After faithfully serving our country, members of the armed forces may contemplate their next career move. If you are considering attending a community college to further your training and education, you are in store for good financial news! There are a variety of programs and scholarships
specifically designed to help fund veterans pursuing higher education.
Federal Funding for Veterans
Before you enroll in a community college, it is important to verify that the campus qualifies for veterans assistance. For example, Kennebec Valley Community College
in Maine has received approval from the Maine State Approving Agency for Veterans Educations Programs, which qualifies their veteran students to receive aid under the GI Bills
. You can always contact the financial aid
office at the community college you are considering to verify that they are eligible for funding from the GI Bills.
The federal government provides many funding opportunities for veterans looking to further their education. Some of the programs include the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty, the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve, as well as the Reserve Education Assistance Program. However, depending upon your eligibility, the Post 9/11 GI Bill may be the best option. To compare which program would be ideal for you, utilize the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Benefits Comparison Tool
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is specifically available to veterans who served for at least 90 days on or after September 11, 2001 and received an honourable discharge. This program will pay for your tuition (as long as it does not exceed the maximum in-state tuition charged by a public institution in the state), a monthly housing allowance if you have dependents, as well as a stipend of $1,000 annually for books
Scholarships Available through Community Colleges
In support of veterans, many community colleges offer specific scholarships for veterans. For example, if you are considering attending a Pennsylvania community college, then you may be eligible for the John P. Murtha Community College Veterans Scholarship, which is administered through the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania
. If you do not qualify for the GI Bill and received an honourable discharge, you may qualify for this scholarship, which covers the annual tuition.
At De Anza Community College
in Cupertino, California, the school has a specific scholarship for veterans who are working towards degrees in technology, medicine, science, engineering or business. If you are a veteran who sustained an injury during combat, or who served in a combat zone, you may be eligible for a $2,000 award.
Grants from Non-Profit Organizations
Beyond the funding available through community colleges and the federal government are grants from non-profit organizations. Some of these scholarships include:
For example, the Pat Tillman Foundation’s Tillman Military Scholars Program provides scholarships to “veterans who demonstrate a record of service to their communities.” In 2009, the program gave $642,000 to 52 veterans, and its ultimate goal is to provide $3.6 million each year to veterans, according to USA Today
The Disabled American Veterans’ Jesse Brown Scholarship
is also applicable for community college students. If you are under the age of 21 and volunteer with the Disabled Veterans Association, then you qualify to apply for this scholarship. Since the scholarship’s inception in 2000, the program has given nearly $600,000 in scholarships to 87 recipients.
You bravely served our country, and now it’s time for the federal government, community colleges, and non-profit organizations to serve you. Take advantage of the financial resources available to help you pursue your higher education.