship. 

Requirements:

  • Current member of Army Aviation Association of America, or
  • Spouse of current AAAA member or deceased member, or
  • Child of current member or deceased member, or
  • Grandchild of current member or deceased member, or
  • Unmarried sibling of current member or deceased member

For more information on application criteria, visit the Army Aviation Association of America.

Army Scholarship Foundation

Award amount: $500 to $2,000

Scholarship details: The Army Scholarship Foundation awards a number of one-year financial scholarships on an annual basis to deserving and qualified undergraduate students. The award amount ranges from $500 to $2000, and must be used at an accredited educational or technical institution.

Requirements:

  • Child of regular active duty, active duty Reserve or active duty National Guard U.S. Army member(s) in good standing, or
  • Spouse of serving, enlisted regular active duty, active duty Reserve or active duty National Guard U.S. Army member in good standing, or 
  • Child of former U.S. Army member(s) who received honorable or medical discharge, or who were killed while serving in the U.S. Army 
  • Be high school senior, graduate or registered as undergraduate student at accredited college or post-high school vocational/technical institution
  • Have a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4 point system
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Not have reached their 24th birthday by the application deadline date on the year they apply
  • Not have previously earned a bachelor’s degree from a college or university

For more information on scholarships offered, how to apply and required documentation, visit the Army Scholarship Foundation

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details: This is a scholarship fund set up for immediate family members of Chief Petty Officers of the U.S. Navy. 

Requirements:

  • About to graduate or have graduated from an accredited high school or equal educational institution, or have received their GED
  • Intend to enter or be currently enrolled in a community college, vocational college, college or university to complete requirements for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree
  • Be the immediate family member (children may be natural, adopted or step-children) of either an active duty, retired, honorably discharged, reserve or deceased Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy

For more information, reference the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund.

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

Award amount: up to $6,250 

Scholarship details: This scholarship foundation provides college scholarships and educational counseling to the children of servicemen and women who have been killed in the line of duty. As of May 2020, there is an annual award cap, with additional funding available if the student has above a 3.5 GPA. 

This scholarship is available to natural and adopted children who lost a parent in the line of duty, during combat or peacetime. This applies to all branches, so the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as all components — active, reserved and guard. 

For more information on applying, visit the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

Patriot Legacy Fund 

Award amount: varies based on recipient  

Scholarship details: The PLF provides a variety of undergraduate scholarships for dependents of honorably discharged veterans with a disability sustained in combat. 

The scholarship is distributed equally across fall, spring or summer terms. The award amount can be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and on-campus room and board. Applicants must reapply each academic year.

Requirements:

  • Aged 23 or younger as of April 30th of current application year
  • Unmarried and dependent of a U.S. veteran with a VA service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher 
  • Not enlisted in National Guard, Reserves or other military branch
  • Pending acceptance, accepted or enrolled in an undergraduate program of an accredited post-secondary or vocational institution in the U.S.
  • Not have previously completed an undergraduate degree or attended a Service Academy 
  • Maintain cumulative GPA of 2.4 or above on 4.0 scale, with mid-year documentation required before second disbursement 
  • Must not be already funded by other sources

For more information on applying, visit the Patriot Legacy Fund.  

Tailhook Educational Foundation Scholarships 

Award amount: $2,400 to $15,000

Scholarship details: These scholarships are open to children or grandchildren of Naval officers, with an emphasis on students pursuing STEAM curriculum.

Requirements:

  • High school graduate
  • Accepted for undergraduate enrollment at accredited institution
  • Child or grandchild of:
    • Current or former Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer or Air-crewman OR
    • Individuals who served onboard a U.S. Navy Aircraft carrier 

For more information, visit the Tailhook Educational Foundation

ROTC Scholarships

For some students, the military is a way to obtain a college education. To get their foot in the door, many of the best options come from enrolling in the Reserved Officer Training Corps, or ROTC. This program is operated by the four main branches of the U.S. military (Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps), and provides college funding to students in exchange for their enlistment after graduation. 

For more information, refer to the specific guidelines of each branch of the ROTC. 

Air Force ROTC

Air Force ROTC scholarships are available on a four-year basis to high school and college students that meet eligibility requirements, including test scores, academic achievement, community service and leadership qualities. Additional scholarships are available for students planning to become pilots after graduation.

Upon college graduation, students are expected to complete a minimum four-year commitment in the Air Force. In exchange for additional funding from the Air Force ROTC, students will be required to complete a minimum of ten years in active service.

For more information, visit the Air Force ROTC homepage.

Army ROTC

Students considering Army ROTC scholarships can apply as high school seniors, enlisted soldiers or while currently enrolled in college.

Army ROTC scholarships consist of:

  • Two-, three- or four-year scholarship options
  • Full-tuition scholarships
  • The option for room and board in place of tuition
  • Additional allowances for books and supplies
  • $420 per month living allowance for each school year

For more information, visit the Army ROTC page.

Naval ROTC 

Serving both the Navy and Marine Corps, this program offers two- and four-year scholarships to graduating high school seniors as well as those who have already completed their first year of college. Applicants must meet academic requirements.

Participants in the Naval ROTC program are expected to serve a minimum of eight years as a commissioned officer following their graduation. For more information, visit the Naval ROTC page. 

Federal Grants and Programs

Along with the number of nationally available scholarships for military members, veterans and their dependents, there are also many federally funded programs designed to help service members and their families continue or start their education. Below are some of the best federal programs and grants for active-duty service members, veterans and their dependents. 

Federal Grants for Active Duty Military Members

Federal grants are funding options for active duty members that are offered by the federal government. These are granted based on eligibility, not merit. Below are federal options available to active duty service members, offered from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Education.

Montgomery G.I. Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) 

This extension of the G.I. Bill is open to any member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard or Air National Guard. This offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits for those that qualify.

To receive benefits, you must meet the following requirements:

All of these must be true: 

  • Completed initial active duty training (IADT) and
  • Have received a high school diploma or equivalent (GED, High School Equivalency Diploma) before finishing IADT and 
  • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve Unit

One of these must be true:

  • Have a six-year service obligation in the Selected Reserve, or 
  • Are an officer in the Selected Reserve and agreed to serve six years in addition to your initial service obligation 

To learn more about MGIB-SR and see if you’re eligible, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Montgomery G.I. Bill – Active Duty (Chapter 30)

The Montgomery G.I. Bill – Active Duty, otherwise known as MGIB – AD, is a federal education benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs for active military members and veterans. 

It provides up to 36 months of full-time payments for approved education and training programs, and may also be used to reimburse costs for VA-approved tests, certifications or licensures. Recipients are generally given 10 years to use their MGIB – AD benefits, but this can vary. 

The exact payment amount distributed depends on the following factors:

  • Length of service and
  • Type of education/training you’re receiving and
  • Your eligibility category (below) and 
  • Whether you qualify for a college fund or kicker and
  • How much you’ve contributed into the $600 Buy-Up Program

To be eligible for MGIB-AD, you must have been honorably discharged and fit in one of the following categories:

Category 1
  • All of these must be true:
    • Have a high school diploma, GED or 12 hours of college credit and
    • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, and
    • Had military pay reduced by $100 per month for the first 12 months of service
  • One of these must be true:
    • You served continuously, without a break, for
      • 3 years or
      • 2 years if that was agreed upon enlistment or
      • 4 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving Active Duty (also known as the 2 by 4 program)
Category 2
  • All of these must be true:
    • Have a high school diploma, GED or 12 hours of college credit and
    • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977, (or before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977) and 
    • Served at least one day between October 19, 1984–June 30, 1985 and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988, (or through June 30, 1987, if you entered Selected Reserves within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years) and 
    • Had at least one day of entitlement left under Vietnam Era G.I. Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989 
Category 3
  • All of these must be true:
    • Have a high school diploma, GED or 12 years of college credit and 
    • Don’t qualify under Categories 1 or 2 and
    • Had military pay reduced by $1,200 before separation 
  • One of these must be true:
    • Were on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated (not your choice) after February 2, 1991, or
    • Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993, or
    • Chose to voluntarily separate under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) program or the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
Category 4
  • Both of these must be true:
    • Have a high school diploma, GED or 12 months of college credit and 
    • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months, or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution (or paid it all at once)
  • One of these must be true:
    • Were on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money in a VEAP account on that date and chose MGIB before October 9, 1996, or
    • Entered full-time National Guard duty under Title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985 and November 28, 1989, and chose MGIB between October 9, 1996 and July 9, 1997

For more information on MGIB-AD and to see how to qualify, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more about how much you will be paid from the G.I. Bill depending on time served, reference the chart below.

Federal Programs for Veterans

The following options are offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under the G.I. Bill, which has different sections for different needs and categories. See which of these fit your needs best! 

Post- 9/11 G.I. Bill (Chapter 33)

This federal program helps veterans who began their service as a direct result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Eligible veterans receive up to 36 months of benefits, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies and moving fees. Eligibility varies based on the recipient.

Applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-related disability, or 
  • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Post-9/11 G.I. Bill page. 

Yellow Ribbon Program

This is an extension of the G.I. Bill offered to help pay for out-of-state higher education, private school or graduate school tuition that the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill doesn’t cover. 

To qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you must first qualify for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and must meet one of these requirements:

  • Served at least 36 months on active duty, either all at once or with breaks in service, or
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • Received a Fry Scholarship on or after August 1, 2018, or
  • Served at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged after 60 days with a service-related disability, or
  • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a veteran or service member who has served at least 36 months on active duty and qualifies at the 100 percent level, or 
  • Are receiving the Fry Scholarship 

The school you attend must meet all of these requirements:

  • Offers the Yellow Ribbon Programs 
  • Hasn’t offered the Yellow Ribbon benefit to more than the maximum number of students 
  • Has certified enrollment with VA and provided Yellow Ribbon Program information

For more information, visit the Yellow Ribbon Program page.

 

Federal Programs for Military Dependents and Spouses

The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t just care about veterans continuing their education — they also help families to expand their education through federally funded grants and financial aid programs.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Award amount: For the 2020–21 award year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), the maximum Federal Pell Grant award will be $6,345. 

Scholarship details: This grant is eligible to children or legal dependents of military members. The exact grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year, but cannot exceed cost of attendance for that award year. 

Requirements:

  • Not eligible for Federal Pell Grant on basis of Expected Family Contribution, but Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements are otherwise met
  • Parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after events of 9/11
  • Recipient was under the age of 24 or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of parent or guardian’s death

To receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, recipients should fill out a FAFSA. For more information, go to the Federal Student Aid website here.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

Award amount: Recipients may receive up to 36 months of benefits, including money for tuition, housing and books/supplies. Benefits vary based on the recipient.

Scholarship details: Offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Fry Scholarship is a needs-based scholarship for children and dependents of veterans who died in the line of duty on or after September, 11, 2001. 

Requirements: 

  • As the child of a service member:
    • Can be married or unmarried
    • If you turned 18 or graduated from high school before January 1, 2013, you are eligible until you are 33
    • If you turn 18 or graduate from high school after January 1, 2013, you are eligible at any age over 18 or after you graduate from high school, whichever comes first
    • Will need to give up Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments while using Fry Scholarship 
  • As the spouse of a service member:
    • Will no longer be eligible if you remarry
    • May continue to receive DIC payments while using Fry Scholarship 

To learn more, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs Fry Scholarships page. 

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)

Award amount: varies based on recipient 

Scholarship details: This is a needs-based program offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs for dependents of veterans. Recipients receive monthly payments for up to 36 months to cover the cost of college or graduate degree programs, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, career-training certificate courses or educational and career counseling. The exact award amount varies depending on the needs of the recipient.

To be eligible for DEA, the veteran or service member you’re a dependent of must fit one of the following descriptions:

  • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or 
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or
  • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
  • Was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
  • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability 

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the DEA website.

Best Online Colleges for Military Members and Veterans

Now that you’ve seen your funding options, you now need to decide on the best college or university for you. The options are seemingly endless, and the choices can be overwhelming when it comes down to deciding. 

That’s where online colleges come in handy. Being a veteran or active duty means you need a flexible education — one that works around your schedule, not vice versa. Below, we’ve picked the 10 best online colleges for active duty and veteran military members to pick from, based on our rankings methodology that earned all 10 options an OSR score of 100 percent.  

Best Online Colleges for Military Members

As an active duty member of the armed forces, you need a flexible school and program that works with you and your lifestyle. When duty calls you should be able to answer, without worrying about falling behind. We picked these five schools and programs with your needs in mind, so you can be confident you’re making the right choice.

1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide 

This online university makes a great option for those interested in getting a B.S. in Aeronautics. This school offers multiple start dates, reasonable tuition options and 16 options offered online. We’re not the only ones who agree — the U.S. News & World Report ranked Embry-Riddle as the number one school for online bachelor’s programs.

For more information and application criteria, visit their program webpage

2. University of Southern California

Boasting a wide range of highly respected degree programs, one of USC’s greatest is their Master’s in Civil Engineering program. With no thesis requirement, lowered credit hour requirement and the same experience offered online as in the classroom, this makes a great online opportunity for expanding your undergraduate education. 

For more information, visit the University of Southern California’s M.S. in Civil Engineering page

3. University of Wisconsin-Superior 

For those who want to help their country in more ways than one, the University of Wisconsin-Superior offers a B.S. in Sustainable Management that will help you understand how to help the environment thrive. Offering the same experience online as in-person, this is an online program you can feel confident in choosing. 

To learn more, visit their program website

4. American Public University System

Putting out fires, literally or figuratively, is no easy task at home and abroad. For active duty military members who want to explore their online options in Fire Sciences, the American Public University System offers this online program in addition to 45 others. With books provided at no cost, this program makes a worthy investment of your time and energy.

For more information, visit the American Public University System‘s program homepage.

5. Waldorf University

Homeland security is a natural career choice for those who have already fought terrorism abroad. If you’re looking to expand your education on this topic, Waldorf University offers fee waivers for active duty military members. Even offering free shipping on textbooks for their online students, this makes a strong option for your online college choice.

For more information on obtaining your online homeland security degree, visit Waldorf University’s program page

Best Online Colleges for Veterans

Much like active duty military members, veterans have their own needs and restraints when it comes to online schooling options. Whether you opt for online schooling because of a disability, desire to spend more time at home or other lifestyle reasons, we’ve found five of the best options for veterans. 

1. University of Central Florida 

If you served in an engineering capacity during your time in the military, you might think about expanding your horizons to get your Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. UCF offers a program tailor-made for busy professionals, and has 92 other online offerings to choose from.

To learn more about UCF and their online M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, visit their program page. 

2. Bellevue University

One of the many areas you can apply your expertise as a veteran is in the area of Information Technology, especially if you were in a similar role while active duty. Among other highly ranking computer and technology programs, Bellevue University offers a well-regarded, transfer-friendly IT program that helps build real-world knowledge.

For more information and eligibility requirements, visit their program page

3. Brescia University

Helping others is in your DNA as a veteran. To help others on the home front after you retire, getting your Master’s in Social Work could be your next step. Brescia University offers an affordable option that can be obtained in as little as 30 credit hours, along with reimbursing students for their ASWB exam fees.

To learn more and get started in earning your MSW, visit Brescia University’s program page.

4. Penn State World Campus

For those itching to serve beyond the military, getting an online degree in criminal justice may be the next step, or any other of Penn State World Campus’ 41 online programs. Plus, Military Grant-in-Aid is available for online military students.

To learn more, visit their program page

5. Arizona State University

If you were deployed abroad, you learned a lot about the world during your time serving — maybe without even realizing it. Expand that knowledge with a B.A. in Geography that will help you learn more about the world around you, human traditions and cultural patterns from around the world. Plus, Arizona State offers short 7.5 week terms, multiple start dates and more.

For more information on how to apply, visit ASU’s geography program page.

Additional Resources

For more information on how the funding options available to help you or your family continue their education, check out these additional online resources.

With all of the resources available to you as an active duty member of the military, veteran, military family member or ROTC member, choosing the best financial assistance can seem tricky. No matter which option you choose, know that you’re in good hands from a nation that is so grateful for your service.

Sources: U.S. Veterans Magazine | College Scholarships | The Scholarship System | College Recon | Centura College | 459th Air Refueling Wing | Edmit