Military & Veteran College Scholarships and Grants

College Scholarships and Grants for Military Veterans

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a proliferation of scholarships for veterans, military scholarships, and even education grants targeted at the military spouse community.

There are currently about 19 million U.S. veterans, as reported by the Pew Research Center earlier this year. That’s less than 10% of America’s adult population.

Even so, only an estimated 40% of those veterans are using their GI Bill benefits, according to Brookings. More than 2.9 million veterans have entered higher education, some have used their GI Bill benefits, and others have not.


Because institutions of higher learning and companies across America realize the value that comes from the military community. The discipline, loyalty, and courage inherent in your service make you some of the best students and employees these organizations have ever seen.

Defining the Terms

What is meant by “Scholarships for Veterans” and “Military Scholarships”?

Generally speaking, a Veteran is someone who has served any portion of their life in one of the military branches. Some serve for a few years; others serve for decades. All have made sacrifices for the country.

When someone is “Military,” that usually means that they’re currently serving in the active, reserve, or guard component of a branch of service. They are on the frontline of Freedom.

Scholarships for Veterans are those sources of education funding that target the veteran community. These scholarships come from federal government agencies, state organizations, companies, and nonprofits across the country.


Find Scholarships, Grants, and more for Military, Veterans, and Their Families!


Military scholarships are those that target a current military member. Like scholarships for veterans, these opportunities come from a myriad of different sources.

Oftentimes, though, the term “military scholarship” applies to active duty, reserve, National Guard, veterans, and military spouses. Not always, but often enough to caveat that here. Be sure to read the eligibility requirements.

Regardless of where you stand in the military community, either veteran, military spouse, or currently serving, scholarships and grants serve to help you achieve your goals.

RELATED: Degrees for Military and Veterans

Why Apply for Military Scholarships?

It’s a Numbers Game

I mentioned above that the veteran population makes up less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population. Additionally, less than 1% of our citizens are currently serving.

What this means for you, the seeker of military scholarships is that there is less competition than for those scholarships that are open to everyone.

Now don’t read that wrong; there is still competition. But, it is limited to those currently serving or to those who have served before.

Unused Funding

Every year, scholarship opportunities go unused. This is a travesty considering that student debt continues accumulating every year. 

The reason these scholarships for veterans and military go unused is for lack of applicants. If you’re applying for scholarships to fund your education goals, then apply to every scholarship for which you are eligible.

You Deserve It

Do not feel guilty for trying to get as much funding as possible. There is money out there that companies, agencies, and state governments have set aside to support the military community.

If you meet the requirements, then you have every right to apply for that funding source. You chose to raise your right hand and defend the US of A. Now, others have chosen to show their support and appreciation by offering military scholarships and scholarships for veterans.


General Requirements for Military Scholarships

While each organization that offers money for military scholarships can set its requirements for awardees, some general guidelines apply.

First, you should somehow be affiliated with the military, usually a veteran or currently serving. While most are open to all branches of service, some target a more specific demographic.

For example, the National Ranger Memorial Foundation offers the Ranger Memorial Scholarship to U.S. Army Rangers of any age and their dependents.

In any case, be prepared to offer proof of service, either through a DD-214, using, or submitting a letter from your company commander.

For many scholarship applications, you will be required to write an essay or some other form of writing. Sometimes they just want to hear your story, and at other times they want to see if you will follow instructions. 

Pay close attention to due dates, writing requirements, and any other information listed on the application.

Finding Scholarships and Grants for Military

CollegeRecon researches and presents to you every military scholarship, grant, and funding opportunity we can find. If the information is not clear, we reach out to the organization sponsoring the scholarships for veterans and get clarification.

You deserve every funding opportunity to accomplish your education and career goals. To take things a step further, CollegeRecon offers a unique Scholarship Finder Tool that can help you find all the scholarships available to you.

Tips for Applying to Military Scholarships

Here are some helpful reminders when applying for military scholarships:

  • First, apply for as many scholarships as you can.
  • Keep a calendar of pending due dates. Don’t let those slip by!
  • Do NOT procrastinate on the essay. Take the time to write the best one you can.
  • Stick to the word count, even if that means cutting and revising.
  • Have someone else read your application and essay.
  • Be prepared for rejection. You’re awesome, but so are your military brothers and sisters.

In the end, apply the resilience you learned in the service to your applications for military scholarships. 

To find more helpful ideas and insights, check out 13 Tips for Military & Veterans on How to Apply for Scholarships. 

Types of Scholarships for Veterans

Financial Aid for Active Service

The most common form of financial aid for active service members is Tuition Assistance (TA). Each service offers TA to their active service members, and it can be used to cover the costs associated with a college degree.

Getting a degree while on active duty is easier than you think. Read Active Duty and College: College While in the Military to discover how it works.

It is also worth noting that military college students can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While many students understand that student loans are a by-product of applying for FAFSA, there are also grants you can receive.

Check out FAFSA: What You Need to Know for more information on this resource.

Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who display a financial need and have not already earned a degree.

And get this, even if you’re using the GI Bill, or receiving Tuition Assistance, you can still apply for FAFSA!  

Don’t worry about the loans, though. You can decline them once your aid eligibility is reported to your school.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Veterans Scholarships from Colleges and Universities

It’s not just the federal government and Fortune 500 companies that offer scholarships for veterans. Many universities award their veteran students with financial and academic benefits as well.

Some of these scholarships are awarded for students in specific degree programs at specific institutions. Others are awarded for academic excellence.

Check out the regional scholarships CollegeRecon has broken down for you:

Also, be sure to check out scholarships from your local community college. They are an often overlooked resource for accelerating your education.

College Grants for Veterans

Grants are monetary awards given for a specific purpose that do not need repayment. They are the antithesis of loans and are abundant for education.

We’ve already mentioned the Pell Grant, which can only be received by filling out the FAFSA Application. While not specific to veterans, it is the most widely received grant in today’s education system.

The Pell Grant does not need to be repaid, and the amount you receive depends on your financial need, the costs of school, and whether or not you’re a full- or part-time student.

The GI Bill, either MGIB or Post-9/11, tap dances on the line between earned benefits and education grants. It certainly is a benefit that all veterans deserve, and in most cases, it does not need repayment.

However, unlike grants and scholarships, The GI Bill is almost guaranteed for all veteran degree seekers. (There are minimum discharge requirements that must be met.)

For more information about the GI Bill, check out the following resources:

Scholarships for Military Spouses

There has been a paradigm shift in society’s perception of the Military Spouse. This occurred in large part due to the OEF/OIF campaigns, but also as a result of social media’s ability to instantly raise awareness to issues faced by the military family.

As a result, more and more scholarships are available to military spouses and dependents than at any other time in our nation’s history. The family has always been the backbone of the service members who defend our freedoms.

In our flagship article, Military Spouse Scholarships, CollegeRecon presents 15 of the best scholarships and grants available to military spouses. 

Additionally, we’ve explored College Scholarships and Grants for Children of Veterans, which highlights 14 funding opportunities for military dependents.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Grants and Scholarships for Active-Duty Service Members

For those active service members, there are unique scholarship and grant opportunities for you!

Each service has a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) that awards military scholarships to active, Guard, and reserve service members. There are over 1100 institutions of higher learning that participate in one or more ROTC programs, and most offer 2-, 3-, and 4-year options.

Read the Army ROTC Scholarships, Colleges & Requirements article for more information about the Army’s program.

The Navy ROTC program covers both the Navy and Marine Corps.

Likewise, the Space Force will likely fall under the Air Force ROTC program for their education and commissioning needs. More to follow on that topic.

Another education program available to active Army Soldiers is the Green to Gold program. This is a two-year program that provides Soldiers the opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree. This program leads to a commission as an Army officer.

Similar to the Army’s program, the Air Force hosts The Enlisted-to-Officer Path. This program gives Airmen the opportunity to earn their degrees and a commission in the Air Force.

Finally, Tuition Assistance (TA) is a program that provides education funding to military service members while they are still serving. Tuition Assistance can cover up to 100% of the cost-per-credit hour of many institutions.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Scholarships for Women Veterans

For those women veterans, there are some great programs and scholarships that will help fund your education.

Whether you’re going into STEM, Nursing, or Business, we’ve brought together some of the best scholarship opportunities for you.

First, read Top 8 Scholarships for Female Service Members & Veterans to discover the very best ones out there. Then, check out these other resources:

Scholarships for Disabled Veterans

As with other demographics, there are ample opportunities for our disabled veterans to obtain funding for their education.

Whether it’s finding money for a current degree, or paying off student loans from a previous one, check out some of these great resources.

Military Scholarships: Scholarships by Military Branch

Each military service offers programs for their members to help achieve career and education goals. We’ve touched on the ROTC programs and other commissioning programs. But what about programs that do not require a commission?

We’ve compiled a list of service-specific programs, some of which are simply scholarships for service members within those branches. Some of these scholarships apply for active military, veterans, and even family members.

Featured Scholarships

There are so many great programs out there for the military community. CollegeRecon wants you to have all the information available to help you on your way.

For this reason, here are some scholarship opportunities that have not yet been covered:


There are millions of veterans today, and so many of you are pursuing your education goals. Because many situations are unique, it’s hard to answer every question in one article.

However, we have compiled some of the most asked questions and presented them here:

More Resources on Scholarships for Veterans

Were you looking for scholarships based on a career field? If so, CollegeRecon has numerous resources for some of the hottest job fields, and probably some you haven’t even considered!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, check out our page Paying For School, which has even more leads on military scholarships.

CollegeRecon also has one of the coolest Scholarship Finder Tools out there! By answering a few simple questions, you will get results tailored to your goals and aspirations.

Do you know what you want to study, but not where to go? Use CollegeRecon’s School Finder Tool to find schools and programs tailored to your needs.

Finally, if you are eligible for any form of GI Bill, please do not miss our GI Bill Education Information and Benefits page. 


Find College Scholarships for Military, Veterans, Spouses & Dependents


There has never been a better time than now to get that degree. Whether you’re just starting, in the middle, or nearing the end, there are so many sources of funding available to you.

You deserve the education you want, so let CollegeRecon help you find military scholarships, or scholarships for veterans, that will fund your education and career goals.

Don’t wait for your future to happen. Make it what you want!

(Image courtesy of SSgt. Joshua Chacon, U.S. Marine Corps, via





About the author

Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.

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