A scholarship program run through the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and administered by the Fisher House Foundation will open for applications Dec. 15.
The program, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, gives at least one $2,000 scholarship through every commissary where a qualified participant has applied. That means at least 178 military kids stateside and almost 70 stationed OCONUS can receive help paying for a four year degree.
Unlike other scholarship programs, such as those administered by the spouse clubs, this one is only open to military child dependents, not spouses. To qualify they must be a dependent, unmarried child and younger the 21 if not currently enrolled as a full-time student, or younger than 23 if they are currently enrolled. They must be a dependent of an active duty service member, Guard or Reserve member, retiree or the child of a military member who died on active duty. Survivors of retirees may also apply. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) or higher.
The money, which can be used to pay for tuition, books, fees or other related expenses, is donated to the scholarship program by manufacturers and business that work with the commissaries, not by members of the military community or the commissary agency itself.
To apply, military kids need to fill out an application and write a short, typed essay -- although the question won't be revealed until the application process opens Dec. 15. You can find the application and question here starting on that date.
Last year 5,000 students applied for the scholarship. Of those 600 received an award of $2,000, according to Fisher House records. About $1.2 million was donated last year. In some previous years more awards were given, but for $1,500 instead of $2,000. The most applicants the program ever had was in 2004-2005, when over 7,000 children applied for the award but only 500 received money.
Applications must be dropped off in person at your local commissary or mailed -- nothing will be accepted by email or fax, commissary officials say (do people really still fax stuff?).
If you have questions about the scholarship, you can talk to a "scholarship manager" 856-616-9311 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy U.S. Marine Corps.