By Mike Perron, DeCA Public Affairs
FORT LEE, Va. – The Feb. 17 deadline to apply to the Scholarships for Military Children program, administered by the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation, is quickly approaching.
A total of 500 scholarship grants, each for $2,000, will be awarded for the 2022-23 school year with at least one recipient selected at every commissary location where qualified applications are received. Additional recipients will be selected based on a prorated basis, so more applicants will be selected from those commissaries with larger numbers of applicants.
“As of Jan. 28, there had been just over 1,200 completed applications submitted, but from experience, we anticipate somewhere near 5,000 by the deadline,” said Marshall Banks, Fisher House Foundation’s Director of Community Relations.
Now in its 22nd year, the Scholarships for Military Children Program, through the generosity of DeCA business partners and others, has allowed more than 12,300 students, selected from a pool of nearly 109,000 applicants, to share over $21 million in scholarship grants.
The 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. It is open to sons and daughters of active duty, reserve/guard, or retired military commissary customers.
“Over the years Fisher House has become a beacon of hope for military families, often during the most challenging moments those families will ever face. Our commissaries are incredibly honored to remain participants in a program that has provided the children of military service members with this financial boost to their higher education goals for 22 years now,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to DeCA’s director.
Eligibility for the program is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) 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, 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 service 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 application itself, are available at Fisher House’s Scholarships for Military Children webpage.
Fisher House also hosts a custom scholarship search engine on its web site, tailored to military families, called “Scholarships for Service”. It’s free, easy to use, and formatted for both mobile devices and computers at MilitaryScholar.org.
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.
“Fisher House Foundation and DeCA have had a long-standing partnership on our scholarship program,” said Fisher House Chairman and CEO Kenneth Fisher. “This program is an extension of how we support and show gratitude to our nation’s military families. Just saying thank you is not enough.”
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.
“One hundred percent of the donations given to the Scholarships for Military Children program go toward the award recipients’ education. This means that a $10,000 donation, for example, fully sponsors five scholarships of $2,000 each,” explained Banks. “Fisher House Foundation covers all administration costs and the cost of the scholarship management contract.”
Saucedo also praised the program’s many donors for their continued efforts to keep it alive and relevant for 22 years and counting. “We at the Defense Commissary Agency extend our thanks to Fisher House Foundation as well as the generous industry partner donors and others that make these scholarships possible for so many deserving families each year.”