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7 top scholarships for Veterans

Salute these debt-free funding options for service men, women and their children

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If you’ve served in the US military, there could be free money in scholarships out there. This is money that can cover some of your education, if you qualify. And there are many out there specifically for veterans.

How we picked these scholarships

We looked for scholarships open to veterans in all branches of the US military, with a range of requirements. We also looked at a full range of need- and merit-based scholarships while paying attention to award amounts and scholarships that are specific to a particular field or area of study.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: November 15th

This scholarship is open to both active duty and honorably discharged veterans. However, make sure you meet the deployment criteria. You must also be a current undergraduate student and only in your sophomore or junior year.

The AMVETS Scholarship

  • Amount: $4,000, $1,000 annually for 4 years
  • Deadline: October 15th

We always look for scholarships that can be renewed annually because it helps you maintain funding levels throughout your program. If you have used financial aid in the past, make sure you are in good financial standing, otherwise you won’t qualify.

Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: $12,000, $3,000 annually for 4 years
  • Deadline: October 15th

Available through AMVETS, this scholarship is worth 3 times the amount, and it is also renewable annually. This scholarship could provide some real financial freedom to the lucky recipient.

Ankin Law Office Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: July 15th

While not as big as some of the other scholarships, this one is unique because it is open to veterans who are in trade or vocational programs. If you were learning a trade while in the military and want to continue that training as a civilian, this scholarship can help ease the financial burden.

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000 for community college or certificate program students
  • $2,500 bachelor or graduate students
  • Deadline: January 10th

This scholarship specifically honors veterans who are women. It is also available for multiple different degree levels, including certificate programs. This is rare since most scholarships don’t allow certificate programs.

VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship"

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: April 30th Fall semester and November 15th Spring semester

We love this scholarship, because it is geared towards helping veterans in need. Along with the basic eligibility requirements that most scholarships on this list require, the VFW scholarship also requires demonstrating financial need. And at $5,000 in available funds, it can make a huge impact.

Tillman Scholars Program

  • Amount: $11,000, renewable annually
  • Deadline: February 29th

If there was one scholarship that you were going to apply for, make it this one. With $11,000 in awarded funds and availability to renew it each year, this scholarship can fund an entire degree program. However, be prepared for an in-depth application process including an essay, video and a background check.

Scholarships for children of veterans

If you’re not a vetern, but have a parent or family member who served, you could qualify for debt-free funding. Check out these scholarships available to the children and grandchildren of veterans.

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: April 1st

This scholarship is a solid option for any immediate family member of a Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy. Especially if you’re pursuing your degree at a vocational college, since many scholarships exclude them. However, you need to pursue a full associate or bachelor degree — certificate programs are not eligible.

Huebner Scholarship

  • Amount: $10,000, $2,500 annually for 4 years)
  • Deadline: May 1st

Children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren of Army soldiers from the First Infantry Division can apply for the Huebner scholarship. We love that it opens doors that most scholarships close by restricting eligible recipients to only children. Also, it is renewable for four years, equating to $10,000 in free money.

The Tailhook Educational Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,500 to $15,000
  • Deadline: December 15th

Similar to the Huebner scholarship, the Tailhook Educational Foundation Scholarship is also open to grandchildren, although great grandchildren are excluded. This is a merit based scholarship that is tailored to students interested in a degree in science, technology, engineering, the arts or math. With a max payout of $15,000 it is definitely worth applying for.

How else can I pay for school?

If you still have gaps in your funding after exhausting all of your scholarships, check out these other options.

  • GI Bill. Veteran can get free education assistance for qualifying service members, veterans and their dependents.
  • Federal grants. Grants are another way to get money for your education that you don’t have to pay back. The federal government offers multiple grants that you can qualify for simply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Work Study. Work study is another government sponsored program that assists colleges with employing active students. This allows you to work on campus with a schedule that accommodates your classes.

Compare student loan providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly

Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Ascent private student loans
540
$200,000
2.71% to 12.99%
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.07% to 9%
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
LendKey Private Student Loans
Varies by lender
4.99% to 11.06%
This connection service partners with Sallie Mae and WSFS Bank to offer competitive rates.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

College is expensive and the growing cost can seem overwhelming. Luckily there are a slew of funding options specific to veterans and their families. Check out our guide to student loans to learn about even more ways to pay for school.

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