AER offers cash for college students
November 26, 2008
By Robin Brown
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- The Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program is accepting applications from Family members of active, retired and deceased Soldiers.
The program offers scholarships based on financial need, academics and leadership or achievement.
"The scholarships are based on financial need, but the financial bar is high, and many Army Families will qualify," said Jolane Williams, Financial Readiness Program manager and Army Emergency Relief (AER) officer at Fort McPherson. "The award rate in the past has exceeded 95 percent for those who meet the eligibility requirements and complete the entire application process."
To be eligible, applicants must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale; be full-time undergraduate students for the entire academic year at a school accredited by the U.S. Department of Education; and be younger than age 23, registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and unmarried.
"The [Ursano] scholarship (for dependents) is especially valuable because there are very few restrictions on its use," Williams explained. "While many scholarships are restricted to tuition and books, this AER scholarship can additionally be used for room and board, both on and off campus." As much as $3,500 is available for those with financial need. Scholarships are also given based on leadership and academic achievement.
The program applications will be available Dec. 2 on the Army Emergency Relief Web site, www.aerhq.org, and are due by March 2, 2008.
For a hard-copy application, call Kasey Philips, program coordinator, at 703-428-0035, send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter by mail to:
Headquarters Army Emergency Relief, MG J.U. Scholarship Program 200 Stovall St. Alexandria, VA 22332-0600
"Ursano scholarship applicants are no longer required to have the Solder's signature if completed online," Williams said. "With so many parents deployed, this simplifies the application process for students. They can start the process with the Soldier's Social Security number; however, if a printed copy is requested from AER, then the Soldier's signature is required on the application. They are strongly encouraging online applications."
The stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program is a need-based program designed to provide spouses with financial assistance in pursuing educational goals or other programs needed to qualify for career opportunities. The program is for spouses of active duty and retired Soldiers and spouses of Soldiers who died on active duty or after retirement and who live in the United States. The range for spouse scholarships will be from $700 through $2,500.
To receive an application by mail, call Diann Evans, AER coordinator, at 703-325-2091, send an e-mail message to email@example.com or write to the headquarters with attention to Stateside Spouse Education Assistance program.
The Student Aid Report (SAR), which is produced from a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is needed for both scholarship programs.
"It is important to remember that the student must send the SAR directly to AER," Williams said. "The SAR is not sent automatically upon completion of the FAFSA because AER is not a school."
The biggest reason for scholarships not being awarded: not submitting the required paperwork.
"Every year, applicants complete the initial step by sending in their application, but they fail to send in the SAR by the deadline. For some, that is the only reason a scholarship is not awarded. Be sure the SAR is mailed by the deadline," said Williams.