Scholarships for Military Children Program

Fort Lee family members pose with their award certificates during the 2018 Scholarships for Military Children Program presentation at the commissary. They each received $2,000. Zane Ruzicka, third from left, and Conor Helmick, far right, also were among those selected last year.

FORT LEE, Va. – The Scholarships for Military Children Program, academic year 2021-2022, began accepting applications Dec. 14, and the deadline for submissions is Feb. 17.

In existence for 21 years, the program recognizes the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and celebrates the commissary’s role in enhancing military quality of life. Thus far, SMCP has awarded more than $20.1 million to 11,814 students, selected from a pool of nearly 105,000 applicants.

SMCP is administered by the Fisher House Foundation. Funding comes from commissary business partners and other earmarked contributions. Every dollar received is given out as a scholarship grant. Additionally, the foundation matches all donations, dollar for dollar, and does not charge for its services.

“Our commissaries are honored to be part of a program that provides the children of military service members with such a valuable financial boost to their higher education dreams,” acknowledged Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director. “We at the Defense Commissary Agency extend our thanks to the Fisher House Foundation as well as our industry partner donors and others that make these scholarships possible.”

Selection qualifications are straightforward. Requirements include completing the application; submission of the student’s official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants, or a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for those enrolled in college; and an essay of 500 words or less, no longer than two pages. The subject of the essay is listed on the Scholarships for Military Children website, www.militaryscholar.org.

Eligibility for the program is determined through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure they (through their sponsor) are enrolled in DEERS and have a current military dependent ID card. The applicant also must be planning to attend or already attending an accredited college or university, full time, in the fall of 2021 or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.

Applicants who have been awarded a full scholarship to attend a college or university or receive an appointment to one of the service academies or affiliated preparatory schools are not eligible to receive funds from this program. A full scholarship is usually defined as one that provides for payment of tuition, books, lab fees and other expenses.

The Fisher House Foundation will award 500 scholarship grants of $2,000 each. The selection process will begin immediately following receipt of all applications in February.

“While a ceremony to congratulate and present each recipient with a certificate was not held at commissaries for scholarship year 2019-2020 due to COVID 19, that did not in any way diminish the accomplishment of each recipient selected to receive this honor,” said Marye Dobson, DeCA’s scholarships program liaison. “At this time, no decision has been made on in-store ceremonies for the upcoming program.”

All rules and requirements for the program, as well as links to frequently asked questions are available at the Scholarships for Military Children website.

Fisher House also recently added a customized “Scholarships for Service” search engine to the site. It’s free, easy to use, and available on mobile devices or computers at militaryscholar.org.