Veterans Affairs (VA) Education Benefits:
VA education benefits are available to many Survivors and Dependents of Veterans.
What are the two main VA education benefits available to survivors?
The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, often referred to as the Fry Scholarship, is for children and spouses of services members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers educations and training to qualified dependents of Veterans who are permanently disabled and totally disabled because of a service-related condition or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
For eligibility and program details, please see the website listed below.
Some Survivors may be eligible for education benefits under the Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Bill. Eligible Soldiers may transfer some or all of their Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Benefits to a spouse or dependent children.
See the website below for information about Transfer of Eligibility:
The VA has a dedicated phone line for GI Bill beneficiaries who are a surviving spouse or child of an active duty service member who did in the line of duty and need assistance with education benefits. The number is 1-888-442-4551 (option5). A trained agent with survivor benefits expertise will assist. Agents are available Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST.
Federal Student Aid:
All Survivors and Dependents of Veterans are encouraged to apply for Federal Student Aid. There are opportunities for students to receive loans, grants and work-study options to assist with money to help pay for college or career school. Students apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA.
See the following website for types of Federal Student Aid:
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant:
For students with a parent or guardian who died after the events of 9/11 as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. To qualify, a student must have been under the age of 24 at the time of his or her parent or guardian’s death or enrolled in college or career school at least part-time.
Please note – there is no specific application for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The FAFSA will be matched against a file provided by the Department of Defense and the student will receive a letter explaining the potential increase in funding. The student MUST ensure that the FAFSA is completed using their name exactly as it appears in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
Other Types of Aid
In addition to federal benefits there are numerous opportunities offered to Surviving Family Members by Veterans Service Organizations, Survivor groups and other local organizations. Please contact your SOS Coordinator to help discuss additional state, local and non-profit resources.
(Current as of 06 October 2022)