The federal government funds many programs and various states offer grants and scholarships to children and spouses of veterans to aid them in going to college. There are also a variety of grants and scholarships available to the children of disabled and deceased veterans and to veterans listed as prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA).
Qualifications and Special Circumstances
The DEA Program, Dependents Educational Assistance, provides a variety of grants and scholarships offered through the Department of Foreign Affairs. These grants, which can be extended for up to 45 months, cover programs such as undergraduate education, technical training, special interests, secondary education, and masters programs. Children between the ages of 18 and 26 are eligible if one of their parents has become disabled or died while serving in the U.S. military.
Also any child of a parent who has become a prisoner of war or is missing in action for more than 90 days qualifies for all grants and scholarships through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA); under certain circumstances the DVA offers an extension on the eligibility for the education grant offered through the DEA Program. This extension enables children to receive a grant before the age of 18 and after the age of 26. The special circumstances for the grants will depend on the dependent's need.
Identification and Applications
Any child or dependent seeking a grant must provide a current military ID card. The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) can help in obtaining a current ID card if one is needed. By visiting the website tricare.mil, further assistance can be found. The website fastweb.com offers applicants the opportunity to identify themselves and links them with the sources and benefactors that are needed but can't be found elsewhere. Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA form 22-5490 is available; this enables applicants to apply for Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.
The website thanksusa.org offers any spouse of active-duty personnel or a dependent 24 years of age and younger to apply for educational scholarships. Any potential students looking to attend college on a full-time basis may apply for grants and scholarships through the website militaryscholar.org. Also the American Legacy Scholarship Fund offers educational assistance for dependents of military personnel who died on active duty and provides assistance for undergraduate studies. Each state in the United States offers a clearinghouse for many scholarships created specifically for children and spouses of veterans. Since each state offers different types of grants to dependents or spouses of veterans, it's always best to check with a school's financial aid adviser to access additional information.