Your Guide to Scholarships for Military Children

Everything you need to know about how to apply for and get scholarships for military children

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The members of the United States Armed Forces made the decision to protect our country, and their service is appreciated by us everyday. Making the choice to serve your country isn’t an easy one, as it can have repercussions for service members and their families as well. And no matter which branch of the military someone has served in, their children, spouse, and family are very proud of them. 

The U.S. government has a variety of programs in place designed to benefit active military members as well as veterans, to let them know we appreciate their service, sacrifice, and the time they spent defending our country. One such program is offering scholarships specifically for families of military service members, including their children. These scholarships have been put in place to ensure the children of our heroic veterans are given every opportunity to succeed in their educational endeavors. 

But who can apply for these kinds of scholarships, and where do you find scholarships for military children? Keep reading, because in this guide we’re going to discuss:

  • Who qualifies for military scholarships for children
  • What scholarship funds can be used for
  • Where to find scholarships for military children
  • The types of scholarships available
  • Tips for applying to scholarships for military children

Who Qualifies for Scholarships for Military Children?

How do you know if you qualify for these types of scholarships?

a military family including military children
There are a variety of scholarships available for children of military service members. Image courtesy of Moving with the Military.

One of the first things you should consider when looking for scholarships for military children is to determine who qualifies to receive this type of aid. For most scholarships directed at this group, you are going to need to be a dependent child whose parent served in any branch of the military. This includes whether that parent is still actively serving, is deceased, or has since retired or was honorably discharged and is now considered a veteran. 

However, in addition to any scholarships that might be available to military children, did you know if your parent or parents served in the armed forces you may qualify for additional aid?

The Montgomery G.I. bill that was so instrumental in helping servicemen pay for college post-World War II has been revamped, and now you can pass those educational benefits onto military children. The Post-9/11 G.I. bill now covers the full cost of in-state tuition at state schools when a military parent transfers their benefits to a dependent child. 

In order to make that transfer to their children, military service members must have at least 10 years of service, children must use these benefits within 15 years after their parent leaves the military, and once they’re transferred they need to have completed their education by the age of 26.

In addition to being able to transfer their G.I. benefits children, many schools have also agreed to support the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which can provide additional monetary assistance. If you decide not to go to an in-state school, and would rather go to a private institution or one that is out of state, this program might be able to assist you.

These two programs can offer the children of military service members some great options when trying to find a way to pay for college. In addition to these specific benefits, make sure you also look into:

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work study
  • A 529 college savings plan

Did you know that some scholarships are also open to the grandchildren of vets or active duty service members? That’s right, if your grandfather or grandmother served you may also qualify for certain scholarships, so don’t rule out any until you have a chance to read the fine print.

Now let’s discuss in more detail just exactly what these scholarships and programs can cover for children of military service members.

What Can Military Children’s Scholarships be Used For?

How can you use the funds from your scholarship?

college books in a library
Scholarship funds are designed to help you pay for your college tuition. Image courtesy of BookDeal

If you’re a dependent child of a military member and your parent transfers their G.I. benefits to you, that’s great news. Now, you just have to decide which school you’d like to attend. If you choose an in-state school, this benefit will pay for four years of education at a public institution. You may also qualify for additional benefits to cover the extra costs such as books and supplies.

However, if you choose to go out of state for school or want to attend a private university, this bill will cover up to $17,500 of your tuition. Depending on the cost of the school you’re attending, this can make a serious dent in your tuition. 

If you need to fill in the gaps that a transferred G.I. bill leaves out, not to worry, there are plenty of scholarships you can apply for to pay for:

  • Housing
  • Textbooks
  • Other miscellaneous fees
  • Spending money

If your parent is unable to transfer their G.I. bill benefits to you since they have already retired or have been honorably discharged, not to worry! There are still plenty of scholarships for military children out there that can help you pay for your tuition as well as any other additional expenses. 

Where Can You Find Scholarships for Military Children?

Where are the best places to look for scholarships for military children?

military child applying to scholarships
The internet isn’t the only place to look for scholarships for military children! Image courtesy of PCMag.

When you’re ready to start searching for possible scholarships, there are a variety of places you can start to look. The best place is online, and simply googling scholarships for military children is sure to bring you back a bunch of different sites offering all kinds of ideas. Some of our favorite sites include:

Just a quick glance at any of these sites and you’ll see lists of different scholarships you can apply to. In addition to online, make sure you also check out your local clubs, governing bodies, and businesses. Many rotary clubs, local governance boards, and companies may offer scholarship money specifically for children of military parents. Make sure you also check at your state governance offices for scholarships. Some states offer scholarships for residents who are children of military parents.

If you need additional options, you can always check with your guidance counselor or with your school’s financial aid department. 

What Kinds of Scholarships for Military Children Are There?

Check out these scholarship options if you’re a child of military parents

woman smiling while applying to scholarships
Applying for scholarships is easy once you know where to look. Image courtesy of The Tech Learn.

While there are all kinds of scholarships for military children, we’ve collected a list of some that you should definitely apply to. This list is not exhaustive, so if you’re still looking for additional scholarship funds, remember to try your local and state government offices too.


A great place to start is with the AMVETS if you’re a child or grandchild of a U.S. veteran who is a high school senior. In order to qualify, your parent or grandparent must have been honorably discharged from service or are on active duty. Those who qualify for this scholarship must also be already enrolled in a four year college or university, free of federal convictions, and have a demonstrated financial need, among other qualifications. 

Scholarships for Military Children

The Scholarship for Military Children is another good place to get funds to pay for college. There are 500 grants that are given out each school year in the amount of $2,000 each. Parents must be on active duty or honorably discharged and their children must be enrolled or planning to enroll in a four year school. If you’re planning to apply, make sure you have a 3.0 GPA as a high school senior, or if you’re already in college, have a 2.5 GPA.

Heroes Legacy Scholarship

The Heroes Legacy Scholarship is for those military children whose parent:

  • Died while on active duty since 9/11
  • Were disabled since 9/11 and receive total disability compensation

In order to qualify, you must be under the age of 23, plan to enroll/are enrolled in a four year school, and are unmarried. The amount of the scholarship award varies, since funds come from corporate sponsorship, book proceeds, and private donations.

Society of Daughters of the U.S. Army

The Society of Daughters of the U.S. Army offers a scholarship to the daughters and granddaughters (including step daughters or adopted daughters) of veterans and active duty parents or grandparents who have 20 or more years of service, are retired/discharged after 20 years of service, or who died while on active duty. This scholarship is designed to cover academic expenses only, and applicants should maintain a 3.0 GPA. 

Veterans United Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship is open to those military children whose parent had a service-related death or receive 100% disability compensation from a service-related incident. The scholarship can be used to pursue undergrad, graduate, post-graduate, or a doctoral degree.

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

The Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund is for the children of those that achieved the rank of Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief Petty Officer of the United States Navy. Their parents can be on active duty, retired, honorably discharged, or deceased to qualify for this scholarship. There are two $5,000 scholarships and at least 20 $2,000 scholarships given out each year to military children who meet these qualifications.

Tips for Apply for Military Scholarships

Some of our top tips for applying to your scholarships

If you’re planning on applying to any of these scholarships, that’s great to hear. Remember, there are other ones out there for military families as well, so remember to do your research! We thought we’d leave you with some of our top tips and tricks for applying to these military children scholarships, as well as any additional ones you may qualify for.

  1. Create a list of scholarships and stick to a schedule

Spend some time doing research and find out which scholarships you qualify for. If you’re looking specifically for scholarships for military children, make sure you list those that you’d most want to receive.

However, if you’re looking for other scholarships based on gender, ethnicity, achievements, or other interests, make sure you keep those lists separate. You don’t want to get confused over which scholarships you’ve applied to!

Then stick to a schedule and keep applying. The more you apply to, the greater your chances of winning some. You’ll notice some of the scholarships ask for the same information, so make sure you always have that handy. 

  1. Apply early

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for a scholarship. Prioritize what deadlines are coming up, and schedule your application time accordingly. Remember, you can never apply too early for a scholarship. As long as it’s open for applications, you can apply.

If the application asks for letters of recommendation, make sure you ask the people who are writing them for you well in advance so you’re not waiting for them to complete your application at the last minute.

  1. Follow all directions

Some scholarships ask for a lot of information and go into more depth than others, and that’s okay. Just make sure you don’t rush those essays and allot a good amount of time to considering your answers. Double check you’ve done everything and included all that was requested before sending.

  1. Keep track of your applications and don’t give up

Make a spreadsheet of all the scholarships you’ve applied to and the date of application. You should also make a note when you’ve received a response to your application, that way you’re always on top of the situation. Don’t give up and keep applying, there are a lot of scholarship opportunities out there!

If you’re thinking of applying to scholarships for military children, there are a lot of resources available to you. Remember to target those that you’re qualified for and keep applying.

Bridget Houlihan
Bridget is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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