It’s college scholarship season time. Trying to figure out how to pay for college can be a stressful time, but there are some things you can do to relieve some of that stress while hopefully finding a scholarship along the way.
Jennifer Anderson, the senior advisor to the Fort Hood Soldier Development Center, said that the very first thing anyone looking for a scholarship should do is fill out the Free Federal Student Aid Application, also known as FAFSA, at https://studentaid.gov/ h/aid application/fafsa.
“Many colleges don’t award scholarships until they see that you’ve applied to FAFSA,” Anderson said.
The Education Center offers a list of scholarships available to families in Fort Hood, but applicants should also check out online scholarship portals such as Scholarships.com or FastWeb.com. Another useful online tool is the college the student intends to attend.
Anderson pointed out that schools usually have their own scholarships available. Applicants should check their school’s financial aid page for a list of scholarships unique to that school.
As military family members, students can also apply for scholarships through Army Emergency Relief. The AER awards scholarships to spouses and children of soldiers. Maj. Gen. James Ursano’s scholarship program assists students in earning their bachelor’s degree and is eligible for any year of their bachelor’s program. The Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program is a scholarship for spouses in the military pursuing a bachelor’s degree or professional certification.
The deadline for Maj. Gen. James Ursano’s fellowship program is April 1. Spouses are welcome to apply to the Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program throughout the year. For applications and instructions, go to www.armyemergencyrelief.org.
Locally, students should look for scholarships through the city or county they live in. Local civic organizations also award grants. You should also check with your high school. Your college and careers advisors should have a list of local scholarships available to students.
The Central Texas Chapter of the Association of the United States Army has been providing local scholarships since 1958. In 2021, the Local Chapter distributed $61,500 to 46 students.
Nancy Patterson, scholarship coordinator for AUSA’s Central Texas Chapter, said scholarships are open to AUSA – Central Texas Chapter members and their families, including extended family members such as nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
The scholarship application must be filled out in full. The AUSA Scholarship requires a short essay and recommendations. Scholarships are awarded based on applicants’ academic and extracurricular activities. Completed applications are scored against a rubric and candidates are ranked based on their score in the rubric.
Patterson said most of her applicants are paid between $1,000 and $5,000. The Ben Hogan Foundation has matched a $5,000 grant from last year.
“We can adjust grant amounts based on donor requests,” she added.
The Central Texas Chapter of AUSA Scholarship Application is available online at https://centraltexasausa.org/scholarships. The application deadline is May 1st and the awards dinner will be held on June 6th. For more information, visit https://centraltexasausa.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CentralTexasAUSA.
The Lendlease Community Fund has been awarding BlueStar grants locally since 2012. Since then, more than $1 million has been awarded to eligible students. BlueStar Scholarships are open to the children of service members living in family homes in Fort Hood and are valued at up to $5,000.
“BlueStar Scholarships were created to recognize the service of the military personnel who live in our homes and communities, and to honor the many sacrifices made by their children,” said Phillip Carpenter, chief operating officer of Lendlease Communities. “We hope this scholarship will enable more students to pursue higher education and become valued leaders in their fields of study and give back to the communities in which they live.”
Applications are available online at https://www.forthoodfh.com/bluestar-scholarships.
Residents of family homes in Fort Hood are also eligible for the U Aspire grant from the WinningEdge grant program. The scholarships are open to residents planning to attend college or trade school in the 2022-2023 school year.
The closing date for entries is April 15th and the application can be found at https://uaspire.submittable.com/submit.
First Cavalry Division Soldiers on active duty may apply for a scholarship with the 1st Cavalry Division Association at https://1cda.org/scholarships/active-duty. There are three different scholarships depending on an individual’s eligibility.
Active Duty Soldiers are eligible to apply for the Active Duty Scholarship. Foundation Scholarships are for children of 1st Cav. Dept. Soldiers who died or were permanently disabled in combat with the 1st Cav. Dept. Ia Drang Scholarship is available to descendants of soldiers who took part in the fighting in the Ia Drang Valley.
While applying for so many scholarships can be time-consuming, Anderson said the total scholarship money adds up to pay for your education.
“It takes perseverance,” she added. “Keep looking, keep applying because thousands upon thousands of dollars go unused every year because people don’t apply.”
The Fort Hood Soldier Development Center regularly posts new scholarship opportunities on its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodEducationServices. The Soldier Development Center is located at 33009 West 761st Tank Battalion Avenue.