Guide to Veteran and Dependent Scholarships by State

By Thomas Broderick

Published on September 2, 2021

Guide to Veteran and Dependent Scholarships by State is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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College students face large tuition bills. The typical learner attending an in-state public school pays just under $10,000 annually in tuition. Degree-seekers who enroll in a private college or university pay approximately $35,000 annually.

Earning a degree involves expenses in addition to tuition. Other college costs, such as room and board, books and supplies, and transportation make a degree more expensive than what many students can afford. These learners can turn to private scholarship opportunities to help make their education more affordable.

Although military service members, veterans, and their dependents benefit from the GI Bill®, they can still explore additional financial aid opportunities. States, military branches, schools, and organizations offer scholarships for veterans and their dependents. The following sections outline these financial aid opportunities.

Why Apply for Military Scholarships?

Scholarships for veterans help students earn a degree and return to civilian life. A degree confers new skills and may qualify graduates for various jobs. Many organizations extend the same benefits to veterans' spouses and children, especially those whose veteran spouse or parent died in combat.

The GI Bill Has Limitations

Service members become eligible for GI Bill benefits after 90 days of active service. Benefits increase until a service member attains three years of active service. At that point, the GI Bill covers in-state tuition at the most expensive in-state public college or university. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a database of schools accepting GI Bill benefits.

The GI Bill's primary limitation is that its benefits only cover three academic years, so learners seeking a four-year bachelor's degree may need to find additional funding sources for their fourth year.

Military Scholarships Recognize Veterans and Their Family Members

Military branches and private organizations sponsor scholarships for veterans, their spouses, and children. Grandchildren enrolled in an approved postsecondary program may qualify in limited circumstances. These awards detail eligibility criteria on their website, which may include possessing a Uniformed Services ID Card.

Learners interested in a military branch scholarship can start the application process by speaking with a commanding officer. These awards may impose rigorous requirements for renewal.

Military Scholarships Are Less Competitive

Scholarships for veterans appeal to learners due to their relatively small applicant pool. Fewer applicants means a greater chance of receiving funding. However, military service does not guarantee a scholarship. Learners should strive to submit the best application possible.

Like traditional scholarships, scholarships for veterans often require applicants to submit official transcripts, an essay, and recommendation letters from a work supervisor or commanding officer. Other materials may include proof of military enlistment. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Veteran and Dependent Scholarships by State

Each state offers unique scholarships for veterans. The following list outlines several state-specific awards. College students can learn more about state scholarships by contacting their school's financial aid advisors. State government websites also publish information regarding financial aid opportunities.

Alabama GI Dependent's Scholarship

State: AL
Amount: Varies
Deadline: Ongoing

Alaska Sea Service Scholarship

State: AK
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: March 1

Military Active Duty & Reservist Commitment Scholarship-Arizona State University

State: AZ
Amount: Varies
Deadline: Ongoing

Military Dependents Scholarship Program (MDS)

State: AR
Amount: Varies
Deadline: July 1

ThanksUSA Scholarship Program

State: CA
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

College Fee Waiver

State: CA
Amount: Waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees
Deadline: N/A

University of Colorado Office of Veterans Services Exhausted Benefits Scholarships

State: CO
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: July 1

University of Colorado Office of Veterans Services Harvey Veteran Scholarship

State: CO
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: July 1

Tuition Waivers

State: CT
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Delvets Post 2 Scholarship

State: DE
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: March

Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

State: FL
Amount: Varies
Deadline: April 1

Georgia HERO Scholarship Program

State: GA
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: N/A

USS Bowfin Memorial Scholarship

State: HI
Amount: Varies
Deadline: January 31

Branstad/Reynolds Scholarship Fund

State: IA
Amount: Varies
Deadline: December 31

Idaho Veterans Support Fund

State: ID
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

MIA/POW Scholarship

State: IL
Amount: Full Tuition
Deadline: N/A

Tuition and Fee Exemption

State: IN
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Kansas Military Service Scholarship

State: KS
Amount: Varies
Deadline: May 1

Tuition Waiver Program

State: KY
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Louisiana Title 29 Dependents' Educational Assistance

State: LA
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Veterans Dependents Educational Benefits

State: ME
Amount: 100% tuition waiver
Deadline: N/A

Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship

State: MD
Amount: Varies
Deadline: July 15

Veterans United Foundation Scholarship

State: MA
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program

State: MI
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

State: MN
Amount: $750
Deadline: N/A

Surviving Spouse and Dependent Education Assistance

State: MN
Amount: $750 per fiscal year
Deadline: N/A

Captain Kermit O. Evans, Sr. Annual Scholarship-Mississippi State University

State: MS
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Wartime Veteran's Survivors Grant Program

State: MO
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Montana War Orphan Tuition Waiver

State: MT
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Waiver of Tuition Program

State: NE
Amount: 100% of tuition
Deadline: N/A

New Jersey Enlisted Scholarships

State: NJ
Amount: Varies
Deadline: June

Wartime Veteran Scholarship Award

State: NM
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship

State: NY
Amount: Varies
Deadline: June 30

North Carolina Scholarship for Children of Wartime Veterans

State: NC
Amount: Varies
Deadline: February 14

Allied Van Lines Scholarship

State: ND
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: December 15

Ohio War Orphan & Severely Disabled Veterans' Children Scholarship

State: OH
Amount: Varies
Deadline: July 1

Surivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance Program

State: OR
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Educational Gratuity Program

State: PA
Amount: $500
Deadline: N/A

RI National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program

State: RI
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Free Tuition for Veterans/SDCL 13-55-2 to 13-55-5

State: SD
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Vermont National Guard Tuition Benefit Program

State: VT
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program

State: VA
Amount: Varies
Deadline: N/A

Where to Find Additional Veteran and Dependent Scholarships

College students can begin their scholarship search by determining whether their service branch offers scholarship opportunities. Other scholarship sources include various institutions and nonprofit organizations, such as the American Legion. The following section details several awards aimed at helping veterans and their dependents earn a degree.

National Guard

National Guard service members may qualify for one of three exclusive scholarship opportunities. Universal requirements include participation in a Simultaneous Membership Program and enrolling as a full-time student.

Dedicated Army National Guard (DEDNG) Scholarship

Who can apply: National Guard members who meet universal requirements can apply for the DEDNG Scholarship. The scholarship renews for up to four years but does not combine with some GI Bill benefits.

Award amount: $10,000 annually plus a textbook and housing stipend

Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarship

Who can apply: National Guard members in their junior year of college can apply to the GRFD Scholarship. The scholarship renews as long as learners maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA. Learners eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill receive additional financial assistance.

Award amount: $10,000 annually plus a textbook and housing stipend

AFBA NGAUS Active Life Member Scholarship

Who can apply: The National Guard awards this scholarship to veterans and their dependents with NGAUS membership. Full-time undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers qualify for the award. Interested students must apply between March 1 - June 1.

Award amount: $5,000

Schools of Interest

Many top colleges and universities award scholarships for veterans. Scholarship opportunities and requirements vary by school. Students should contact a financial aid advisor to learn more and apply.

Texas A&M University - Anna and S. Ray Huffiness '74 Military Appreciation Scholarship

Who can apply: This scholarship opportunity awards funding to TAMU students with a parent who was killed in action or became 100% disabled due to combat injuries. Interested students can learn more by contacting the university's Veteran Services Office.

Award amount: Varies

University of Maryland, University College - Veterans Assistance Fund

Who can apply: University of Maryland students with an honorable discharge from any military branch can apply to this award. Candidates need at least nine undergraduate credits and a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also submit the FAFSA.

Award amount: Up to $3,000

American Legion

A nonprofit organization, the American Legion advocates for the nation's millions of veterans and played an essential role in the GI Bill's passage in 1944. The organization awards scholarships for veterans and their dependents.

Legacy Scholarship

Who can apply: College students may qualify for this award if at least one parent died in combat or became 50% disabled during their service since September 11, 2001. Scholarship recipients can use the award to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Award amount: Up to $20,000

Samsung Scholarship

Who can apply: Electronics manufacturer Samsung partnered with the American Legion to help military dependents in their junior and senior year of high school. Applicants must possess membership in the American Legion Auxiliary and apply by February 1.

Award amount: $1,250-$10,000

Military Branches

Military branches support service members and veterans with targeted scholarship programs. Eligibility may extend to dependents, depending on the scholarship. A commanding officer may offer additional information about these and other awards.

Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program

Who can apply: Active-duty enlisted service members can apply to the ASCP to advance their education and career in the U.S. Air Force. Requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA. Graduates receive a commission as an officer.

Award amount: Up to $15,000 plus a textbook allowance

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

Who can apply: The CPOSF awards funding to naval chief petty officers' dependents. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. Application materials include a resume and three recommendation letters.

Award amount: $2,000-$2,500

Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program

Who can apply: This need-based scholarship awards funding to military spouses with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The scholarship offers four annual application windows. Applicants must submit the FAFSA.

Award amount: Varies

Nonprofit Organizations

Many nonprofit organizations sponsor scholarships for veterans and scholarships for veterans' dependents. They may limit applicants to individuals who served in combat or those from a specific military branch.

Air Force Association - Colonel Aaron Burgstein Memorial Scholarship

Who can apply: The AFA awards this annual scholarship to children of Air Force service members. Application materials include a 600-word essay, official transcripts, and one recommendation letter. Candidates must apply by April 30.

Award amount: $1,000

FRA Education Foundation Scholarship

Who can apply: Active-duty service members earning an undergraduate or graduate degree may qualify for this competitive scholarship. Applicants must submit an essay, recommendation letter, personal statement, and resume. Interested students must apply by April 15.

Award amount: $5,000

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation - Undergraduate & Associate Degree Scholarship

Who can apply: Marines and their dependents earning an undergraduate degree can apply for this scholarship. Grandchildren may qualify in limited circumstances. Requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA and an income below $106,000.

Award amount: Varies

How to Get Veteran and Dependent Scholarships

Veterans and dependents applying for military-exclusive scholarships must meet unique requirements, such as possessing proper documentation. However, other application steps resemble those that all scholarship applicants typically complete, such as submitting transcripts and recommendation letters.

In addition to the following recommendations, students can consult their school's financial aid office for more information. The internet also provides degree-seekers with essential scholarship application tips.

Steps to Applying for Scholarships

Start As Soon As Possible

Prospective and current degree-seekers should start researching scholarships for veterans as soon as possible, as most scholarships use only one annual application deadline. Additionally, some scholarships are offered on a first come, first served basis.

Identify Recommenders

Many scholarships for veterans and scholarships for children of veterans require one or more recommendation letters. Scholarships may request letters from a commanding officer or work supervisor. If the scholarship does not specify recommenders, other options for recommenders include a high school or college professor.

Gather Necessary Documentation

In addition to proof of military affiliation, typical scholarship application documentation includes academic transcripts and recommendation letters. Some awards also require a work sample, a resume, an essay, and/or a photograph.

Write an Essay

An essay allows scholarship applicants to introduce themselves to the scholarship committee. Applicants should take care to stick to the essay prompt, as deviating from the assigned topic may make an applicant ineligible. Applicants can ask another person to read their essay and provide feedback before submitting it.

Submit Scholarship on Time

Students should pay close attention to scholarship deadlines. Some scholarships need applications in hand by a specific date, while others consider applications with a postmark by the due date.

3 Tips for Getting a Scholarship

Have Proof of Military Affiliation

Scholarships for veterans may require applicants to submit the DD Form 214. This form certifies a person's retirement or discharge from the armed forces. It also details a veteran's military service record, awards, and other essential information. Veterans can use the form for scholarships and other services, such as obtaining medical care and planning a military funeral.

Engage in Community Service

Scholarship applicants who complete community service demonstrate that they possess a passion for improving other people's lives. Options available in most communities include volunteering at a food bank, building homes for people with low incomes, and working at a soup kitchen. Organizations can help prospective volunteers research and sign up for opportunities in their area.

Follow Directions

Scholarship committees appreciate applicants who follow all instructions. Some scholarship committees disqualify applicants for even simple mistakes, such as leaving part of the application blank. If a scholarship committee requests missing materials, students should reply to them as soon as possible.

Additional Resources for Military Veterans and Their Families

This comprehensive resource outlines how readers can attain scholarships for veterans. The site also features scholarship opportunities aligning with different vocational fields, such as automotive repair, cosmetology, and culinary school. The government allows service members and veterans with at least six years' active-duty experience to transfer GI Bill benefits to their dependents. This guide outlines the process for transferring benefits to a spouse or child. This resource explains how service members and veterans can use their benefits. The resource covers topics like the FAFSA, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the importance of military transcripts. Other resources include links to exclusive scholarship opportunities. The Forever GI Bill makes using and transferring benefits easier than the law's prior versions. This guide details these changes and how veterans and their families benefit.

President of Tuition Funding Sources

From the Expert

Q. Why should veterans and their dependents apply for scholarships even if they have military education benefits available to them?

The amount of aid for veterans varies among programs. Each program places some exceptions or limitations on benefits. Veterans should use scholarship funds to pay for any tuition, housing, fees, or books not covered by their benefits. Dependents of veterans may or may not be covered by the benefit programs, making scholarships even more important for them.

Q. Is it possible that scholarships might clash with military education benefits? How can students ensure this does not happen?

Scholarships do not typically clash with military education benefits. Scholarship sponsors want their funds to be used and will make sure their awards are available to veterans or their dependents without any complications or conflicts with their existing military benefit programs.

Q. What tips can you offer veterans concerning searching and applying for scholarships?

The best advice is to apply often and early. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Many scholarships are available to anyone. Treat the application process like a part-time job, spending a few hours each week searching and applying. Winning a scholarship requires effort and discipline, which should give veterans a head start.

Applying early improves applicants' chances of their application being seen and carefully reviewed by the selection committee. Early applications have a much better chance of creating a positive impression. Most students procrastinate and apply near the deadline, making it difficult for their application to stand out and be seen.

Richard Sorenson

Richard Sorensen, president of Tuition Funding Sources, founded the scholarship database in 1987. Tuition Funding Sources has been helping students find money for college for over 30 years, offering more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.

Thomas Broderick

Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

See articles by Thomas

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