By Mike PerronJanuary 20, 2017
FORT LEE, Va. -- Although 2017 is just getting underway, many forward-looking military families are preparing for college enrollment in the fall by finalizing their Fisher House Foundation "Scholarships for Military Children" applications in time for the program's Feb. 17 deadline.
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. The program is administered by Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to service members and their families.
Applying for one of the 700 available $2,000 scholarship grants is straightforward. Requirements include providing a completed two-page application; the student's official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants, or college transcript indicating a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for students already enrolled in college; and a typewritten or computer printed essay of 500 words or less, and no longer than two pages.
This year's essay question is multi-part: "If you had the chance to have a 30-minute conversation with any person in human history (either living or deceased), who would be the person you choose? Why? What topic would you discuss with this person?"
"With the deadline to submit your application for the Fisher House Scholarship for Military Children fast approaching, make sure you double-check the list of items required to be submitted to be eligible for the scholarship," said Marye Dobson, the Defense Commissary Agency's scholarships program liaison.
"The two-page application, your high school or college transcripts and the short typed essay all have to be submitted in one package," she said.
Eligibility for the program is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current military dependent ID card. The applicant must also be planning to attend or already be attending an accredited college or university, full time, in the fall of 2017 or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.
Applicants who are awarded a full scholarship to attend a college or university 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.
All rules and requirements for the program, as well as links to frequently asked questions and the downloadable application are available at http://www.militaryscholar.org.
Fisher House has also announced the addition of a scholarship search engine, tailored to military families, called "Search for Service." It's free, easy to use, and available on mobile devices or computers at the same militaryscholar.org site.
Students enter brief background information and educational goals and the search tool will identify military-affiliated scholarships they may be eligible for based on their input. Once the search is complete, students receive a list of scholarships with a summary of eligibility requirements, points of contact and links to the scholarship provider's website. Students can elect to have a PDF file of the results immediately emailed to them for use in selecting which scholarships to apply for.
According to Brian Gawne, vice president of community relations for Fisher House, it was his own experience as a military father that helped identify the need for the search engine. "We realized that with a finite amount of money, we could have provided a few more scholarships, but by investing the money in a search engine, it gave access to hundreds of scholarships that people might not otherwise know about," he said.
Gawne noted that additionally, the Search For Service search engine is never used to collect data for marketing purposes. "We're not using this to collect data and then send email or solicitations," he said.
The Scholarships for Military Children program is managed by Scholarship Managers, a national, nonprofit organization. If students have questions about the scholarship program application, they should call Scholarship Managers at 856-616-9311 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.