Spouses and children are important parts of the military family and sometimes suffer greatly, particularly after the death or permanent disability of a service member. The following programs are specifically for military dependents.


Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship

This program provides financial aid to military spouses who are pursuing associate’s degrees, certifications, certificates, and licenses at approved academic institutions.

  • Award amount: Spouses are eligible for $2,000 annually for up to two years. While this money may be applied to tuition or the costs of required exams, it may not be applied to books, fees, reimbursements, nonrequired classes or exams, CLEP tests, high school completion programs, college entrance exams, or any personal costs.
  • Eligibility: Spouses of active duty service members and activated reserve and National Guard members are eligible. The service members must fall within the following pay grades: E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. A spouse of an activated reserve and National Guard member must be able to finish his or her coursework while the service member is activated.
    • Coast Guard spouses are not eligible.

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

This scholarship provides financial assistance to spouses and dependents of service members who were killed in the line of duty. This scholarship and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program may not be combined except in special circumstances.

  • Award amount: This scholarship provides full in-state tuition at public universities or up to $22,805.35 each year at private colleges and universities, plus a stipend of up to $1,000 each year for books and supplies, and a monthly housing allowance. The above rate covers the 2017–2018 school year; until August 1, 2017, the Fry Scholarship will provide up to $21,970.46 annually for students attending private institutions.
  • Eligibility: This scholarship is available to the children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001.
    • Spouses can use benefits up to 15 years from the date of the service member’s death for a maximum of 36 months. Spouses who remarry immediately lose all benefits.
    • Children are eligible for benefits when they turn 18 years old or graduate high school. Children lose eligibility when they turn 33 years old.

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program

This program provides financial assistance to spouses and dependents of veterans who were killed in the line of duty or as the result of a service-related injury, who are missing in action, who were captured by a hostile force, or who became permanently disabled as the result of a service-related injury. Assistance from this program and the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship cannot be combined except in special circumstances.

  • Award amount: This program provides a monthly allowance directly to a student for college, technical, or vocational programs, certification tests, on-the-job training or apprenticeships, tutoring, or work-study. This amount is currently $1,024 per month for a full-time student at a postsecondary institution but can be less depending on the program and whether the student is enrolled full- or part-time. Students completing apprenticeships or on-the-job training, for example, may receive a maximum of $747 per month.
  • Eligibility: The student must be the daughter, son, or spouse of a veteran who was permanently disabled as a result of his or her military service or of a veteran who died while on active duty or as a result of his or her service. Dependents of service members who are missing in action are also eligible.
    • Sons and daughters wishing to receive educational assistance must be between 18 and 26 years old.
    • Surviving spouses of service members who died on active duty or spouses of permanently disabled and discharged veterans must use benefits within 20 years of the death or discharge of the service member. Surviving spouses of veterans who do not fulfill the aforementioned qualifications must use benefits within 10 years of the service member’s death.
    • Benefits last for a maximum of 45 months.

Page last updated: 04/2017