Scholarships for Veterans: Exploring What’s Available

scholarships for veterans

Financial aid and scholarships for veterans play vital roles in colleges and universities. NCES reports that 6% of undergraduate and 7% of graduate students are veterans. Higher education institutions continue to enhance initiatives to support veterans’ academic success.

Do you know why higher education institutions place high value on these students?

Student veterans contribute a lot to higher learning institutions. They offer a multitude of experiences, skills, and talents. They’re also highly devoted to their students, ensuring no college resources are wasted.

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Scholarships for Veterans: An Overview

Serving in the US military has several benefits. One is scholarships from the government, educational institutions, and private organizations.

There are first-gen scholarships for first-time enrollees. There are also scholarships for disabled veterans. Others are open for minority members and veterans who served in a specific armed forces branch.

Veterans can also apply for scholarships within their specific focus and degree level, and some can qualify for work-study programs.

Some veteran education benefits cover spouses, children, and grandchildren. Some programs are available to these groups even if the veteran is already deceased.

There are many choices, which can be overwhelming. Some aids have slightly complicated paperwork requirements, making them more of a headache.

Eligibility criteria vary widely. They depend on factors such as military branch, length of service, and discharge status.

For instance, disabled veteran scholarships will require documentation of the disability rating from the VA. First-generation scholarships may necessitate proof of the applicant’s status as the first in their family to attend college.

Benefits of Pursuing Higher Education for Veterans

A lot of opportunities are waiting for veterans. One of the best options to pursue is a college education. A degree can offer several benefits for your professional and personal growth. With various educational benefits, your only problem is to decide where to go and what major to take. Here are the benefits of pursuing a degree as a student veteran:

Career Advancement

This is the top reason why veterans should go back to school. The job market is very competitive. And although you’ve served and risked your life in the country, employers won’t see this as the sole qualification for a position. This is especially true for specialized positions that require more than soft skills.

Higher education will help you learn new technical skills for a specific market. It will give you the necessary qualifications and credentials to compete. If you’re hesitant to commit to a bachelor’s degree, you can start with certificate programs or trade and technical schools.

Financial and Job Stability

Veterans have higher chances of homelessness than average Americans. There are several factors in play here, including mental issues, lack of support, and low income. This is why veterans should take advantage of their educational benefits to rejoin society.

A degree opens to several career prospects. Investing in your education will increase your earning potential and financial stability. The BLS shows that individuals with a college degree tend to earn higher salaries over their lifetimes than those with only a high school diploma.

Becoming an Inspiration

College education is challenging for the average student, let alone someone who has served in the military. As a veteran, you’ve endured a lot and may have seen unspeakable things that may have caused nightmares.

Many studies have shown that trauma hinders veterans from rejoining society. By earning a college degree, you’re showing other veterans that they can overcome anything. No matter their challenges, they can succeed in academia and beyond.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Veterans

Educational benefits for veterans are vast and varied. There are two main types of financial aid for veterans: public assistance and private assistance. Both aids are based on service and need.

The various types of financial aid opportunities are as follows:

  • The GI Bill is the most well-known and available educational benefit for veterans. It is a service-based aid that requires at least 36 months of service in the US military. This is not a competitive award; everyone who meets eligibility requirements is entitled to benefits.
  • Yellow Ribbon works within the framework of the GI Bill. It covers tuition and fee expenses that exceed the GI Bill’s maximum benefits. This is particularly used in out-of-state and private institutions.
  • The Dependents Education Assistance Program (DEAP) is for the dependents of certain veterans, like those who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or who died in service. These programs provide monthly payments to help dependents finance their education.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) is an educational benefit that helps veterans rejoin society. It includes helping them overcome barriers to employment and continuing education.

Types of Scholarships Available for Veterans

The veteran scholarships listed below range from modest one-year to substantial multi-year grants. While some scholarships cover tuition, books, and fees, others only offer a small stipend.

  • AFCEA War Veterans offers a merit-based scholarship of $2,500. 
  • Ahmanson Veteran Scholarship Initiative (Pepperdine University) grants are offered to veterans with minimal military education benefits left.
  • American Veterans gives merit-based scholarships of $4,000 yearly.
  • Army Nurse Association (ANCA) offers scholarships for Army Nurse Corps members and their dependents vary based on funding availability.
  • Bonsai Finance gives scholarships ranging from $300 to $2,500.
  • Blinded Veterans Association Scholarships are merit-based scholarships of up to $2,000 annually.
  • Disabled American Veteran Scholarships range from $5,000 to $30,000 annually.
  • National University Veterans and Military Services are from NU, a veteran-founded institution.
  • The Graydon and Myrth Fox Scholarship is merit-based and offers up to $5,000 annually.
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) offers scholarships up to $2,500 annually for dependents of paralyzed veterans.
  • Troops to Teacher offers financial assistance and stipends for veterans transitioning to careers in education.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers various scholarships for veterans and their families.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships as a Veteran

The application process can be daunting with the vast number of veterans grants and scholarships. This is especially true for veterans who are having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. Here are a few simple tips that will help you navigate the application process smoothly:

Build a support system.

Prioritize finding people who will support you as you transition into civilian life. A strong support system will help you navigate the challenges you’ll face in reaching your goals. This can be a friend, a family member, or a professional.

Contact the school’s financial aid advisor.

Different schools may offer military benefits differently. Military-friendly colleges do more than just provide tuition assistance. Their financial aid officers also help student veterans find packages tailored to their circumstances.

Use your experience to write a compelling essay.

As a veteran, you can also apply for scholarship opportunities beyond veteran-specific aids. In fact, your military experience and motivation to jumpstart a new career can be a unique advantage in many scholarship applications. Highlight how your service has shaped your character, instilled discipline, and developed your leadership skills. 

Connect with professionals

The application for scholarships can be challenging. In addition to addressing qualifications and writing essays, you must also submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and proof of service. 

If you have trouble with the application process, you can contact organizations assisting veterans with educational opportunities. Among the most popular organizations of this sort are:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • The American Legion

Success Stories: Veterans Who’ve Benefited from Scholarships

From field to office

Greg Wheeler’s journey from the Navy to his role as mayor of Bremerton, Washington, demonstrates the transformative power of education and scholarships for veterans. He joined the military, pursued a bachelor’s degree, and later pursued an MBA at UMass Global University. His dedication to community development and entrepreneurship highlights the impact of scholarships.

From Admiral to admired

Admiral William McRaven is one of the veterans who pushed other veterans to go back to school and earn a degree. His talks highlight how a degree enhances earning potential and expands the worldview.

Scholarships veteran Joshua Gamboa is an ACC student who served under Admiral McRaven. He praised Veterans Affairs at ACC, which helped him navigate his benefits and get on the road to success.

From ground to space

David Moran was a former electronic technician for the Navy based in Afghanistan. Moran pursued his dream of joining SpaceX, overcoming challenges, and finding solace in ASU’s support system. His journey highlights the importance of education in achieving dreams.

Supporting Veterans’ Education: How You Can Help

There are several ways to show our support to veterans, including donating cash or offering mentorship and guidance. For these heroes, a little goes a long way.

One way we can contribute is by donating to organizations dedicated to helping veterans start a new life. Our small financial donations can add to the organizational budget for scholarships and aids for our heroes.

But if you don’t have the financial means, you can always volunteer. You can join organizations or support groups dedicated to helping veterans navigate civilian life. You can provide emotional or professional support.


Student veterans need more help adjusting to civilian life. In addition to financial struggles, most of them are facing physical disabilities, PTSD, and mood disorders. Higher education can be their only hope for a better life.

Fortunately, many colleges, universities, and organizations are there to help. Veterans can have all the support they need, from financial assistance to support systems.