Having put 2017 in the rear view mirror, some military families are turning to the first big deadline of 2018: finalizing their Scholarships for Military Children applications in time for the program’s Feb. 16 application cutoff.

Applying for one of the 700 available $2,000 scholarship grants is straightforward. Requirements include providing a completed two-page application; the student’s official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants, or college transcript indicating a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for students already enrolled in college; and a typewritten or computer-printed essay of 500 words or less, and no longer than two pages.

This year’s essay question addresses the effect of the internet on modern society and the family: “With the development of high speed internet, people are now living in a world that is completely different than 20 years ago. What are the pluses and minuses for society and the family? How would you address the minuses?”

The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created in 2001 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. The program is administered by Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to service members and their families.

“With the deadline to submit applications for the Fisher House Scholarship for Military Children fast approaching, interested participants should make sure they double-check the list of items required for eligibility,” said Marye Dobson, the Defense Commissary Agency’s scholarships program liaison.

The two-page application, your high school or college transcripts and the short, typed essay all have to be submitted in one package.

Eligibility for the program is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current military dependent ID card. The applicant also must be planning to attend or already be attending an accredited college or university, full time, in the fall of 2018 or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.

Applicants who are awarded a full scholarship to attend a college or university or receive an appointment to one of the military 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.

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

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

Students enter brief background information and educational goals, and the search tool will identify military-affiliated scholarships they may be eligible for based on their input. Once the search is complete, students receive a list of scholarships with a summary of eligibility requirements, points of contact and links to the scholarship provider’s website. Students can elect to have a PDF file of the results immediately emailed to them for use in selecting which scholarships to apply for.

According to Brian Gawne, vice president of community relations for Fisher House, the Scholarships for Service search engine is never used to collect data for marketing purposes. “We’re not using this to collect data and then send email or other solicitations,” he said.

The Scholarships for Military Children program is managed by Scholarship Managers, a national, nonprofit organization. If students have questions about the scholarship program application, they should call Scholarship Managers at (856) 616-9311 or email militaryscholar@scholarshipmanagers.com.

No government funds are used to support the Scholarships for Military Children Program. Commissary vendors, manufacturers, brokers, suppliers and the general public donate money to fund the program.