Resource Center, TAPS Top Picks for Scholarships

Author: TAPS

Now that school is back in session, it’s a good time to start planning for your future at college, whether you are a high school senior, surviving spouse, or young adult whose parent has died in military service. When applying for educational and financial resources, the large range of differing requirements and eligibilities can make the scholarship search a grueling process.  

graduation cap

Here at TAPS we understand that the entire application procedure can be overwhelming, so we have sorted through many of the scholarships available to families of the fallen. Listed below are the Casework Assistance team’s top picks for scholarships and educational resources. Our criteria for judging included recipient eligibility, allowed allocation of funds, average dollar amount, and ease of application. Although there may be many more resources available to specific individuals, this list will get you started.

From time to time, the rules for eligibility, amounts offered, and deadlines for application can change, so be sure to visit each website for the scholarships you are interested in pursuing. Contact information and complete details can be found on the websites.  

The American Legion, Legion Legacy Scholarships

WEBSITE: legion.org/scholarships/legacy

Eligibility: Dependent children of a service member who died on active duty are eligible. Applicants must be high school seniors or high school graduates.

Allocation: Grants for educational assistance are based upon income level.

Deadline: Applications must be postmarked no later than April 15.

The Children of Fallen Patriots Fund 

WEBSITE: fallenpatriots.org

Eligibility: Dependent children of a service member who died in the line of duty are eligible. Applicants do not have to be college age to enroll for future assistance, and educational counseling can be provided as college approaches.

Allocation: Grants assist with educational costs related to tuition, books, fees, room and board, supplies, etc. Funds are paid out directly to the educational institution.

The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund

WEBSITE: cfsrf.org

Eligibility: Dependent children and spouses of a service member who died in connection to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), or Operation New Dawn (OND) are eligible.

Allocation: Funds are distributed prior to the fall and spring college semesters. Amounts of each grant are dependent upon availability of funds and level of need.   

Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

WEBSITE: gibill.va.gov/benefits (PDF)

Eligibility: Children of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible. A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible.

Allocation: Scholarships pay for full tuition and fees paid directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools, tuition and fees are capped at $17,500 per academic year. Students attending a private institute of higher learning in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Texas may be eligible for a higher tuition reimbursement rate. A monthly housing allowance as well as a stipend for books and supplies is included. 

Fisher House Foundation’s Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship 

WEBSITE: militaryscholar.org

Eligibility: Scholarships are offered in partnership with the National Military Family Association to spouses of active duty, guard and reserve, deceased, or retired service members.

Allocation: Scholarships aid in paying for tuition, fees, and room and board for GED or ESL, vocational training, professional certification, post-secondary school, and graduate school for in-class or on-line courses on a full-time or part-time basis.

Deadline: March 1

Fisher House Foundation’s Military Children Scholarship Program

WEBSITE: militaryscholar.org 

Eligibility: Scholarships are offered in partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency to dependent unmarried children under age 23 of active duty personnel, reserve/guard, and retired military members; survivors of service members who died while on active duty; or survivors of individuals who died while receiving retired pay from the military.

Allocation: Awards provide for payment of tuition, books, lab fees, and other related expenses.

The Folds of Honor Foundation Children’s Scholarship Fund

WEBSITE: foldsofhonor.org

Eligibility: Dependent children of a service member who died in the line of duty are eligible. The service member must have been deployed in support of OEF, OIF, or OND. Applicants must be in grade K-12.

Allocation: Scholarships up to $5,000 subsidize tuition, tutoring school uniforms, books, fees, after school educational programs, and approved educational summer camps. 

The Folds of Honor Foundation Immediate Use Scholarship

WEBSITE: foldsofhonor.org

Eligibility: Dependent spouses and children of a service member who died in the line of duty are eligible. Applicants must be currently attending, or must have been accepted at, a college or vocational, technical, or certification program.

Allocation: Funds of up to $5,000 ($2,500 per semester) are awarded for use toward expenses.

Deadline: November 15 for spring 2012-13.  

The Folds of Honor Foundation Future Use Scholarship

WEBSITE: foldsofhonor.org  
Eligibility: Dependent children of a service member who died in the line of duty are eligible. Applicants are enrolled from infancy up to 11th grade. 
Allocation: Scholarships of $5,000 are placed in a college fund for when the child starts college.

Hope for the Warriors

WEBSITE: hopeforthewarriors.org

Eligibility: Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 11, 2001 are eligible.

Allocation: Financial assistance is awarded for continued education at accredited universities, colleges, and trade schools. Scholarship awards of $5,000 are made co-payable to the scholarship recipient's institution for payment of tuition, books, and supplies. The scholarship may be applied for each year for up to four years for a maximum benefit of $20,000.

Deadline: See website for spring and fall deadlines.

Survivors and Dependents Assistance (DEA) 

WEBSITE: gibill.va.gov/benefits/

Eligibility: Scholarships are offered to children and spouses of veterans who died, are totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability, or are missing in action or captured. There are also periods of eligibility related to age and/or time elapsed since the VA has qualified the recipient as eligible.

Allocation: The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits are to be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Spouses may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

A final word

As you begin your scholarship search, remember that TAPS is here for you. Our Casework Assistance department is available to help you research scholarships and walk you through every step of funding your education. Call us at 800-959-TAPS(8277) for more information about the scholarships listed here or other opportunities, including state-specific, National Guard, and alternate-eligibility scholarships.