The cost of college tuition has risen constantly, and as students look ahead to next year, many are researching how to pay—not just tuition, but housing, books, and all of the other non-tuition expenses that come along with getting a degree.
Paying for college is a top concern for families, especially those with children under 18. Military families are no different in their financial concerns. A survey from Blue Star Families found that 13% of military families said they had trouble making ends meet. This is almost double what civilian families reported. It’s not fair that servicemembers who have devoted their lives to their country struggle so much to provide for their families.
Paying for college as a military family may be stressful, but there are options. Read below to see what kinds of aid, scholarships and grants are available to family members of veterans.
Ways to Pay for College
The Post 9/11 GI Bill covers the full cost of in-state tuition and up to $17,500 a year for private college for four years. If left unused, military parents can transfer this benefit to their children if they’ve served at least 10 years, three of those after 9/11.
The Department of Education also has special grants for children whose parents died in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11 and who are eligible for Pell Grants, which are a need-based scholarship. If you’re eligible for a Pell grant and lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan, you’ll receive the maximum amount available per year, which is currently $6,195 a year.
If you’re not eligible for a Pell grant because of your family’s income but fit the other criteria, you can receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, which has the same maximum amount of $6,195 a year for four years.
CommonBond is currently offering a $3,000 scholarship for children whose parents are currently or have served in the military. The deadline to apply is May 8, 2019.
CommonBond Chief Operating Officer Robb Granado is an Air Force veteran and said the military taught him to be resilient, no matter what’s going on. He also learned how to be a leader and how to be of service to others. That’s partially why CommonBond offers a scholarship to military offspring.
Granado received an ROTC scholarship during his own undergraduate years and assistance from the VA for graduate schools. He knows the importance of receiving financial aid and how it can change your life.
“Our society benefits from an educated workforce that has empathy for military service and war,” he said. “Facilitating and supporting the education of our veterans improves our universities, our companies, and our society.”
These groups also often have scholarships available to children of military personnel: American Legion, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars. You can also contact your college directly to see if they offer special programs for children of veterans. Their financial aid office should have more information about what you might qualify for.
Contact your specific military branch to see what options they have for family members. You may be surprised at how many programs there are. You can also reach out to Veterans Affairs department, which also has specific scholarships for children whose parents served or died in combat.
Even for the strongest Americans, paying for college can be hard. CommonBond is proud to support military families in paying for college.