This is a unique installation of my ongoing Military Scholarship series. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know that I put out a post a month with upcoming scholarships for military spouses, service members, and dependents. This post will focus on scholarships that are specifically for the family members of fallen or disabled service members.
Most of these scholarships and grants are available to surviving spouses and children of service members who have deceased or become disabled due to combat casualties, military training accidents, service-related illnesses, suicide, as well as other duty-related deaths as ruled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some scholarships have more specific eligibility requirements, always check the site! If there is no deadline listed, the scholarship/grant accepts applications throughout the year.
Don’t forget that many of the monthly scholarship listings also accept applications from survivors.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship
Description: The Fry Scholarship is run through the Department of Veterans Affairs and is a VA benefit open to all who meet the eligibility requirements.
You may be eligible for Fry Scholarship benefits if you’re the child or surviving spouse of an active-duty service member who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001.
As the child of a service member
- You can be married or unmarried.
- If you turned 18 or graduated from high school before January 1, 2013, you can get a Fry Scholarship until you’re 33 years old.
- If you turn 18 or graduate from high school after January 1, 2013, you can get a Fry Scholarship at any age over 18 or after you graduate (whichever comes first).
- If your parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, you may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program. But you can use only one program at a time. We cap combined benefits at 81 months of full-time training.
Read about the DEA program
- If you’re receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you’ll need to give up those payments when you start to use the Fry Scholarship.
Read about DIC
As the spouse of a service member
- If you remarry, you’ll no longer be eligible for the Fry Scholarship.
- You can still get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments while using the Fry Scholarship.
Amount: Up to 36 months of tuition payments, up to the yearly cap, plus books and housing allowances. Many schools also participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, which covers some or all of tuition remaining after the GI Bill Benefits are exhausted.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
Description: DEA is a VA program that provides educational benefits to I the child or spouse of a Veteran or service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities. You may be able to get these benefits if both you and the Veteran or service member meet certain eligibility requirements.
One of the descriptions listed below must be true. The Veteran or service member:
- 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 (held) 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 and is likely to be discharged for that disability (effective December 23, 2006)
If you’re the child of a Veteran or service member:
- You can get benefits if you’re between the ages of 18 and 26, except in certain cases. You may be married or unmarried.
- If you’re over 18 years old and using DEA, you can’t get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from us.
- If you join the military, you can’t use this benefit while on active duty. And if you want to use this benefit after you leave the service, you can’t have a dishonorable discharge. Military service can extend your eligibility, but this increase doesn’t usually go past your 31st birthday.
If you’re the spouse of a Veteran or service member
- Your benefits start on the date we conclude that you qualify or on the date of the Veteran’s death, and last for 10 years.
- If we rated the Veteran as permanently and totally disabled, with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge, you’ll qualify for benefits for 20 years from that effective date. This new policy began on October 10, 2008. We won’t pay benefits for training you started before this date.
- If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
- You can get DIC payments from us and use DEA benefits.
Amount: Monthly rate based on enrollment. $1,265 per month for full-time attendance in fiscal year 2021, which runs from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021.
Fallen Patriots Grants
Description: Fallen Patriots helps dependent children of deceased service members pay for college education. There are a variety of available opportunities listed, and there is no yearly deadline, they are always accepting applications.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Description: This scholarship helps fund college for surviving children of Special Operations personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty and children of Special Operations personnel who were awarded the Medal of Honor.
Amount: “full educational support”
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Description: Children of military personnel who died or were injured in the line of duty are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be in their senior year of high school or currently pursuing a higher education degree, and must be under 26 years of age. This scholarship can be renewed up to three times!
Maine Veteran’s Dependents Educational Benefits
Description: Maine provides a waiver of tuition and fees for spouses and dependents of service members who became disabled or lost their lives as a result of service. This covers Maine state schools including the University of Maine system, Maine Community Colleges, and the Maine Maritime Academy. Applicants must complete a Pell grant, so check the page for details!
Amount: 100% of the cost of education
Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
Deadline: 90 calendar days prior to the date tuition and mandatory fees are due
Description: Virginia provides education benefits to spouses and children of servicemembers killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or disabled as a result of service. These benefits are available to eligible applicants at Virginia public colleges or universities.
Amount: waiver of all tuition and mandatory fees
Hero’s Legacy Scholarship
Deadline: 17 February 2021
Description: “The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships program honors not only those who have fallen in battle, but all who have died or have become disabled through their active military service since September 11, 2001.” Unmarried, dependent children under the age of 23 are eligible for this program. Check the specific details if you are not sure if you qualify.
Folded Flag Foundation
Deadline: 15 May every year
Description: Spouses of all ages or dependent children under the age of 26 are eligible for this scholarship. The applicant must be a survivor of a deceased servicemember, and must be pursuing a full-time education.
Veteran’s United Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: not yet updated for 2021
Description: This scholarship is available for a surviving spouse or surviving child of a service member who died or became disabled due to service pursuing a higher education degree.
If you belong to an organization that has a scholarship for military service members, veterans, spouses, kids, or other family members, please let me know. I’d love to include it in my list!
Cecelia P. Heath says
My husband is a 20 year retired Army veteran, permanently disabled. when he passes away will i receive any pay at all. We have been married 8 years. Thank you
Kate Horrell says
Cecelia, there are two possible payments you may be eligible to receive. If he/you signed up for the Survivor Benefit Plan, that would provide a continuation of a portion of his retirement pay. https://www.katehorrell.com/survivor-benefit-plan/
If he receives VA disability compensation, you may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/