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Identity-Based Scholarship Series: Scholarships for Students from Military Families

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Robyn Stewart

Written by Robyn Stewarton November 7th, 2021

Prior to joining College Coach, I was a financial aid officer at the College of the Holy Cross and an education advisor at two TRIO program locations. I work with the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority (MEFA) to present paying for college workshops to hundreds of families across the state. I'm a graduate of UMass Amherst and have a master in counseling from Northeastern University.
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Scholarships are a way to close the gap between the cost of attendance at a college and a family’s own resources. Among the many scholarships that students can apply for are those that are established to support students based upon the ways they define themselves. There is no comprehensive list of identity-based scholarships; professional associations, companies, non-profit entities, religious organizations, political groups, and colleges and universities are among the many sponsors of scholarships that may be awarded in part based upon a student’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or presence of a disability. Bright Horizons College Coach wants to help ensure that students from all backgrounds have access to the resources they need to achieve their educational goals and has therefore launched this monthly scholarship series to help students pinpoint funding opportunities based upon their unique identities. Check out the below resources, along with the other posts in the series, and you may discover funding sources that will make covering that college bill a little (or a lot!) easier. This month, we look at scholarship resources for students from military families. Note that the below list is not exhaustive, but is intended to provide a starting place for students from military families to launch their scholarship searches. Your high school’s counseling office, general scholarship search sites like, and college websites can also provide useful scholarship information.
  • The Fisher House provides a variety of services, including college funding to military spouses and dependents. The Scholarships for Military Children Program awards 500 annual awards to students whose parent(s) are currently serving in or are retired from any branch of the US military.
  • Learn more about the U.S. government’s federal education benefit programs that may be available to your family. The Yellow Ribbon Program helps fund students who want to study at out-of-state, private, or graduate schools.
  • The Army Scholarship Foundation administers a number of scholarship programs for spouses and dependents of reserve, active duty, honorably discharged, or deceased members of the US National Guard/Army. Students use a centralized application for consideration.
  • Financial assistance is available from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society for children of active duty, retired, or deceased members. Students must be pursuing a full-time course of study at an eligible institution. Interest-free loans and grants range from $500-$3,000 annually.
  • The James Ursano Scholarship Program is need-based grant for dependents of Army servicemen. Students must complete the FAFSA if applying for this scholarship.
  • American Veterans Organization (AMVETS) membership is open to members of all branches of the U.S. Military. AMVETS’ scholarship programs are designed to fill the financial gap after any federal program eligibility.
Remember, students are expected to report outside scholarships they receive to their college, and receipt of scholarships may impact other parts of a student’s financial aid award. It is best practice to reach out to the Financial Aid Office at your college for clarification of awarding policies. Best of luck, and please see the awarding organization’s website for full scholarship details and program opportunities. 

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