Scholarships for Air Force Service Members and Veterans
There are thousands of scholarships open to those seeking higher education. With such a large pool of people competing, it can be beneficial to look for specific scholarships that only a select group can apply to. Something active duty service members can do – and in some cases their family members, too – is to look out for branch-specific scholarships. Here, we’re going to dive into scholarships that are open only to Air Force personnel.
First, we can’t neglect mentioning Tuition Assistance (TA). While there are a few standard regulations for TA across all services ($250 per semester hour, with a yearly cap), each branch has different rules governing TA. The basic usage limits for the Air Force are:
- Maximum of $4,500 per year
- Up to 124 semester hours toward an undergraduate degree
- Up to 42 semester hours toward a graduate degree
Any airmen considering utilizing their TA should always reach out to their education center for counseling assistance and a personalized plan.
AFA Scholarships / Awards Examples
The Air Force Association (AFA), a volunteer-led organization, provides a number of scholarships for Air Force (active duty, guard, reserve, spouses, and dependents) in an effort to help higher education-pursuing adults achieve their dreams.
Check out their website for a number of different options, keeping in mind that applications for scholarships are accepted between December 1 and April 30 for the following term.
For Air Force service members who have obtained their Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree and are working towards a bachelor’s degree.
$500 for winning applicants who have submitted proof of enrollment at an accredited higher education institution, a statement detailing career and educational goals, and a list of successful workplace and community performance.
$1,000 scholarship to an active duty Air Force, full time Air National Guard, or full time Air Force Reserve (officer or enlisted) pursuing a Master’s Degree in a non-technical field of study.
With the Health Professions Scholarship Program, any U.S. citizen who has been accepted into a graduate-level health profession is eligible to apply. This is a scholarship offered by the Air Force to health care professionals, such as pharmacists, optometrists, nurse corps, etc.
The program varies depending on the field of study/specialty, but acceptance of the award offer (of up to $28,000 annually) is that once a student graduates, he/she must serve one year of active duty for each year of received scholarship (with a minimum service of three years).
For active duty, enlisted Air Force service members who desire to commission, there are scholarship programs available directly through the USAF, such as Airman Scholarship & Comissioning Program (ASCP) and Scholarships For Outstanding Airmen To ROTC (SOAR).
The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) is the official charity of the USAF since 1942, and they provide a number of education support scholarships and programs for dependents and spouses of active duty and retired Air Force personnel. The main grant program that AFAS offers is the Henry H. Arnold which is a needs-based offer between $500 and $4,000; however, there are additional merit scholarships and an AFAS-backed education loan program as well.
The Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) also offers numerous scholarship programs to financially assist the undergraduate studies of eligible, dependent children of the enlisted Total Air Force members. There are differing qualifications to be eligible for the offers, varying between $500 and $4,000 each. A few examples of AFSA awards are:
- CMSAF Scholarship Program: recognizes its top recipient with the CMSAF Paul W. Airey Memorial Scholarship valued at $3,000 in honor of CMSAF Airey who served as the first Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force.
- Airmen Memorial Foundation (AMF) Scholarship Program: program recognizes its top recipient with the Clyde V. Prince Memorial Scholarship valued at $4.000.
While these are viable examples of Air-Force specific options that you can research based on your circumstances, they certainly aren’t the only scholarships available. There are a number of other military-related scholarships out there, and it’s possible you can even find other specialty or personally-catered possibilities as well. Utilize your local base education services and online resources to discover a plethora of potential sources.