Grants for dependents of veterans to attend college

A blog reader recently asked for advice on finding grants that would support scholarships for dependents of veterans.

For some answers, I turned to my LinkedIn groups for help.

LinkedIn groups for grant professionals are one of my top resources. These groups are free, and most are open to anyone with an interest in the topic.

It's easy to start a new discussion in a group by asking a question. And when I ask a question, I always get insightful responses from knowledgeable people who genuinely want to help.

To get a sense of the power of LinkedIn groups, take a look at the range of leads and suggestions that I got in response to my question about grants/scholarships for veterans:

  • Looking into credit unions -- "Credit unions that serve military personnel sometimes have scholarship programs for dependents. I don't think one has to be a credit union member to apply."
  • Checking military.com (this page in particular) -- "They sometimes post scholarship opportunities."
  • Reading a Veterans Administration website called "Transfer of Post-9/11 GI-Bill Benefits to Dependents" -- "It has all the requirements and additional information on the left sidebar. Spouses/children are able to use it if all eligibility requirements are met. There are also scholarship programs for dependants of deceased service members."
  • For veterans in the midwest, contacting the Robert R. McCormick Foundation -- "They recently created a funding focus area specifically for organizations providing veterans services."

There was also discussion of the intricacies of transferring GI Bill benefits to dependents and a comment that, "for each branch of the military, there are organizations that help service members in that particular branch with scholarship assistance."

Another group member suggested "writing about the individual's personal experiences as a military dependent in other, non-military, private scholarship applications to differentiate from other applicants."

I hope that this example proves to you that LinkedIn groups can be an amazing resource for you -- no matter what your question is! 

Whether you're looking for new funding prospects, trying to make a decision, or seeking to learn best practices in grantseeking, LinkedIn groups provide you with access to seasoned opinions.

Groups I recommend include "Professional Grant Writers" and "Grant Professionals Association." You can find these and other similar groups by doing a keyword search under the Groups tab within LinkedIn.

-- ADDENDUM --

I got some great feedback on this post, including links to additional resources.

A reader noted that, "There is a plethora of information on veterans' scholarships.  However, many of these scholarships require that veterans apply directly."

She listed the following possibilities:

Disabled veterans may qualify for one of several scholarship programs offered by the Department of Defense. Program names may change, as well as the guidelines for application and qualification; but current information may be found at the Department of Defense website.

The Military Officer's Association of America (MOAA) offers various scholarships and other financial aid programs for veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. Applicants need only fill out one application in order to be considered for all of MOAA’s financial aid programs. Eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other details of application vary amongst the programs.

Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom are eligible for the Horatio Alger Military Scholarship provided that they are enrolling in a four-year degree and can demonstrate financial need.

The very well known Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) funds a variety of generous programs, including Voice of Democracy (for 9-12 grade high school students, providing college scholarships -- recipients don’t need to be dependents of veterans or active-duty military); Patriot’s Pen (for 6-8 grade middle school students, providing savings bond awards -- recipients don’t need to be dependents); Scout of the Year (providing college scholarships for 9th-12th grade Eagle Scouts -- recipients don’t need to be dependents). In the past they also offered a very generous program which has recently been discontinued, the VFW Military Scholarships. When it was offered, applicants must have beenVFW members, either currently serving in the military or being a veteran. Veteran applicants were required to apply within 36 months of discharge to be eligible. There were 25 awards (of $3,000 each) awarded each year.

NBCC Foundation - The NBCC Foundation Military Scholarship Program is designed to encourage service members and veterans to pursue careers in professional counseling.  The program provides financial support to students who enroll, or seek to enroll, in a CACREP accredited counseling program during or after military service, and who commit to serving military personnel.

Pat Tillman Foundation - The Pat Tillman Foundation has announced that the new Leadership Through Action - Tillman Military Scholars program is accepting applications.  Individuals eligible include Veterans and active Service Members of both pre- and post- 9/11 service; Service Members who wish to start, finish, or further their education; Service Members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserve); Service Members pursuing undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, two-year, four-year, public, private, vocational, and trade degrees or certifications; and dependents of Service Members (children and spouses).

Troops to Teachers - The Troops to Teachers (TTT) program enriches the quality of American education by helping to place mature, motivated, experienced, and dedicated personnel in our nation's classrooms.  TTT provides financial assistance, counseling, and employment referral through a network of state TTT Placement Assistance Offices.

Veterans United Scholarship Program through the Veterans United Foundation - This scholarship may be available to active-duty service members, Veterans, spouse of military member or Veteran, spouse of a fallen soldier, or child of military member or Veteran.

American Legion Scholarship - American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students. Applicant must be a member of the American Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of The American Legion and shall have paid dues for the two preceding years and for the calendar year in which application is made.  The applicant must also be a student who has had at least one year of college and is in need of financial assistance to pursue an undergraduate degree.  Check with your local American Legion for additional scholarship opportunities.

AMVETS - Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship - The Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, who are seeking new skills in order to be competitive in the job market.

AMVETS National Scholarship Program - The AMVETS National Scholarship Program is available to financially assist Veterans who have exhausted government aid, or who might not otherwise have the financial means to continue their education.

AMVETS Scholarships - AMVETS annually awards scholarships to Veterans/active military, their sons, daughters or grandchildren.  A son, daughter or grandchild of a deceased Veteran is also eligible.

Daniel Drevnick Scholarship - The Daniel Drevnick Scholarship has been established to assist Veterans in the transition from military service to civilian law enforcement.  The fund is awarded twice yearly to an outstanding Veteran or family member of a Veteran.  The memorial fund promotes the values of freedom, opportunity, responsibility, compassion and morality, because that is what Daniel stood for.  For additional information see www.heroathome.org.

Grand Lodge Matching Funds Scholarship Program - Minnesota Masonic Charities matches the local lodge scholarships, up to the maximum matching award per lodge of $1,500 for 2010.

Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship - The Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship is awarded to Veterans who have served under the United States Military Operation in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom beginning Sept. 11, 2001 or later.

Mike Nash Memorial Scholarship Fund - The Mike Nash Scholarship Fund was established in 1991.  Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) established a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to: Vietnam era Veterans, dependent children, grandchildren and orphans and widows of deceased Vietnam Veterans, for costs associated with undergraduate studies at accredited educational/technical institutions.

Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship - The Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship is available to the recipient of a Purple Heart; a direct descendant of a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart or of a Veteran killed in action or who died of wounds; or a spouse or widow(er) of a recipient of the Purple Heart.

Minnesota National Guard Scholarships - Minnesota National Guard has several options for scholarships.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society - Visit the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Education Programs site for a listing of education programs available to help eligible Navy and Marine Corps families pursue their academic goals by providing a source of education financing.

In addition, many colleges and universities directly provide scholarships to veterans. For example:

- Michigan State University lists a plethora of scholarships available for veterans, their children, active-duty personnel, and other military-related individuals. The requirements of eligibility vary amongst the available scholarships, but most veterans should be able to find at least one scholarship they may apply for.

- Veterans, current servicemen and women, and their family members may qualify for scholarship programs established through Grantham University. The scholarships honor those who have served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Requirements vary among awards: the Military Education Scholarship for Veterans; the Military Education Scholarship for Service Members; the Military Education Scholarship for Family Members; and the Military Severely Injured Scholarship.

- The University of Idaho's program called "Operation: Education" covers all college and a generous stash of living expenses. The program, extended to veterans and spouses, not only covers tuition, fees, and books but also provides for other expenses such as housing, daycare, transportation, and medical help. The applicant must have sustained a serious and permanent injury during the War on Terrorism or must be the spouse of such a person. Idaho residents are given priority.

De Anza College Scholarships for Veterans are awarded to military vets seeking degrees in business, engineering, medicine, science, or technology. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, as well as have and maintain an enrollment of at least 6 credits per quarter. Financial need is a requirement. All applicants must have sustained an injury in combat or served in a combat zone. Awards are $2,000.

University of Minnesota Founders Free Tuition Program benefits qualified incoming students from Minnesota who meet financial need requirements.