FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 29, 2016) -- The time remaining to apply for one of the 2016 Scholarships for Military Children, each worth $2,000, is rapidly dwindling, as this year's Feb. 12 deadline approaches.

Applications, including the required essay, must be received at a military commissary by the close of business that day. They should be hand-delivered, but if that is not convenient, they can be sent to a commissary via the U.S. Postal Service or FEDEX/UPS. They cannot be faxed or emailed.

At least one scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location with qualified applicants.

This year's essay question addresses childhood obesity and its effect on military recruitment: "Obesity is among the leading causes of military ineligibility among people 17 to 24, affecting nearly 30 percent of men and women in this age group. Specifically, how would you address this problem and what are your proposed solutions? What would be the challenges with implementing your plan?"

Essays must be 500 words or less, typewritten or computer-generated, double spaced, and no longer than two pages. Last year, 700 students were awarded scholarships from the 4,000 applicants, who submitted entries by the deadline.

Applications are available in commissaries worldwide and online. To apply for a scholarship, the student must be a dependent, unmarried child, younger than 21 (or 23, if enrolled as a full-time student at a college or university) of either a service member on active duty, a reservist, a guardsman or a retiree, or the survivor of a military member who died while on active duty, or the survivor of a retiree.

Eligibility is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current military ID card. The applicant must also be planning to attend or already attending an accredited college or university, full time, in fall 2016 or be enrolled in a program of study designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.

Applicants, who are awarded a full scholarship or receive an appointment to one of the military academies or affiliated preparatory schools, are not eligible to receive funds from this program. A full scholarship is usually defined as one that provides for payment of tuition, books, lab fees and other expenses.

The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created in 2001 to recognize the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military family community. Since its inception, the program has awarded almost $14 million in scholarships to nearly 9,000 children of service members.

The scholarship program is administered by the Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to service members and their families. Scholarship Managers, a national, nonprofit, scholarship-management services organization, manages and awards the military scholarships. If students have questions about the scholarship program application, they should call Scholarship Managers at 856-616-9311 or email them at militaryscholar@scholarshipmanagers.com.

No government funds are used to support the Scholarships for Military Children Program.

Commissary vendors, manufacturers, brokers, suppliers and the general public donate money to fund the program. Every dollar donated goes directly to funding the scholarships.