Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry Scholarship

Student Aid Tuition Assistance

Scholarship Update: In 2014 changes to the Fry Scholarship program expanded eligiblity to include surviving spouses.

The Fry Scholarship is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) that makes education benefits available to the surviving spouses and children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001.

The scholarship was created to honor the memory of Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas. With only a week left in his Iraq tour in 2006, Fry injured his hand and was given the option of going home early with a Bronze Star. Fry declined the offer and volunteered to go on one last run to defuse bombs. Fry was killed March 8, 2006, by an improvised explosive device in Anbar province, Iraq, leaving behind his widow and three small children.

Like Post-9/11 veterans, eligible survivng spouses and children attending school may receive full tuition coverage at state-operated colleges and universities, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance under this program.

Surviving spouses' eligibility expires  either on the 15th anniversary of the servicemembers death or on the date the surviving spouse remarries. In addition, a surviving spouse who is eligible to more for veterans' educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill must select a single coverage.

Eligible children are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level and they have 15 years to use the benefit after their 18th birthday. The benefits may be used until their 33rd birthday. Children underage 18 cannot use this benefit even if they have completed high school. They are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

NOTE: The childs marital status does not affect eligibility for the Fry Scholarship.

Eligible children attending school may receive:

  • Full tuition & fees paid directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at $17,500 per academic year.
  • Students attending a private Institute of Higher Learning in AZ, MI, NH, NY, PA, SC or TX may be eligible for a higher tuition reimbursement rate:
  • A monthly housing allowance
  • A books & supplies stipend

However, they are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Rules for eligible children serving, or who have served, in the Armed Forces:

  • If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • A child's character of discharge from his or her own service does not impact eligibility resulting from the line of duty death of a parent.
  • A child on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate
  • A child may only qualify for up to 36 months of benefits under Fry and Post- 9/11 GI Bill based on their own service. However, an individual may receive additional entitlement if another parent transfers entitlement to the individual.

Children who have used or wish to use entitlement under Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)

  • If a child is eligible for the Fry Scholarship, he or she may be eligible for VA’s Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA). Although the benefits cannot be used at the same time, a child may be eligible for up to 48 months of benefits between the two programs. Find out more about DEA at

How to apply

Go to VA's website, and click on 'Apply for Benefits.' Paper versions of the form (VA Form 22-5490) may also be printed. A parent or guardianmust sign the application if the child is under age 18.

Related Topics

Scholarships Family Education

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at
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