Military Scholarships: Top Colleges Supporting Our Heroes

military scholarships

Almost one-third of soldiers joined the military for its benefits. Of these benefits, military scholarships are the topmost benefit mentioned. This is understandable because of the rising costs of a college education. The average cost of college has a 4.11% CAGR, with the average cost being $38,270 per year. 

Scholarships for military and veteran students are available in many forms. These include need-based, merit-based, and branch-based scholarships. Today, more than 80% of beneficiaries receive financial aid, including military scholarships. Of the more than 820,000 military and veteran students, about 80% are beneficiaries.

These scholarships have a significant impact on military members and veterans. First, earning a college degree with less student debt becomes possible. Scholarships for military members can result in full-ride scholarships.

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Second, earning a college degree opens personal and professional growth opportunities. College graduates have higher earning potential and, thus, better quality of life.

Third, college degree holders make significant contributions to socioeconomic growth. Veterans bring their military experience to their civilian jobs and improve on them.

Indeed, supporting our heroes through military scholarship programs makes sense. 

Why Military Scholarships Matter

Military scholarships for college students are available for many good reasons.

Appreciation for and recognition of their patriotic services

Military and veteran students and their families made sacrifices for the country. While their sacrifices are priceless, we can appreciate and recognize them. These come in the form of scholarships catered to the military that ease their financial burdens.  

With less financial worries, military and veteran students can focus on their studies. Their families become less worried, too, about their finances. In short, military scholarships are morale boosters. 

The military uses scholarships as a recruitment and retention tool. Come and join the military and get a college education. Stay in the military and advance your career with a college degree.

Greater access to personal and professional development opportunities

Active-duty personnel and veterans face unique challenges in their academic journeys. Their frequent relocations are a significant financial burden. The possibility of earning a college degree decreases with yet another relocation.

This is where scholarships for veterans and active-duty members come in. Military scholarships increase access to college education, which isn’t possible without them.

These are financial aid that cover the cost of tuition and fees, among other costs. Better yet, you don’t have to pay them back. 

Scholarships for active duty military students and veterans are available for online programs. Military and veteran students enjoy online programs due to their flexibility and accessibility. With scholarships, online programs become even more affordable. 

Active-duty and veteran scholarships are available for diverse degree and certification programs, too. Name a discipline and military scholarships likely cover it. Business, healthcare, and information technology programs are popular.

Financial relief

Of course, veteran and active duty military scholarships ease college-related costs. With the right scholarships, you can enjoy full coverage for tuition and fees. You can also apply for military scholarships that cover other expenses. These include room and board, books and supplies, and living expenses. 

With these education benefits, you’re less likely to take out student loans. You can earn a college degree with little to no student loan debt. This means getting excellent returns on investment in less time, too.

Create a community

Many scholarships for military veterans and their families come with community support. Beneficiaries can access peer-to-peer tutoring, mentoring, and counseling services. When beneficiaries gather, their bonds become stronger, too. The sense of belonging strengthens military families, too.

Socioeconomic benefits

College graduates contribute their hard and soft skills to society and its growth. This is true for military and veteran students pursuing their college degrees. Plus, their military experience and perspectives enhance classroom lessons and learning experiences. 

We have the original GI Bill to thank for the generous military scholarships we enjoy today. In the years after its adoption, military scholarships have expanded. Besides the VA and DoD programs, many colleges also offer military scholarships.  

Top 10 Colleges Offering Military Scholarships

Every college has specific military scholarship requirements, criteria, and award amounts. Be sure to check these aspects first before submitting your applications. 

Norwich University

The private senior military college offers VA- and DoD-administered education benefits. Students are eligible for other scholarships for active duty and veteran students, including: 

  • Alden Partridge Scholarship 
  • JROTC Leadership Award
  • Naval ROTC Preparatory Award 
  • Brian R. Bill Memorial Scholarship
  • Sergeants Three Scholarship
  • De Oppresso Liber Scholarship
  • Special Operations Forces Fund CGCS
  • SSG Hilbert E. Anderson & CPT Robert H. Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Texas A&M University

TAMU’s long-standing military traditions make it among the best military-friendly schools. Besides the usual GI Bill programs, TAMU offers military scholarships like: 

  • Corps of Cadets scholarships 
  • Hazlewood Exemption 
  • Non-resident tuition waiver

Virginia Military Institute

The public military college provides military-focused academic programs. Students can apply for GI Bill benefits and these scholarships: 

  • ROTC scholarships are awarded by their respective branches. Scholarships cover tuition, fees, books and supplies, and even spending money. The Army, Air Force, and Navy offer these scholarships. 
  • Call to Duty Scholarships apply when all other financial aid options aren’t available.

The Citadel Military College of South Carolina

The Citadel, a public senior military college, offers many military scholarships, including: 

  • Blue Ribbon scholarships 
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board Scholarship
  • Judge Falcon Hawkins Scholarship
  • Cadet scholarships, including full academic scholarships, the Honors Program, and the 1842 Scholars Program 
  • The Citadel Service to Country Scholarship and National Service Scholarship

The Citadel is a GI Bill-approved institution, too.

University of North Georgia

UNG, a public senior military college, is a component of the University System of Georgia. Students can avail of the GI Bill, Yellow Program, and tuition assistance benefits, too. Other military scholarships include:  

  • Georgia Military Service Scholarship program for full-ride scholarships
  • Georgia Hero Scholarship
  • UNG ROTC Grant
  • Georgia Out-of-state Tuition Waivers for the Military

University of Southern California

USC, a private research university, is a military-friendly school with generous scholarships like: 

  • Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans
  • Hollywood Canteen Endowed Scholarship
  • Robert Wright Medical Scholarship Fund
  • Wright Mexican-American Scholarship Fund

University of Michigan

UMich is a GI Bill-approved school that also offers morel military scholarships like: 

  • In-State Tuition on the basis of Service
  • State Tuition Assistance Program (Public Act 249 of 2014) 
  • Byron Lee Tennant Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Lt. Norman Carl Anschuetz Memorial Scholarship
  • Marie Michell Memorial Scholarship

University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin is a top choice due to its generous military scholarships, including: 

  • Federal military tuition assistance
  • State tuition assistance for Army, Air, and State Guard members 
  • Tuition waivers for military personnel in Texas and military veterans, spouses, and children moving to Texas
  • Jean Perkins Foundation Veteran Scholarship
  • Sgt. Tyrell Seth Williams, USMC Endowed Scholarship

Pennsylvania State University

Penn State offers VA and DoD benefits, too. Other scholarships for active-duty members and veterans include: 

  • Undergraduate application fee waiver
  • Military grant-in-aid ($119/credit for AY 2023-2024) 
  • Brian Clark Veterans Scholarship
  • Antonio Nieves and Emily Sallack Student Success Scholarship in Educational Equity
  • The Jerry and Jacquelyn Grossman Scholarship for U.S. Military Veterans

Arizona State University

ASU’s extensive range of scholarships include: 

  • Spouses of Military Veterans Tuition Scholarship
  • Pat Tillman Veterans Center Scholarship
  • Arizona Tuition Waiver 
  • Family First Military Veterans Scholarship
  • Military Active Duty and Reservist Commitment Scholarship

If you’re looking for a fully-funded education, consider the official military academies. The U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy are examples. Note that these require post-graduation service obligations. 

Types of Military Scholarships Available

Military based scholarships are classified into the following types. 

Need-based scholarships

Beneficiaries are selected based on their demonstrated financial needs. Note, nonetheless, that other criteria may also be applied in the selection process. 

Examples include the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and related programs. The Yellow Ribbon Program and Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program are examples. 

Military and veteran students must file their FAFSA, too. Many low-income students qualify for both federal student aid and military scholarships.

Merit-based scholarships

Beneficiaries are chosen based on merit criteria. These can include grades, community service, membership in organizations, and leadership potential.

For this reason, merit-based scholarships are more competitive and selective. Applicants usually submit more documents to prove their worthiness for these scholarships. Letters of recommendation and a personal essay are common. Applicants may also have to undergo interviews. 

Examples include: 

  • The Health Professions Scholarship Program offers military scholarships in civilian medical schools. 
  • The National Guard Minuteman Scholarship Program offers full-ride scholarships. 
  • The Fisher House Foundation Scholarship for Military Children Program selects beneficiaries based on their academic performance and leadership qualities. 

Branch-specific scholarships

Every branch offers ROTC scholarships and tuition assistance programs. Check with your commanding officer and other concerned officers for more information. 

Conclusion

Military scholarships are effective tools for increasing access to college degrees. A college degree results in the betterment of individuals, their families, and society. Suffice it to say that military scholarships contribute to a better world. 

So, if you’re planning on earning a college degree, take advantage of them. Your finances and future will be better for it.