What is the Fry Scholarship?

The Fry Scholarship is a military benefits program that provides educational assistance to the surviving family members of service members who died while on active duty. Below explains who is eligible and how to apply for these benefits.

A Quick Introduction

Fry Scholarships were created in memory of Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry. They are connected with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but only benefit the surviving spouses and children of service members who have died on active duty while serving their country after September 10, 2001. Eligible family members may receive up to 36 months of 100 percent reimbursement for three categories. School fees and tuition are fully covered for those who attend public schools as in-state students. The reimbursements for those who those attend private schools are capped at a preset maximum amount that is allowed academic year. There is also a monthly housing allowance and books and academic supplies stipend.

Eligibility Criteria

Children of deceased service members are eligible for these benefits as long as they begin the approved educational program before they reach the age of 18. Eligibility for children ends when they turn 33 years old. The child’s marital status does not affect eligibility. Surviving spouses are eligible to receive benefits after the first of January, 2015. However, their eligibility typically ends 15 years after the service member’s deceased date. If the spouse remarries during the 15 year period, they will lose eligibility. Take note that surviving spouses or children who receive benefits under the Montgomery GI Bills or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) must relinquish eligibility before they can qualify for benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Fry vs. DEA

Children who are eligible for both Fry Scholarships and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) cannot receive both. A child whose service member parent died after July 31 of 2011 must make a permanent decision between the two when applying for educational benefits. A child whose service member parent died before August 1 of 2011 is eligible for both benefits, but they may only use one program at a time. Surviving spouses may be eligible for either program but they must select the benefit program they want for educational assistance. These benefits stop when the individual reaches a total of 81 months of training.

Fry Scholarships

Fry scholarships cover all tuition costs for educational expenses that occur at in-state public institutions. Survivors receive $1,000 every year for books and supplies. The housing allowance, which is approximately $1,000 per month, is paid each term. No benefit payments are awarded for non-academic periods between terms. Fry scholarships apply to college, technical and vocational training programs. They can also be applied to apprenticeships, certification tests, on-the-job training and vocational flight training. Work-study and tutorial assistance costs are also covered.

To apply for Fry Scholarship benefits, survivors must complete VA form 22-5490, which is entitled the Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits. Once completed, these forms are mailed to the nearest VA regional processing center.