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Military Families & Federal Aid Options


There are available funds that can be put towards a college education offered by non-profit organizations and the federal government. These monies may be accessed by veterans, active-duty personnel, future military personnel, and family members of active duty service members or veterans.

Financial Aid Options For Military Members and Family Of Military Personnel Offered By the Government

Scholarships for ROTC or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

Instead of being awarded on financial need, these scholarships are merit-based instead:

  • Visit the Army ROTC web page, to discover Army ROTC scholarship offerings from over 1000 colleges. The eligibility information and application packets can be obtained by visiting the website or calling 1888-550-ARMY or 1-999-550-2769 to connect with an ROTC advisor in your area.
  • Visit the Navy ROTC website to learn more about partial and 4-year scholarships offered by the Navy. Discover more information via the website or call 1800-628-7682 or 1-800-NAV-ROTC.
  • Learn more about the Navy ROTC Marine Option Scholarship to learn more about the Navy ROTC Marine Option Scholarship that can help you cover your college costs via Navy ROTC-approved schools.
  • Visit the Air Force ROTC Scholarship web page, or phone 1-866-423-7682 or 1-866-4-AFROTC to obtain more information about the Air Force ROTC scholarship program. This is specific for students pursuing technical degrees and foreign language studies, although, people choosing a large variety of majors may be eligible.

Education Benefits from the VA or Department of Veterans Affairs

Education benefits for veterans are available from the VA office for dependents and widows as well. Check out the GI Bill site for more information.

Federal Pell Grant Funds or Afghanistan and Iraq Service Grant Options

Did you know that you may qualify for extra aid if your parent or guardian passed away in Afghanistan or Iraq due to their military service after 9/11? Eligibility requirements state that you must have been under 24 years old at the time of their death or enrolled a minimum of part-time in your career school or college. If you were enrolled in less than full-time studies, your payments will be adjusted.

  • You will receive a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to maximize your Pell Grant eligibility if you meet the above requirements for Federal Pell Grants. This may increase your eligibility for additional federal student aid programs.
  • You may be eligible for Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants if you meet the above criteria but do not qualify for a Pell Grant due to your EFC or Expected Family Contribution. Not that the maximum amount for both the Pell Grant and the Afghanistan Service Grant award is the same. Additionally, your EFC won’t be affected, and you will be eligible for further federal student aid that is need-based.

Deferment of Student Loans, No Interest Accrual and Limited Interest Rates

Contact your loan servicer to receive the benefits below. You need to provide qualifying documentation to obtain more information.

  • Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, if your student loans were taken out before enrolling in active duty or entering the military, the loan interest rate will be limited to 6 percent during active duty military service. This rate is applicable to both private and federal student loans and additional loan services.
  • Any Direct Loans initially disbursed on October 1, 2008, or afterward will have no interest charged for a time of no more than sixty months while one is away performing any qualifying National Guard duty during a war or serving on active duty or other military operation. This also applies to any national emergency or serving in a hostile location that qualifies for special pay.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans have this benefit applied to the part of the consolidation loan which repaid loans initially distributed on or after October 1, 2008.
  • While serving on active duty, you will qualify for repayment deferment on any of your federal loans. This also applies to active duty during a military operation, a war, during a national emergency, or while performing any qualifying National Guard duty.
  • Note that if your active-duty timeframe includes October 1, 2007 or starts on or after that date, your deferment will have an extra 180-day extension after the demobilization date for every qualifying service period.
  • If you are a retired or current reserve component of the US armed forces or a member of the National Guard, and are placed on active duty during your enrollment at least half-time at an eligible school or in 6 months of having been enrolled in a minimum of half-time studies, you will qualify for repayment deferment on your federal student loans for the thirteen months following the completion of your active duty service or until you go back to school on a minimum of a half-time basis, whichever comes first.

Financial Aid Options For Military Service and Their Families From Veterans Service Organizations

Discover the most popular national organizations that offer scholarships mainly to veterans, and active-duty service members and their families below:

Use a scholarship search to check out a variety of additional smaller veterans service organizations around the USA that provide scholarships. Check into your local organization as another information resource.

Submitting Complaints Re: How My Career School Or College Is Administering My Financial Aid

Have you been having issues with the way your school is administering your federal student aid funds? The following information can help you solve your issues or learn how to submit a formal complaint.

Your career school or college is responsible for distributing your financial aid, not the US Department of Education. If you have any concerns or questions regarding why your aid has yet to be paid or about the amount you received, get in touch with your school’s financial aid office for more details.