Student aid for military, veterans, and children of military is abundant. Grants are just one way for military and children of military personnel to pay for college. Grants are essentially free money — they are usually awarded based on financial need and do not need to be repaid. Most grant programs for military students are federally or state funded and some colleges and universities offer their own military student grants and aid programs.

Military grants are often need based grants that require applicants to meet specific military benefit qualifications and financial need requirements. The amount of funding available can vary from one year to the next depending on the amount of grant money available. However, some grants can cover tuition and fees.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements for military grants can vary to some degree. However, the most common eligibility requirement is the applicant’s veterans status or relationship to a veteran. Some need based grants will require that you qualify for certain federal benefits, such as GI Bill, to be eligible for the grant program, and most will require you to complete the FAFSA. Other grants have more unique requirements. For example, the Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is only available students who lost a parent or legal guardian to active service in post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Types of Military Grants

  • Air Force Aid Society General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant: For more than 20 years this grant has been offered to children of active duty, reserve, retired, and deceased Air Force members. Hundreds of the $2,000 grants are awarded each year.
  • Briarcliffe College Online Yellow Ribbon Grant: The Yellow Ribbon Grant at Briarcliffe College is available to students who are eligible veterans or dependents of eligible veterans that also meet eligibility requirements for specific federal benefits for veterans.
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Supplemental Education Grant: Either Coast Guard members or their family members may apply for one of these $250 per calendar year grants to help with college fees, including CLEP and SAT study guides, but not tuition.
  • Columbia College Coast Guard Spouse Grant: Both online and in-person classes get a 50% price cut through this program for the spouses of active duty Coast Guard members.
  • Columbia College Military Spouse Tuition Grant: A 20% tuition discount is available to the spouses of active duty military personnel for in-person undergraduate classes through this program.
  • Illinois National Guard Grant Program: National Guard members in Illinois with at least one year of service may apply to have up to four years’ worth of full-time college tuition and select fees covered by this initiative.
  • Illinois Veteran Grant Program: The Illinois Veteran Grant Program pays eligible tuition and fees at two- and four-year colleges for veterans who serviced at least one year of active duty service in the military.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: This federal grant is available to children of military service members who were killed during service in Afghanistan or Iraq after the events of 9/11. The maximum award amount is $5,600 per year.
  • Military Spouse Career Advancement: Though it doesn’t cover degrees beyond the associate level, MyCAA offers up to $4,000 for the spouses of military personnel to pursue their education.
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Grants: The children of Navy or Marine Corps servicemen who died during active duty or after retirement may obtain grants of $2,000 per academic year.