FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Amid the frequent deluge of gloomy economic reports, the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund Committee has positive financial news for the Fort Lewis military community.

The committee anticipates continuing its longstanding tradition of awarding thousands of dollars in scholarship funds. Applications for 2009 scholarships are being accepted through March 31.

Eligible applicants must be dependents of Fort Lewis service members currently on active duty or retired from any branch of military service. Also eligible are surviving family members whose sponsor was last assigned to Fort Lewis.

The applicants' eligibility is determined by their sponsors, and not the current residence of the applicant. For example, if a Soldier is divorced from his or her spouse, and the high school student lives with the other parent in another state, the child is still eligible, as long as the Soldier's permanent duty station is Fort Lewis. Family members of Reserve Soldiers and National Guard called to active duty and serving at Fort Lewis are also eligible.

"As a community, we value education and recognize that frequent PCS moves incident to military life often make it difficult for military children and spouses to obtain in-state tuition, financial aid and scholarships," said Diana Wright, committee chair.

"It is so rewarding to see the generosity of the Fort Lewis community even during difficult financial times," Wright said. "It is such a pleasure to be able to help military family members pursue their educational goals."

Currently a senior music major at Washington State University in Pullman, Karina Brazas won $3,000 in 2005.

"(The scholarship) was immensely helpful in that it allowed me, along with other private scholarships, to pay for all of my costs freshman year, including living expenses," she said. "Being required to live on campus your freshman year makes that first year your most expensive - about seven grand more - so it really paid for my room and board, essentially."

Applications are judged based on a wide variety of criteria, including leadership, volunteerism, academics and an essay response. Applicants are chosen by an impartial panel of judges to guarantee the integrity of the application process. The judges do not know the identity of the students whose packets they are reviewing. Applicants are notified by the committee of their selection at the conclusion of the panel's review.

Funded entirely by donations from private organizations, local businesses and individuals, the fund has awarded more than $500,000 to family members during the past 20 years.

Last year, the fund provided more than $22,000 in scholarships to 13 students in the Fort Lewis community. The Fort Lewis Scholarship Fund is part of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC No. 44805).

New for this year, the application is available online as a Microsoft Word fill-in form to make for a neater, more professional application that is easier for a panel of judges to read.
To download a current application, log on to www.lewis.army.mil/ctr_of_excellence or www.lewisfamilyfocus.com.

Page last updated Fri January 16th, 2009 at 16:28