Obtaining an undergraduate degree is an educational goal shared by many dependents of retired military service members. However, these dependents cannot attend college unless they have help with tuition and other education-related expenses. We will explore college benefits available for dependents of retired military service members.
College Benefits Comparison
|Benefit||Military Branch||Award Amount||Qualifications|
|General John Paul Ratay Educational Fund Grants||All||Unspecified||First Undergraduate Degree, Under 24 Years Old|
|MG James Ursano Scholarship||Army||Varies||Full-time Student under 23 Years Old|
|Air Force Aid Society Benefits (General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program, AFAS Merit Scholarship, Supplemental Education Loan Program)||Air Force||Depends on Program||Dependent of Retired Air Force members|
|Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society||Navy-Marine Corps||$500-$3,000||Full-time Student under 23 Years Old|
|Children of Enlisted Coast Guard Members||Coast Guard||$1,000-$5,000||Child of a Retired Coast Guard Service Member|
College Benefits for Children of Retired Military
There are college benefits available for dependents of retired military service members. These benefits exist as scholarships, grants, and loans and are meant for dependents who need help paying for their tuition, books, and other expenses associated with their education. Most of the college benefits discussed here are military branch-specific. We will explore college benefits for children of retired military for the Army, Navy-Marine, Coast Guard, and Air Force.
General John Paul Ratay Educational Fund Grants
The General John Paul Ratay Educational Fund Grants are available for children of a retired military parent. These grants are awarded based on funding and are not awarded each year.
These grants are available for students working on their first undergraduate degree and are provided for up to five years. Applicants must have a GPA no lower than 3.0. Applicants are evaluated based on 3 criteria: GPA, extracurricular participation, and financial need. All male applicants must register for Selective Service.
MG James Ursano Scholarship Program
The Army Emergency Relief sponsors the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program for children of retired Army soldiers. This scholarship helps reduce the child's education expenses they would otherwise incur trying to obtain their first undergraduate degree.
The dependent's financial need determines the amount of the award. According to the Army Emergency Relief website, the award amounts for 2017-2018 ranged from $670 to $4,290. The applicant cannot be an active service member and must remain unmarried for the school year they are applying for. In addition, the applicant must be enrolled at an accredited educational institution on a full-time basis.
Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)
The Air Force Aid Society has 3 programs that work in conjunction with each other. Applicants must be a dependent of a retired Air Force service member. The 3 programs are the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program, AFAS Merit Scholarship, and Supplemental Education Loan Program.
The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program offers grants starting at $2,000 to children of retired Air Force service members. The AFAS Merit Scholarship awards $5,000 to applicants who are freshmen and determined eligible based on their General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant application. Further selection criteria used by the AFAS Merit Scholarship to evaluate eligibility are GPA, transcripts, SAT and ACT test scores, and submission of a written essay on a topic determined by the program. Applicants who have applied for the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program are eligible for this $1,000 loan.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Dependents of retired Sailors and Marines may want to consider the interest-free loans and grants offered by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Awards range from $500 to $3,000 and must be used for tuition, fees, room, books, and board only.
The applicant must be a full-time student attending an accredited educational institution located in the United States that participates in the United States Department of Education Title IV Financial Aid Program. Registration in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting (DEER) System is required by all applicants. The applicant's GPA must be no lower than 2.0. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they need financial assistance.
Children of Enlisted Coast Guard Members
To express their thanks and appreciation to Coast Guard service members, the Coast Guard offers the Children of Enlisted Coast Guard Members Scholarship.
The amount this scholarship awards starts at $1,000 and reaches a maximum of $5,000. Unmarried children of retired Coast Guard Veterans are eligible for this scholarship. Qualified applicants may be full-time undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited four-year program or a college-bound high school senior.