Key takeaways

  • If your parent, step-parent or grandparent is a United States veteran, you may be eligible to apply for certain scholarship opportunities that are limited to military family members.
  • Scholarships do not need to be repaid, and are given as free awards to offset the cost of attending school. You may be eligible for specific scholarships based on your relationship with someone in the military, but you may also explore other awards based on your background, school or field of study.
  • Many scholarships accept applications annually, and you may even be eligible to win the same award more than once over the course of your education.

Scholarships provide college students with free money to pay for school. Unlike student loans, they don’t have to be paid back, which makes them a good first choice if you need help affording college. There are scholarships designed for many types of students. Children and grandchildren of veterans can find college funding reserved for them.

7 best scholarships for children of veterans

There are many scholarships for children and grandchildren of veterans. While the scholarships listed below are a good place to start, don’t limit yourself. Scholarship search engines can help you find more scholarships based on your military affiliation, ethnicity, gender, economic background and school.

1. AMVETS National Scholarship

To get an AMVETS National Scholarship, you’ll need to carry at least a 3.0 GPA and show academic and financial need. You’ll also need to prove that you’re a child or a grandchild of a U.S. veteran and be a high school senior entering college the upcoming fall. Applicants will need to submit an essay of 250 to 500 words with a topic that rotates year by year.

2. Paralyzed Veterans of America Educational Scholarship Program

If you’re unmarried and a dependent of a Paralyzed Veterans of America member, you can apply for this scholarship. If you’ve won this scholarship in the past, you can apply again, but you’re capped at two scholarships in a lifetime. Both full- and part-time college students can apply.

3. Dolphin Scholarship Foundation

You might be eligible for the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation award if you’re currently a high school senior or college student and are the child of a current or former member of the submarine force. Accredited technical and vocational schools are accepted, although Military Service Academy students are not eligible.

4. Military Scholarship Competition

Students wanting to pursue a career in logistics and supply chain management can apply for the Military Scholarship Competition. Applicants must be a dependent of a current or former active-duty military member and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. To apply, students must write a 400- to 800-word essay explaining why they’ve chosen a college major in logistics or supply chain management.

5. Wings Over America Scholarship

Children of current or former U.S. Navy personnel may apply for one of the many scholarships Wings Over America offers. In addition to a traditional four-year college, Wings Over America covers community college and trade and technical schools. The scholarships consider five factors: academic achievement, extracurriculars and community service, work experience, recommendations and essays.

6. Children of the Wounded Scholarship

Each year, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships between $2,500 and $10,000. To apply, you must have a GPA of 2.0 or above and an adjusted gross household income of $117,000 or less. You must also be the child or step-child of:

  • A current or former U.S. Marine
  • A current or former U.S. Navy Corpsman, Navy Chaplain or Religious Program Specialist attached or formerly attached to a U.S. Marine Corps unit

7. The Army Scholarship Foundation’s Undergraduate Scholarship

The ASF’s Undergraduate Scholarship is open to high school seniors, high school graduates and undergraduate students. The application is also open to students enrolled in vocational or technical schools. To apply, you must have a minimum GPA of 2.0, be under the age of 24 and submit a 300-word essay answering one of the questions provided. You must also be the child or spouse of a current or former National Guard or U.S. Army member.

Where to find scholarships for children of veterans

If you’re the child or grandchild of someone who served in the U.S. military, there are plenty of scholarships out there just for you. You can find these by doing a quick internet search or by using a scholarship search engine, such as the following:

You can also search for related scholarships at the institution you plan on attending by contacting their financial aid office or by contacting different military- or veteran-affiliated organizations.

It’s worth noting you may be eligible for scholarships based on other factors, too.

When doing your search, try looking for other categories you might fit into. For instance, if you’re a woman, try searching for “scholarships for women.” If you’re a computer science major, try searching for scholarships related to your field of study. Broadening your search is key to securing as much free money as possible.

Tips for applying for scholarships

If you want to limit how much money you borrow through student loans, it’s a good idea to maximize your free money. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

  1. Get organized. Create a spreadsheet that details each scholarship, the award amount, deadlines, application status and anything major you need for the application, like letters of recommendation or essays. It might help to keep a separate tab on all awarded money so you know how much more scholarship money you need for a free ride to school.
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Many scholarships require a completed FAFSA when you apply. To save time, complete the FAFSA as early as possible. This helps your scholarship applications and also gives you an idea of your expected family contribution. It can also help you qualify for federal grants and loans.
  3. Complete requirements. Even after you’ve won awards, stay up to date with ongoing requirements. Many scholarships for children of veterans are multi-year awards requiring annual reapplications. If any scholarships aren’t renewed, you’ll need to cover those costs and apply for new scholarships, grants, work-study or loans.

Other ways to pay for school

Many students find ways of paying for college with scholarships but keep in mind this is not the only way of financing a higher education. In addition to searching for scholarships, be sure to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year you attend school. This can connect you with other funding opportunities like work-study programs, grants and student loans.

Financial aid is the main way most students pay for the cost of a college degree. That said, many also use funds from a college savings account. You may also qualify for a tuition waiver in some cases. Some students work a part-time or seasonal job to earn an income and offset the cost of living while in school.

Bottom line

Being the child of a military veteran can qualify you for a unique set of scholarship awards. Keep an eye on scholarship search engines and be sure to fill out a FAFSA each year you are enrolled in a college, technical school or trade school program. The opportunities available to you may change each year, and leveraging multiple scholarship awards can help you to keep college as affordable as possible.