Scholarships for Military Spouses and Children: Finding and Applying for the Best Scholarships For You

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Military Scholarships for Dependents - Spouses and Children
Looking for help paying for college? Grants and scholarships for military spouses and children are available throughout the year.
Table of Contents
  1. Scholarship Benefits
  2. 7 Tips to Find and Apply for Scholarships
    1. Tip #1: Know Where to Look
    2. Tip #2: Don’t Limit Yourself to Military Scholarships
    3. Tip #3: Search Within Your Military Community
    4. Tip #4: Don’t Just Apply to the Big Scholarships
    5. Tip #5: Make Applying For Scholarships Your Part-Time Job
    6. Tip #6: Tailor Your Essay
    7. Tip #7: Use Perfect Grammar Every Time
  3. Top Military Scholarships for Spouses and Children
    1. Air Force Association
    2. Army Emergency Relief
    3. Association of the United States Army
    4. Coast Guard Foundation
    5. Fisher House Scholarships for Military Children
    6. Folds of Honor
    7. Fry Scholarships
    8. Navy Wives Clubs of America
    9. ThanksUSA
    10. The Society of Daughters of The United States Army
    11. Wings Over America
  4. More Ways to Pay for Education

Even though the cost of higher education has been increasing faster than inflation for decades,  higher education doesn’t necessarily have to be accompanied by debt. Grants and scholarships for military children, military spouses, and other military-connected students are available throughout the year, and unlike loans, they never need to be paid back.

Scholarship Benefits

The best part of scholarships is that they never need to be paid back. 

The second-best scholarship news is that some require minimal effort. Spending the time to sort through scholarship applications and deadlines online might be the most time consuming. After you know what you’re applying for and when it’s due, any scholarships simply require your basic personal information and a short essay or personal statement.

7 Tips to Find and Apply for Scholarships

Read on to learn seven tips for finding and applying for the best scholarships for military-connected students.

Tip #1: Know Where to Look

Searching for scholarships can feel overwhelming because there are thousands of scholarships out there and many resources for finding them available online. You don’t want to spend your time sorting through pages and pages of scholarships you aren’t eligible for. That’s why it’s helpful to use tools to help you find and sort through any military-connected scholarships you qualify for.

Militaryscholar.org, a military scholarship database hosted by the Fisher House Foundation, can point you in the direction of many military-specific scholarships you may qualify for. 
Other scholarship databases such as Fastweb.com can help match you with both military and non-military scholarships.

Tip #2: Don’t Limit Yourself to Military Scholarships

While being connected to the military can be a large part of our identities, it’s not the only thing that qualifies you for scholarships. Business associations and nonprofit organizations with different goals all offer scholarships aimed towards certain populations. In fact, there are scholarships out there for just about anything you can think of. Are you a first-generation college student? Are you a golf-lover? Are you left-handed? Do you love community service or poetry-writing?

Expand your search beyond military-specific scholarships to find the most opportunities.

Tip #3: Search Within Your Military Community

Associations, clubs, and organizations frequently have membership- or location-based scholarships available. Your local spouses’ club may have an annual scholarship fund set up to help spouses and dependents pursuing higher education, for example. Don’t overlook opportunities near you.

Tip #4: Don’t Just Apply to the Big Scholarships

The larger the scholarship award amounts, the more people are likely to apply for it. Expressing interest in and applying for less well-known scholarships will increase your chances of standing out.

Tip #5: Make Applying For Scholarships Your Part-Time Job

Don’t apply for just one scholarship, or even apply for scholarships at only one time of the year. Scholarships due dates are rolling throughout the year, and new scholarships become available monthly. Make it part of your weekly routine to research and apply for scholarships. 

It may be the most lucrative part-time job you ever have.

Tip #6: Tailor Your Essay

Readers can easily tell if someone has repurposed an essay or tweaked it to meet their requirements. Nothing gives you away faster than forgetting to change the organization’s name or submission date in your application and essay.

Tip #7: Use Perfect Grammar Every Time

When it comes to grammar and spelling mistakes, make sure you’ve corrected them. Bad grammar makes a negative impression on the reader and often times scholarship reviewers quickly move on to the next applicant once they’ve found an error.

Top Military Scholarships for Spouses and Children

Many more scholarships exist online for military-connected students than are on this list. Use this as a jumping-off point to getting scholarship money for your higher-education pursuits.

Air Force Association

Where: Air Force Association 

Who: Eligibility is dependent on scholarship opportunity. Scholarships available for Air Force and Space Force active duty, retired, veterans, spouses, and children

What: Multiple scholarships are available for varying amounts

When: Application cycle runs from December 1 until April 30

Army Emergency Relief

Where: Army Emergency Relief, MG James Ursano Scholarship Program 

Who: Children of Army Soldiers obtaining their first undergraduate degree

What: Award amounts vary 

When: Application cycle runs from January 1 until April 1

Association of the United States Army

Where: Association of the United States Army 

Who: Eligibility is dependent on scholarship opportunity. Scholarships available for active duty, retired, veterans, National Guard, and Reserve service members, as well as spouses, and children

What: Multiple scholarships are available for varying amounts

When: Applications open in February

Coast Guard Foundation

Where: Coast Guard Foundation 

Who: Spouses and children of enlisted Coast Guard members, children of fallen Coast Guard members, and enlisted Coast Guard members.

What: Award amounts vary

When: Dates will be posted in February

Fisher House Scholarships for Military Children

Where: Fisher House Scholarships for Military Children 

Who: Children whose parent(s) are serving, or have served, in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard.

What: $2,000

When: Applications are due by February 17

Folds of Honor

Where: Folds of Honor 

Who: Military spouse or children of a member of the Armed Forces 

What: Award amounts vary. Scholarships available for a spouse or child obtaining a first bachelor’s degree. Scholarships available for child primary and secondary education tuition or tutoring services. 

When: Application cycle runs from February 1 until March 31

Fry Scholarships

Where: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship 

Who: Spouse or children of an active-duty service member who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001

What: Up to 36 months of benefits, including money for tuition, housing, books, and supplies

When: Continual basis

Navy Wives Clubs of America

Where: Navy Wives Club of America 

Who: Spouses and children of an enlisted member of the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard

What: Multiple scholarships are available for varying amounts

When: Applications due by March 31

ThanksUSA

Where: ThanksUSA 

Who: Military spouses and college-age children obtaining their first undergraduate degree

What: Scholarships are $3,000

When: Application cycle runs from March 1 until April 15

The Society of Daughters of The United States Army

Where: The Society of Daughter of The United States Army 

Who: Daughter, granddaughter, stepdaughter, or adopted daughter of a career commissioned or warrant officer in the United States Army

What: Scholarships are $1,500

When: Application due by March 15

Wings Over America

Where: Wings Over America Foundation 

Who: Navy Aviation dependent child or spouse

What: Award amounts vary

When: Pre-qualification deadline is February 1

More Ways to Pay for Education

  • These tips and tricks and accompanying scholarship lists are a great place to start your journey to pay for higher education. Don’t let that be the end, though. To qualify for more grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, and federal loans, you need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 
  • If your parent who served qualified for GI Bill benefits, it’s possible for them to transfer the benefit to you. Find out more about military benefits, including the GI Bill, with The Military Wallet.
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About Meredith Morales

Meredith is a military spouse who has experienced the struggles of managing PCS moves, handling family finances, waiting through NTC rotations, and preparing for her husband’s upcoming deployment.

Before joining the military community, Meredith worked in Tacoma, Washington. There, she supported Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Service members, civilian employees, and their families by building and promoting programs for transit, bikes, carpools, and vanpools.

At JBLM Meredith was introduced to her US Army husband. They now reside in El Paso, Texas, with their Boston terrier mix.

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