Many of us took time on Veteran's Day to remember loved ones and friends who have served our country through service in the military. As a way to say "thank you," many foundations, programs and colleges offer scholarships for veterans and current service members who want to attend college and earn their degree – whether it be to further their military career or embark on an entirely new path.
The Scholarship Coach has covered some of the more popular programs and opportunities in the past, but we encourage you to take advantage of the following military scholarship opportunities that you may not have heard of before.
[Find out how ROTC programs can help pay for college.]
Established in 1946, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association is a nonprofit organization that serves the military by providing a forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in communications, information technology, intelligence and security.
The AFCEA Educational Foundation offers academic support to U.S. military personnel through merit-based scholarships of varying amounts. These include the AFCEA Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans Scholarship and the Disabled War Veterans Scholarship.
The scholarships are open to active-duty uniformed military service members; honorably discharged U.S. military veterans, including reservists and National Guardsmen; and disabled veterans. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and sophomores or juniors enrolled in an eligible degree program and have at least a 3.0 GPA. We encourage you to fill out the application, which covers both scholarships, before the Nov. 15 deadline.
[Learn about the U.S. News Best Colleges for Veterans rankings.]
If you're a woman who has served or is serving honorably in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve or National Guard, or if you are a child of a woman who has served, consider applying for the U.S. Army Women's Foundation 2014 Legacy Scholarship. The U.S. Army Women's Foundation is a national network designed to recognize and honor the service of women in the Army.
Through the Legacy Scholarship, the Foundation helps Army women and their children achieve their educational goals by providing financial support for postsecondary education. Scholarships can be applied toward technical certificate programs, community college course work, undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees.
Legacy scholarships are based on merit, academic potential, community service, letters of recommendation and need. Applications for this scholarship should be postmarked by Jan. 15, 2014.
If you are a member of the selected reserve, you're probably eligible for tuition assistance to help advance your education. Each branch of the armed forces determines how to administer its own tuition assistance program.
For example, the U.S. Army Reserve offers up to $4,500 annually per service member for courses offered in a classroom or by distance learning. You can take advantage of this as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. You can also use the tuition assistance money to complete your high school diploma.
Alternatively, if you're a naval reservist, naval officer or enlisted active-duty personnel, you're probably eligible for tuition assistance through the Navy, which covers 100 percent of your tuition and fees. The Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard each offer their own programs as well.
Finally, if you have a specific college or university in mind, check out the scholarship opportunities available to you. Most institutions offer scholarships specific to veterans or children of veterans.
[Read about federal student loan relief programs for service members.]
For example, if you're a disabled veteran living in the Northwest, consider attending the University of Idaho. The Operation Education program offers help for veterans who were disabled while serving the country after Sept. 11, 2001. Spouses are also eligible for benefits.
Each individualized scholarship provides financial, academic and social support and resources – such as tuition, fees and books, on-campus housing, transportation, medical assistance, child care, adaptive equipment, tutoring and mentorship.
If you're in the Chicago area, you may want to consider studying at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, where you can apply for The David W. Fox Fellowship. The Fellowship provides a two-year full-tuition scholarship to a student who has served or is currently serving in the U.S. military.
Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.