By Justin Creech, Belvoir Eagle
High School students and current undergraduate college students who are dependents of servicemembers on post, and who are entering or returning to college in the fall, have several options available to them for financial aid through organizations at Fort Belvoir.
Organizations on post like the Belvoir Officer Spouses Club provide financial aid to college freshmen and military dependents who are continuing their secondary education.
The BOSC offers a scholarship to current high school seniors entering college who are children of active duty, retired or deceased members of any armed service, including the Guard/Reserves, who are currently enrolled in college.
"They would have to be a child or spouse of a military member," said Sandy Goetz, Scholarship Chairman, BOSC. "They have to live in the Washington, D.C., area to apply for the one's we offer."
There is no grade-point average requirement to be eligible to receive either of the scholarships. Extra curricular activities and how well each applicant answers the essay that is required are taken into consideration.
Extra curricular activities can vary from sports and in school clubs to out of school clubs and volunteer work.
There are also options available through the federal government and other organizations.
Army Emergency Relief, a private, non-profit organization, offers financial assistance through the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program.
The program offers scholarships based on financial need or academic excellence, leadership or achievement to students who are a dependent of a Soldier on federal active duty, a retired Soldier, or of a deceased active or deceased retired Soldier.
The scholarship will not be awarded to any student for more than four academic years, for a second undergraduate degree, or for graduate degree programs.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be enrolled full time as an undergraduate student for the entire academic year at a school accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
"Scholarships are considered free money and are based on academic achievement, need and depending upon how much civil community involvement you've had, it can be based on that as well," said Joyce Peterson, Barden Education Center, Education Services Specialist.
Grants are also a good option for college freshmen.
The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program is a non-need based grant for Virginia residents attending a participating Virginia private college or university.
Participating colleges and university's include Bridgewater College, Ferrum College, George Washington University (Virginia campus only), Hampton University, Marymount University and the University of Richmond.
Eligible students must be a domiciled resident of Virginia for at least one year prior to receiving VTAG or dependent of certain military personnel, and enrolled as a full-time student at an eligible institution in an eligible degree program.
"The Virginia tag grant is free money," said Peterson. "My son was able to get the grant every year because he attended a private school. That's what is available for those individuals attending private school."
Additional options include the Army ROTC program and the Army Officer Wives Club of the Greater Washington Area.
Also for additional information on scholarship opportunities for children dependent of servicemembers, visit Joyce Peterson at the Barden Education Center.
"We don't turn anyone away," said Peterson.
To access the BOSC application, visit www.belvoirowc.org.
For more information on the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program visit www.aerhq.org.
For more information on the VTAG grant, go to www.schev.edu/forms.
For other scholarship resources, students can visit hte Barden Education Center or call (703) 805-9264.