U.S. Military members make great sacrifices to serve their country, facing months of separation from family, entering dangerous areas of warfare, and enduring the harshest of conditions during their training and deployment. In return for this sacrifice, each branch of the military offers limited compensation for academic endeavors. Additionally, organizations and foundations have created scholarship programs specifically for military members and their immediate family or direct descendants.

Eligibility Requirements

For applicants to receive a military scholarship, there are a number of factors that are taken into account. Most scholarships of this type are granted to applicants on the basis of their standing in the military: number of years of service, the branch they are associated with, achievements within their service time, and more. Although the exact requirements vary for each specific scholarship, military applicants usually meet the following criterion:

  • Are active or former members of the military or are a family member of one
  • Serve in a specific branch, such as Navy or National Guard
  • Completed a specific level or type of military training
  • Are pursuing a major related to the scholarship, such as Criminal Justice or Counseling
  • Are a recipient or are directly related to a recipient of a specific recognition, such as the Purple Heart
  • Women currently or formerly the military and their children
  • Have adequate number of years in active service

Although these are common eligibility requirements associated with military scholarships, there are a vast number of variations and additional requirements that may apply depending on the specific scholarship. A sampling of military scholarships are listed below that offer financial assistance to eligible candidates:

Types of Military Scholarships

  • American Legion Scholarship: The American Legion provides several scholarship opportunities to students from many backgrounds, including kin of wartime veterans and current participants in Legion programs.
  • AMVETS National Scholarship: AMVETS provides scholarships to veterans, active military, and their direct descendants based on academic excellence and financial need. AMVETS awards up to $4,000 to six high school seniors and three veterans a year as well as $1,000 for a JROTC high school senior.
  • Daniel Drevnick Scholarship: This foundation awards financial assistance to military members pursuing law enforcement studies. In 2012, the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund awarded ten scholarships for $1,000 each.
  • Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship: The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans awards scholarships exclusively to veterans who served honorably in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The association has awarded more than 1,800 scholarships to veterans in all five branches of the military to date.
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship: Available to recipients of a Purple Heart, their direct descendants, and their spouse or widow, this scholarship pursuing undergraduate studies. The scholarship is also available to the spouse, widow, or direct descendant of a service member who was killed in the line of duty.
  • NBCC Foundation: This scholarship, offered by the NBCC Foundation, provides scholarships to military members (current or former) who are enrolled in a CACREP-accredited master’s degree counseling program.
  • The Army Women’s Foundation (AWF) Legacy Scholarships: Women formerly or currently serving in the branches of the U.S. Army (or a child of one) can apply for this scholarship, which awards up to $2,500 in college or university assistance and up to $1,000 for community college or certificate programs.