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Supporting students: Application window for DeCA scholarship open

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The Scholarships for Military Children Program for academic year 2021 – 2022 begins accepting applications Dec. 14, 2020. Applications are due by Feb. 17, 2021.

FORT LEE, Va. -- The Scholarships for Military Children Program for academic year 2021 – 2022 begins accepting applications Dec. 14, 2020. Applications are due by Feb. 17, 2021.

The program, now entering its 21st year, 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. It’s administered by Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps service members and their families. Thus far, the program has awarded more than $20.1 million to 11,814 students, selected from a pool of nearly 105,000 applicants.

Funding for the program comes from commissary business partners and other earmarked contributions to Fisher House Foundation, Inc., which treats each as a “restricted donation.” Every dollar received is given out as a scholarship grant. Additionally, Fisher House Foundation matches all donations, dollar for dollar, and does not charge for its services, including the costs of administration and the cost of the scholarship management contract.

“Our commissaries are honored to be a part of a program that provides the children of military service members with such a valuable financial boost to their higher education dreams,” said Marine Corps 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 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 an essay of 500 words or less, no longer than two pages. The subject of the essay will be listed at the Scholarships for Military Children website once the application period opens.

Eligibility for the program is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current military dependent ID card. The applicant must also be planning to attend or already be 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 are 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.

For scholarship year 2021-22, 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 an additional 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.