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Being My Dad Died on Active Duty, Are Their Any Education Programs Available to Me?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My dad died while on active duty when serving in the U.S Army. I am a senior in high school. Are there programs, grants or scholarships that will help me go to college?

A: As a dependent of a servicemember that died while serving, there are many sources of financial aid to help you with education expenses. First, I would look into applying for the Fry Scholarship. It basically has the same benefits as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but you can use it up to age 33 instead of being limited to age 26.

It provides up to 36 months of entitlement which is enough to get a four-year degree. The VA pays your tuition directly to your school, and it gives you a monthly housing allowance that averages over $1,300 and pays a book stipend of around $500 per semester.

And then there is Chapter 35 GI Bill. It provides up to 44 months of entitlement which currently pays $1,003 per month as a full-time student. Under this GI Bill, you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc.

If you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, then the maximum number of months of benefits cannot exceed 48 months. So the best way to use these two GI Bills would be to use the Fry Scholarship first for 36 months and then if you need more, use Chapter 35 for up to another 14 months.

In addition to the two above sources, the Army Emergency Relief has the MG James Ursano Scholarship program. It can provide up to four years of need-based scholarship money.

Plus there are many more sources. But these three should get you started.

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