Gold Star Family Scholarships Resources
Scholarships and Education Benefits for Gold Star Families
While there are many scholarships intended for veterans, there are also scholarships and military education benefits specifically for Gold Star Families to assist those surviving family members.
There are no words we can say to express our gratitude to those who have lost a loved one during service to our country. They have gone through something so unimaginable.
Those same family members may wish to further their educational goals whether it is a young widow wanting to go back to school, or a child of a fallen service member getting ready to start her freshman year of college.
List of Gold Star Families Scholarships
Scholarships for Gold Star Families to assist surviving family members.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
Details: This program is for children and spouses of those who:
- have died or who have been permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service connected disability during active service in the military
- have died from any cause while having a permanent and total service connected disability
or children and spouses of a service member who:
- has been MIA or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
- was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
- is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and will likely be discharged because of it
Please keep in mind that any children who qualify for this should be between 18 and 26 years old. Exceptions can be made.
For spouses of those killed during active duty, the benefits will be good until 20 years after the date of death.
The benefits can be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, as well as on the job training. If you are a spouse you can also use the benefits for correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency and refresher courses may also be approved.
You should be able to receive up to 45 months of educational benefits if you began your program before August 1, 2018. If you started on or after August 1, 2018, you have 36 months to use your benefits. You might be able to use up to 81 months of benefits if you use this program with an entitlement from other VA education programs.
Folded Flag Foundation
Details: This scholarship is for a spouse or a child under 26 years old of a member of the military who died as a result of hostile action or in an accident related to US combat operations. Family members of employees of the US government who died as a result of the same thing also quality.
Through The Children’s Education Scholarship, children of the fallen, from K-12, can receive a scholarship and educational grants to cover private school tuition and fees, tutoring, after-school programs, summer camps, and other expenses.
College-bound spouses and children can receive the College or Technical/Trade school scholarship. This will cover tuition and fees, books, computers, and living expenses including childcare, tutoring, test preparation services, and career preparation expenses.
Deadline: Applications for the 2023-2024 school year are due in May 2023.
America’s Gold Star Families Scholarship
Details: $1,000 in scholarships to family members who have lost a loved one in service to our country. They can be used at a college or university, junior college, or a trade or vocational school.
Deadline: The application is due September 15th of each year.
Captain Matthew C. Freeman USMC Memorial Sibling Scholarship
Details: This scholarship is open to siblings of a fallen military member who was killed while deployed to a combat zone. They also must be entering or attending an accredited university or college. They will need to write an essay describing the relationship with their sibling and how his/her death affected them.
Folds of Honor
Details: The Higher Education Scholarship is for spouses and dependents of service members who have been KIA, lost a limb, died while on active duty, or who have been classified as having a service connected evaluation, rated by the VA.
You must be:
- enrolled or planning to be enrolled in an undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree
- attending an accredited college or university
- enrolled in an accredited technical or trade school program that results in a certificate or diploma, as long as you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree
The award will be used to subsidize the costs of tuition, school books, fees, on-campus room and board, and approved education and tutoring as well as other expenses.
This award is based on “unmet need” and can be valued up to $5,000. If a student is going to school on a part-time basis, they would only receive up to $2,500.
There is also a Children’s Fund Scholarship to help provide support for dependents ages K-12 for approved and accredited private school tuition, educational tutoring, required books, and school uniforms.
Deadline: The deadline for the 2023-2024 scholarship application is in March.
Fisher House – Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship
Details: This scholarship is for unmarried dependent children under the age of 23 who has a parent who has fallen in battle or who has died or become disabled through active military service after September 11, 2001. The amount of the award depends on the year.
This fund was established by President Barack Obama after publishing his book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” He donates his after-tax proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation to establish a fund for children of the fallen or disabled.
This scholarship will pay for qualified expenses which include tuition, fees, lab fees, books, and other degree-related costs.
Deadline: Applications for 2024 will should open on December 15th, 2023.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Details: This scholarship offers full financial assistance for post-secondary scholarships for every child who loses a parent serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps special operations. The award is for the full cost of a public college education which includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, tutoring, computers, printers, and supplies.
The award can be used at private universities, state colleges, community colleges, vocational and technical training as well as career institutions. Applications are processed all year long.
The Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Details: This scholarship is available for children of military members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. They must be a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Guardsman, or Marine. Children of POWs and those who have gone MIA are also eligible.
You must be a senior in high school, a high school graduate or currently enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program. You also must be under the age of 26 at the time of application.
This award is good for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, meal plans, transportation expenses, off-campus rent, and other expenses that come with the cost of education.
The amount given depends on the student’s needs.
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Details: In order to apply for this scholarship you will need to be the spouse or a direct lineal descendant of a Purple Heart Recipient or a service member who was Killed in Action or died of their wounds. Children, step-children, adopted children, grandchildren, and step-grandchild all qualify for a direct lineal descendant.
You will also need to be a graduate or an upcoming graduate of a high school or GED program. You need to be full-time enrolled or accepted to an accredited US college, university, or trade school. Graduate students, as well as those seeking an additional undergraduate degree, do not qualify.
The award can be used for tuition, books, incidental fees, room and board, and other direct costs.
Deadline: Applications are due in July for the 2023-2024 school year.
The Remembrance Scholarship Fund
Details: The Remembrance Scholarship Fund is from Gold Star Peak, Inc, and is for family members and veterans of the US Armed Forces. They need to be a Gold Star family member or veterans of the US Military.
They must be enrolled or accepted in an accredited institution of higher learning or a recognized vocational school. The award can be used for tuition, registration fees, textbooks if purchased at the institution, on-campus housing, and on-campus meal plans.
Deadline: May 2023 for the 2023-2024 school year.
NewDay USA Gold Star Scholarships
Details: This scholarship is for candidates desiring to attend select military high schools. The award is to help assist young men and women in their pursuit of academic success and character development, as well as preparing them to be leaders.
The award can be up to $15,000 in tuition assistance for students attending these schools:
- Admiral Farragut Academy – St. Petersburg, Florida
- Army and Navy Academy – Carlsbad, California
- Camden Military Academy – Camden, South Carolina
- Fork Union Military Academy – Fork Union, Virginia
- Georgia Military College – Milledgeville, Georgia
- Hargrave Military Academy – Chatham, Virginia
- Southern Prep Academy – Camp Hill, Alabama
- Marine Military Academy – Harlingen, Texas
- Missouri Military Academy – Mexico, Missouri
- New Mexico Military Institute – Roswell, New Mexico
- New York Military Academy – Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York
- Oak Ridge Military Academy – Oak Ridge, North Carolina
- Riverside Military Academy – Gainesville, Georgia
- St. Catherine’s Academy – Anaheim, California
- St. John’s Military School – Salina, Kansas
- St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy – Delafield, Wisconsin
- Saint Thomas Academy – Mendota Heights, Minnesota
- Valley Forge Military Academy – Wayne, Pennsylvania
List updated as of April 2023.
Participating schools will match this award and families are expected to contribute as they are able. The student’s parent or legal guardian must be a fallen US Armed Forces service member killed on active duty or a US veteran who has died due to their combat-related service or a member of the Armed Forces who has been seriously and completely disabled in combat. They must apply to and be accepted by the school to which they are applying. The financial circumstances of the applicant’s family may be considered.
When looking to apply for any of these scholarships, please remember to double-check that you qualify. Also, remember to triple-check application dates. Some are the same every year, and others change depending on the year.
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About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.