FORT LEE, Va. — The holiday season is a busy time of year, with enough deadlines, preparations and celebrations to tax even the most organized among us. That’s why the Defense Commissary Agency is informing its patrons now that the Fisher House Foundation’s Scholarships for Military Children program will begin accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year on Dec. 15.
“It’s such a busy time of year that it might be easy to miss,” said Marye Dobson, DeCA’s liaison for the scholarship program. While applications will be accepted until mid-February, Dobson said that applying will require some time and effort on the part of families and students. “There are some fundamental eligibility and paperwork requirements, plus a student-authored essay to be written.”
Now entering its 18th year, the program was created 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,” according to the mission statement on the militaryscholar.org website.
At least one scholarship worth $2,000 will be awarded at every commissary location where qualified applications are received. Additional recipients will be selected on a prorated basis, so more scholarships will be awarded at those stores with larger numbers of applicants. A total of 700 scholarship grants will be awarded this year. Since its beginning, the program has awarded a total of 10,114 grants worth $16.7 million to the sons and daughters of commissary patrons.
To qualify for consideration, applicants must be a dependent, unmarried child, younger than 21 — or 23, if enrolled as a full-time student at a college or university — of a service member on active duty, a Reserve or Guard member, retiree or survivor of a military member who died while on active duty, or survivor of a retiree.
Applicants should ensure that they and their sponsor are enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) database and have a military ID card. The applicant must attend or plan to attend an accredited college or university, full time, in the fall of 2018 or be enrolled in studies designed to transfer to a four-year program. Additional information, including the application itself as well as the question for the required essay, will be available when the program opens for the year at www.militaryscholar.org.
Applications must be hand-delivered or shipped via the U.S. Postal Service or other delivery methods to the commissary where the applicant’s family normally shops. Applications cannot be emailed or faxed.
Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps service members and their families, administers the program. Scholarship Managers, a national, nonprofit, scholarship management services organization, manages and awards the scholarships.
“Interest in the scholarship program has increased in recent years, making the competition very keen,” said Jim Weiskopf, Fisher House Foundation vice president. “Further, the staff of Scholarship Managers has said that the quality of our applicants is always head and shoulders above those applying to regular civilian student scholarship programs.”
Militaryscholar.org also hosts a new scholarship search tool called “Scholarships for Service,” designed specifically to help the military and their family members find scholarships that best match their educational goals.
The commissary’s industry partners, including vendors, suppliers and manufacturers, as well as the general public donate money to the program, and every dollar donated goes directly toward funding the scholarships.