Are there Scholarships for Military Dependents?

As the dependent of someone who currently or previously served in the military, you may qualify for a scholarship without even knowing it. These programs allow those related to service members to apply for additional aid that they can use in combination with federal loans, grants and other air programs. Though you can apply for many of these assistance programs online, you may find that you need to write a compelling essay or submit proof of your relationship with that service member.

Who Qualifies?

A dependent is someone who has a close relationship to someone currently enlisted or someone who previously served. While siblings, parents and nieces or nephews do not qualify, children and spouses do. Some programs will also award packages to the step-children of an enlisted or retired individual. Most programs let children apply when they are still in high school or under the age of 25. If your parents can still claim you on your taxes when you reach an older age, you may still qualify for some assistance.

Types of Programs

One question you may ask is about where you can find these programs and who offers these programs. Each branch has financial aid programs available to those related to a service member. The Army offers a program open to the children and spouses of a service member killed in the line of duty, and the Air Force offers a program that lets the spouses and children of retired personnel apply for financial help. You can also check for similar programs available through your own state. Several states, including Iowa and Montana, offer grant and financial aid packages for students who are either married or the children or an active or retired military service man or woman.

How Much Can You Get?

The amount that you can get from one of these scholarship programs depends on the program itself. Some programs offer a small stipend of around $300 to $500. While that might not seem like a lot of money, it can cover the textbooks that you need for an entire semester. You can also combine benefit packages to cover more of your costs. Though some programs give you more money, these may be a one time only package that you get when you first enroll in college. Other programs let you get more cash each semester or school year until you reach the cap put in place by that program.

Applying for Assistance

Many of these tuition assistance programs require that you show documented proof of the relationship you have with a service person, which means submitting your birth certificate, tax documents or similar paperwork. Others require that you write an essay as part of your application. U.S. News & World Report recommends that you write a topic that you feel passionate about and that you have someone look over your essay before submitting it. Grammatical errors and misspelled words may keep you from getting the money you need.

As the child or spouse of someone who served his or her country, you can get money from financial aid programs and even your state government. Dependent scholarship programs are open to those related to military members who need a small amount of money to pay their expenses and those who need help paying for their entire tuition.