The Fry Scholarship is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that gives education benefits 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 surviving 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 can use the Fry Scholarship for 15 years from the anniversary of the servicemember's death or until they remarry, some surviving spouses of servicemembers who died prior to December 31, 2005 may have their eligibility extended until December 31, 2021, contact the VA for more information.
Eligible children can use the Fry Scholarship between the ages of 18 and 33. Children under age 18 cannot use this benefit even if they have completed high school. The child's marital status does not affect eligibility for the Fry Scholarship.
Survivors who are eligible for more than one GI Bill benefit must make an irrevocable written election of which benefit they wish to receive by completing a VA Form 22-5490
Eligible persons 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 $21,970.46 per academic year.
- A monthly housing allowance
- A books & supplies stipend
However, they are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Rules for eligible survivors serving, or who have served, in the Armed Forces:
- If the survivor is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty or the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve then he or she has to give up their eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under the Fry Scholarship
- A survivor'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 survivor on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate
- A survivor 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.
Beneficiaries 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.
- If a surviving spouse is eligible for both the Fry Scholarship and the DEA program, they must make a written election of which benefit they wish to receive by completing a VA Form 22-5490.
- Find out more about DEA here.
How to apply
Complete and submit a VA Form 22-5490. A parent or guardian must sign the application if the child is under age 18.