It's that time of year - colleges are sending out their acceptance letters and students are furiously approaching deadlines for scholarships. When you're in the Military there are many challenges outside of the average that families face when they're looking for funds for their student. We know PCSing and being on the move can often mean a child wants to return to another state for college - and that can be costly! We've found a great resource for you via the folks at MilitaryOneClick that breaks down the steps you should take to make sure you're at the front of the pack for financial aid!
Here they are! (via MilitaryOneClick.com)
The best resource is the Scholarships for Service search function from Fisher House. From here, you and your child can customize a profile that is run through their database. Award amounts range from $100 to almost $30,000 or more.
Even with a customized scholarship search, it pays to be diligent. Not every student will qualify for every scholarship. Take the time to really read and understand the requirements or you can get more specific-to-you results. Scholars can narrow or broaden their searches by adjusting their profile.
As a bonus, this service includes scholarships for military spouses, too.
All military dependents should also check out federal resources available to college students. There are scholarships through national organizations or in exchange for joining the ROTC on your campus.
This office is the place to get the dish on local scholarships. Often VFWs and other military affiliated organizations offer scholarships to students in their towns or regions.
You can also find out about other non-military opportunities from the school counselors. Some scholarships are based on ethnic background, declared college major, participation in sports, or academic record. Some local scholarships are given to anyone who takes the time to apply!
CONTACT YOUR SCHOOL
Each college or university has their own collection of scholarships and grants. Many are often not listed or found during basic internet searches. You can look on your school's website or visit the registrar or recruitment office in person.
Scholarships at the college level, just like at the high school level, are available based on different qualities: college major, GPA, ethnic heritage, military affiliation, or extra curricular activities.
GET WITH THE SPOUSES' GROUPS ON YOUR BASE
At every base there are probably a variety of spouse groups. Many of these groups offer scholarships to college students, both dependent children and spouses. Ask around your unit or through social media.
Some of these scholarships might be very specific. For example, a scholarship might only be available to a child with a parent attached to a squadron or in a particular military specialty. Other opportunities might be broad. It depends on the specific group, but it doesn't hurt to ask!
LOOK AT BIGGER PROGRAMS
MyCAA is is just for spouses of service members (excluding the Coast Guard), ranks E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2. Eligible dependents can enroll in courses leading to an associate's degree, with some stipulations. The funds available to each person are capped and a plan of study must be clear and focused. However, this is a great resource for spouses to build a transportable career while their service member serves our country.
COMPLETE THE FAFSA
There are lots of private scholarships out there, but one of the best resources for all college students in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing this form, college students become eligible for a whole host of grants, loan programs, and work study jobs.
Often, colleges have tuition or fee reductions, scholarships or grants for students who meet certain income thresholds or fit other categories of need. States also offer aid packages based on those same qualifications. "
And this isn't all! Be sure to read the full article to find more ways of being proactive - you can view it here.