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12 Best Scholarships for Veterans & Dependents

08.31.2023 • 6 min read

Lizann Lightfoot

Editor and Military Spouse

Here’s a list of scholarships for veterans and their dependents with all the requirements and details. Learn also the benefits of getting a college degree.

In This Article:

  1. Top 12 Scholarships for Veterans

  2. Advice for Veterans and Dependents

  3. Benefits of a College Degree for Military Veterans

  4. Study with Outlier

You served in the military and sacrificed for our country.

Or, if you’re a military spouse, you made sacrifices to support your service member’s career and missions.

When you’re ready to earn a college degree, your country wants to thank you for all your sacrifices by offering military scholarships for veterans and their families. Numerous programs are available.

Let’s explore the veteran scholarships and grants available to you, so you can make the most of the benefits you’ve earned.

Top 12 Scholarships for Veterans

Veterans can apply for many scholarships. Some ‌specifically benefit the children of veterans. Every military family should be aware of the broad applicant pool or their high value in financial assistance.

1. The G.I. Bill

Active duty service members automatically qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefit. This covers 4 years of college tuition and fees for in-state public schools. For private or out-of-state schools, student veterans can apply for the Yellow Ribbon program to cover the gap between the school’s tuition and the G.I. Bill coverage.

If the service member doesn’t need the entire benefit, they can transfer some or all of their G.I. Bill to a spouse or dependent child, as long as they have enough time remaining on their military contract.

Eligibility Requirements: Available to any service member who spent at least 90 days on active duty after September 11, 2001, or who received a Purple Heart or was honorably discharged after that time.

Amount: 36 months of tuition, fees, and housing stipend for full-time students

2. ROTC Scholarships

Every military branch provides Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships for college students to pursue a 4-year college degree and military training simultaneously.

Upon graduation, ROTC candidates are commissioned as an officer in that branch, with a required minimum service commitment of 5-8 years (depending on their degree).

Eligibility Requirements: Based on physical fitness, academics, and references

Amount: Tuition and fees, sometimes including room and board, at up to 1,000 participating colleges

3. American Legion Scholarship

The American Legion Auxiliary supports veterans and military families through numerous programs, including the Legacy Scholarship for children of post-9/11 veterans. This award is needs-based and requires evidence of a veteran’s death or disability rating.

Eligibility Requirements: Children of service members who died after September 11, 2001 or received a disability rating greater than 50%

Amount: $5,000-$20,000, renewable up to 6 years

4. Military Child of the Year Award

The nonprofit organization Operation Homefront sponsors these scholarships annually, offering 7 awards: 1 to each branch of the armed forces and the National Guard. One teen is selected from each branch and awarded based on their community leadership, volunteer activities, or extracurricular involvement.

The winners are announced each April—the Month of the Military Child—during a gala event in Washington, D.C. While there, they receive their grant check, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts.

Eligibility Requirements: Military dependent, age 13-18

Amount: $10,000

5. Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship

This competitive scholarship program awards scholarships annually to Purple Heart recipients, their spouses, children, and grandchildren.

Applicants must be direct descendants of a Purple Heart recipient, and be a high school senior enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited U.S. college or trade school. Winners are selected based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community and military service, work experience, letters of recommendation, and an essay.

Eligibility: Direct descendent of a Purple Heart recipient with academic merit able to maintain a minimum GPA

Amount: Varies annually, based on funding

6. Fisher House Foundation Scholarships

Every school year, the Fisher House Foundation awards 500 scholarship grants, each worth $2,000, to military children. Recipients must have a parent who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. And the child must plan to attend a 4-year undergraduate program.

Eligibility: Child of a service member enrolling in a 4-year college

Amount: $2,000

7. The Marine Corps Scholarship

This long-standing scholarship program for the children of Marines or Navy Corpsmen has awarded 55,000 scholarships in 60 years to help military children with extraordinary academic records attend the college of their choice.

Applicants must submit excellent grades and demonstrate leadership in their community.

Eligibility: Child of a Marine or Navy Corpsman with strong academic performance and community service, attending college or trade school

Amount: Up to $40,000

8. Army Women’s Foundation Scholarships

The Army Women’s Foundation (AWF) offers several types of college scholarships and financial aid. These go either to women who have served in the Army or to female descendants of Army women.

The largest is the Trident University International Scholarship. It offers 6 full-ride tuition scholarships to Trident University. An AWF Legacy Scholarship is also available for undergraduate or graduate studies.

Eligibility: Must demonstrate Army connection, high academic performance, and submit an application essay

Amount: $2,500-$40,000

9. Hope for the Warriors

This scholarship program benefits military spouses and caregivers of post-9/11 veterans. The initiative rewards those who have supported wounded or fallen military personnel.

Five scholarships are awarded annually, each with different requirements. For example, the Restoring Family Scholarship is awarded to spouses of fallen veterans. The Honorary Scholarship is for military spouses seeking higher education graduate or postgraduate degrees.

Eligibility: Spouses or caregivers of post-9/11 service members with a combat-related injury or a 100% VA disability rating

Amount: Varies

10. Daughters of the Cincinnati Scholarship

This scholarship program originally supported descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers. Now, it serves daughters of commissioned officers serving in the U.S. armed forces. It’s a need-based scholarship fund.

Applicants must complete an essay, submit records of their grades and a letter of recommendation, along with a Student Aid Report and FAFSA.

Eligibility: Daughters of commissioned officers attending 4-year college, selection based on merit and financial need

Amount: Up to $20,000 total, awarded over a 4-year period

11. Capital One Virginia Military Dependent Scholarship

Each year, one high school senior receives this award. They must be a dependent of an active duty service member or someone serving in the Reserves or National Guard, and cannot be family members of Capital One employees.

The winner is selected based on strong academic performance and community involvement.

Eligibility: High school senior who is a military dependent

Amount: $5,000

12. AMVETS National Scholarship Program

American Veterans (AMVETS) National Headquarters awards several scholarships annually to:

  • Veterans

  • Active duty servicemembers

  • Spouses or widows of servicemembers

  • Military children

  • Grandchildren

The scholarships are intended to fill financial gaps after federal student aid or state grants and scholarships have been used, to help mitigate student loans.

Eligibility: Be in a qualifying category (veteran, spouse, or child) enrolled in full-time study for an undergraduate degree

Amount: $4,000 or $12,000

Advice for Veterans and Dependents

Military scholarships for veterans and their family members are a great way to reward and show appreciation for the brave men and women who fight for our country.

Some programs focus on special qualifications, like disabled veteran scholarships. Others are limited to those who served in a specific branch of the military. Some benefits are for active duty military, and other military scholarships for veterans help them boost their career opportunities

Research and learn the full range of military scholarships for veterans so you can use all the benefits available to you and your family.

Remember, some scholarships ‌can benefit military spouses or children, such as scholarships for dependents of disabled veterans. So even if the military service member has already earned a college degree, other scholarships and grants can help family members.

Pro Tip: See our list of military spouse scholarships.

Benefits of a College Degree for Military Veterans

If you have already completed a career in the U.S. military, you may be wondering whether you need to put in the time and effort to earn a college degree. Can’t you get your next job based on military experience and veteran status?

Well, depending on your area of military experience and your chosen career in post-military life, the answer is: not really.

Even “military-friendly” employers will expect applicants to have a college diploma for most jobs. And numerous fields of military work don’t have translatable skills to civilian jobs. Without a college degree, your job options are limited.

Here are the main benefits of earning a college degree as a military veteran.

  • Better job opportunities - A college degree opens doors to more positions and higher salaries to maximize your earning power.

  • Easier transition into civilian life - Post-military life is easier when employers are competing for you instead of you searching wildly for a way to pay the bills.

  • Broader fields of experience - Sure, the military taught you how to use a weapon. But a college degree will teach you marketable skills employers actually want to see on a resume.

If you want to live your best life after military service, plan to earn a college degree while you are active duty or after you have left the military.

Study with Outlier

For military veterans and their dependents who want to complete an accredited online degree from a reputable university—without overspending on tuition—then check out the Golden Gate University Degrees+ program, powered by Outlier.org.

The courses are completely online and flexible to fit your schedule. You can earn an associate degree plus a professional certificate from a top company, while working as a part-time student. Outlier.org offers world-class instructors for multiple courses and degrees, including:



Degrees+ is affordable, just 1 ⁄ 3 the average U.S. college tuition. At $199 per college credit, it can be fully funded with a Pell Grant or the GI Bill. Because the courses are accredited, they can be funded through the scholarship programs mentioned above, and the credits are transferable to other colleges and universities.

Learn more about how Outlier supports the military so you can get started on your degree with flexible programs.

Degrees+: Discover Online College Unlike Anything You’ve Experienced

Outlier (winner of TIME Best Inventions 2020) and Golden Gate University (#1 school for working professionals) have redesigned the experience of earning a college degree to minimize cost and maximize outcomes. Explore a revolutionary way to earn your college degree: