How to Pay for College with Veteran Grants
If you are a U.S. military veteran or the child of a veteran and wondering how to pay for college, we have some answers for you. Whether you are still on active duty, serving as a Reservist, or retired from the military, there are many ways that military service can help you and your family to pay for college. First of all remember that when it comes to finding a college grant for veterans, it is important to investigate veterans grants while still on active duty if possible, because in some cases there is a limit to how much time may pass between military discharge and starting college.
Second of all, some of the college grants and scholarships are exclusively for veterans, some are exclusively active duty grants, and some of the college grants are available for both active duty military as well as veterans. In addition, it is important to remember that most grants and scholarships have application deadlines so advanced planning is important for these reasons as well. For active-duty U.S. military personnel, also look for more information from our military grants page to help you pay for college for you or your family members. We also have specific information relating to college grants for military spouses. While the information listed on this page should help U.S. veterans find a college grant, it is also worth investigating the details from our website regarding the Pell Grant to learn about how to pay for college with further sources of federal funding. The application process for 2014 college grants is already underway.
Learn How to Pay for College
There are three main categories of college funding outlined on this page.
- Disabled and Wounded Veterans
- Children of Veterans
How Veterans Can Find Help to Pay for College
U.S. military veterans can learn how to pay for college with the help of scholarships for veterans, college grants for veterans, and advantageous student loans for veterans. U.S. veterans, whether undergraduate or graduate students will find sources of funding from four primary sources:
- The Federal Government
- State Governments
- Universities and Colleges
- Service Organizations and Foundations
Sources of Federal Funding to Help Veterans Pay for College
There are several college grants available to U.S. veterans. In addition to college grants for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, there are also several scholarships and loans available to help them pay for their higher education. Some of these sources of funding focus on undergraduate studies while others are for graduate degrees.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has a website dedicated to helping the military veteran find a college grant. They have a total of 45 different grants and loans available for veterans, including the GI Bill. Veterans also can earn course credit for their knowledge by taking tests known as the College Level Examination Program, known as CLEP. The GI Bill can in some cases be used to pay for the exam fees.
Sources of State Funding to Help Veterans Pay for College
After applying for the Pell Grant, it is important to check with local agencies for your state to seek additional college grants. In some cases, special grants for military veterans and their families are available. Most states have a division of Veteran’s Affairs. These are great sources of information to help veterans learn more about what help is available locally. For example, in the state of New York, there are ‘Veterans Tuition Awards’ (VTA) to help New York state resident veterans pay for college.
Universities and Colleges Offer Scholarships and Reduced Rates to Veterans
Several universities and colleges offer scholarships or reduced tuition rates to veterans. Some examples include
- The University of Phoenix (in cooperation with American Veterans – AMVETS)
- DeVry University (in cooperation with American Veterans – AMVETS)
- Casper College, in Casper, Wyoming
- Excelsior College, in Albany, New York
The National Resource Directory has more than 100 sources for particular college grants and scholarships for U.S. veterans. These opportunities are mostly listed for specific colleges and universities that are reaching out to veterans as an incentive for them to study at their academic institutions. They list government as well as non-government college grants for veterans.
Service Organizations and Foundations Help Veterans Pay for College
- American Veterans (AMVETS) is a service organization that veterans can join. AMVETS offers veterans and their families assistance with their higher educations in the form of a partnership with two universities: The University of Phoenix and DeVry University. The veteran may be eligible for scholarships at either of these institutions. Active military and their spouses may be interested learning about tuition discounts at these institutions as well.
- The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) offers college grants for veterans, as well as scholarships and interest-free loans. Officers and warrant officers of all branches of service are eligible for MOAA membership. This includes active duty, retired, reserve, or National Guard. MOAA members’ children under age 24 can also apply for interest-free loans. A Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or better is required, and financial need is also taken into consideration.
- The Pat Tillman Foundation has scholarships every year to help veterans and their families pay for college.
- The Horatio Alger Association also awards scholarships to military veterans.
How Children of U.S. Military Veterans Can Find Help to Pay for College
There are several college grants available to the children of U.S. veterans as well as for the veterans themselves. College tuition is rising much faster than the inflation rate. It is a good idea to learn how children of deceased veterans can seek help to pay for college through the following:
- Children of Deceased Veterans Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan can receive college grants. This is known as The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG). It is for the children of deceased U.S. military veterans who died during service in Iraq or Afghanistan while sometime after September 11, 2001. Eligible college students should be under age 24 or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time when their veteran parent or guardian died. Students who are already eligible for the Pell Grant are not eligible for the IASG.
- The American Patriot Scholarship by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is for the children of U.S. military officers who died in active duty. Qualified students must be under age 24 at the time of application. The application period begins in early November and the final deadline for applications is March 1st of each year.
- The Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship Program offers a scholarship to the children and grandchildren of Purple Heart recipients. It has a deadline of February 14th.
- Consider also joining the Reserve Officer’s Training Program (ROTC). Your parents do not have to be veterans for you to join. A military service commitment is required in exchange for your college tuition and some other expenses.
How Disabled and Wounded Veterans Can Find Help to Pay for College
- Sentinels of Freedom is a non-profit organization aimed at providing support to veterans who have suffered severe injuries and need help returning to a self-sufficient civilian life. Each year, Sentinels of Freedom awards up to four “Life Scholarships”. These help by setting up volunteers to provide assistance as needed. This may include mentoring, health care, legal assistance, financial advice, job training, and education (in the classroom or on-line). For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org | Carla Goulart: 925-380-6342.
- The University of Nebraska in Omaha (UNO) has the Wounded Veterans Scholarship Fund. It is for U.S. military veterans who have been severely wounded in combat. Eligible students can study full time or part time to earn a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS). UNO also allows transfer credits from military training and accredited colleges and universities to apply toward the BGS. For further information call (402) 595-2371 or see the UNO website: http:/dcs.unomaha.edu.
- The Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship Program has a deadline of February 14th.