Financial Aid for Veterans and their Dependents
If you or your parent is a veteran, there are programs that can help put you through school.
April 21, 2009
This section of FinAid discusses student aid programs for veterans and their dependents. A discussion of the student aid treatment of veterans education benefits and the definition of a veteran for student aid purposes can be found in the Veterans and the FAFSA section of FinAid.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Education Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides information on educational benefits for veterans and their dependents.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
Of particular interest is the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA). It provides up to 45 months of education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. To be eligible, you must be the son, daughter, or spouse of a veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability, or who died while such a disability was in effect, or is MIA or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or is forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power. Sons and daughters must be between the ages of 18 and 26. Spousal benefits end 10 years from the date the VA finds the spouse as eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. To apply, complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance. For more information, call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).
Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents
Updated annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the publication Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents contains information about education and training benefits available to veterans and eligible dependents. [VA Pamphlet 80-02-1, 114 pages, Stock Number 051-000-00225-3.]
The booklet may be obtained free of charge from VA hospitals or regional offices. To request a copy, visit your nearest VA facility, call 1-800-827-1000 or write to Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs (80D), 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420. It is also available for download free in PDF format from the VA’s web site.
The publication can also be purchased for $5.00 ($6.25, international customers) from the US Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954.
Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP)
VONAPP allows veterans to apply online for various veterans benefits, including veterans education benefits.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
MOAA offers several educational assistance programs, including interest-free loans, grants and the American Patriot Scholarship. For more information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other organizations that offer educational assistance to military personnel, veterans and their dependents include:
- Army Emergency Relief. Offers Dependent Children Education Program and Spouse Education Program.
- Air Force Aid Society. Offers General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program and General George S. Brown Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP).
- Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. Offers VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program, USS Tennessee Scholarship Fund, Dependents of Deceased Service Members Scholarship Program, Admiral Mike Boorda Scholarship Program, Bridge Loans for Tuition Assistance Program and GI Bill and Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP).
- Coast Guard Mutual Aid. Offers the CGMA Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) Program, Stafford/PLUS Loan Origination Fee Refund Program and CGMA Supplemental Student Loans. See also the USCG Foundation Education Grant Program.
ThanksUSA Scholarship Program
ThanksUSA is a non-profit tax exempt charitable organization focused on thanking American troops. ThanksUSA sponsors a large scholarship program for children and spouses of active duty US military personnel. As many as 1,000 scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 each are available for undergraduate study at accredited two and four year institutions of higher education. A minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required. Active duty US military personnel is defined as having served on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard for at least 180 days since September 11, 2001, including all members of the Armed Forces who were killed or wounded in action. (Members of the reserves who have been activated to full-time duty and federalized members of the National Guard are eligible.) Dependent children (including adopted and stepchildren) must be age 24 and under as of the deadline. The deadline is May 30. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic performance, leadership and community service. A preference is given to students who have studied a foreign language. For more information, call 1-877-THX-USAS (1-877-849-8727), write to ThanksUSA Scholarship Program, Scholarship America, c/o Shellee Hintz, One Scholarship Way, PO Box 297, Saint Peter, MN 56082, or send email to email@example.com.
Military.com has a good guide to state educational benefits for veterans and their dependents.
This article originally appeared on FinAid.org.