A college scholarship program that will award a combined $1.4 million to hundreds of military children will stop taking applications Feb. 16 ― one of several such programs with approaching deadlines.

Completed applications for the Scholarships for Military Children Program, which is conducted each year in partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency, must reach the applicant’s local commissary prior to the deadline, either by mail or hand delivery.

This year, 700 scholarships (each worth $2,000) will be awarded through this program for the 2018-19 school year. At least one scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location where qualified applications are received, with additional scholarships awarded at stores with larger numbers of applicants.

This is just one scholarship program available to military children. Students may be eligible to apply for many other scholarships; one place to start is the Scholarships for Service search tool, developed by the Fisher House Foundation.

The tool asks a few questions and conducts an extensive search of thousands of scholarships available specifically for applicants with a military affiliation.

The military relief societies also have scholarships available for military children. The Army Emergency Relief application deadline is April 2; the Air Force Aid Society deadline is April 30; and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society deadline is May 1.

For the Scholarships for Military Children Program, students should make sure that both they and their sponsor are enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database and have a military ID card. Those eligible include:

  • Dependent unmarried children under age 23 of active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired service members.
  • Survivors of service members who died on active duty. 
  • Survivors of those who died while receiving military retired pay.

Students must be enrolled or planning to enroll in the fall of 2018 in a full-time undergraduate program at a four-year accredited U.S. college or university or two-year community college.

Requirements include providing a completed two-page application; the student’s official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants, or college transcript indicating a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for students already enrolled in college; and a typewritten or computer-printed essay of 500 words or less, and no longer than two pages.

This year’s essay question addresses the effect of the internet on modern society and the family, and is spelled out on the application.

More than $16.7 million in scholarships have been awarded to a total of 10,114 students over the 17-year life of the program.

No government money is used to provide scholarships or administer the program: Scholarship funds come from donations by both business partners who sell products in the commissaries and the general public, and the Fisher House Foundation pays for the administration cost and the scholarship management contract.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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