‘EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY’: Fisher House awards 500 scholarships to military children from pool of over 3,600 applicants
FORT LEE, Va. – Even as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on college and university academic schedules nationwide this year, the Scholarships for Military Children program once again came through for 500 students from military families who were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship grant for the upcoming 2021 - 2022 school year.
The program, created in 2001, recognizes the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and celebrates the commissaries’ role in enhancing the military’s quality of life. It’s administered by the Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps service members and their families.
It was Fisher House’s efforts in recent years to modernize the entry process and bring it fully online which left it well prepared for a year complicated by a global pandemic, according to Marshall Banks, Fisher House Foundation’s director of community relations.
“We were very happy with the application process for the 2021-2022 scholarship programs,” he said. “The quality of applications received this year was exceptional. We received a total of 3,657 applications from 220 commissaries.”
While the application process went off without a hitch, the usual celebratory ceremonies held at commissaries for local scholarship winners had to be cancelled due to COVID.
“While we would normally hold a ceremony at the commissary, during these uncertain times with social distancing, ceremonies could not be held this year,” said Marye Dobson, the Defense Commissary Agency’s scholarships program liaison. Instead, scholarship winners were notified by mail and will receive an official certificate mailed to them by the commissary where they were selected as the recipient.
Scholarship applicants submit their official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants, or 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.
Eligibility is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants must 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 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 are available at the Scholarships for Military Children website, as is the full list of this year’s winners.
“The window to apply for the 2022-2023 Fisher House Scholarships for Military Children should open in December and close in February, but the exact dates have not been determined yet,” said Dobson. “Be sure to check the scholarship page in mid-December for the opening of the program.”
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.
“Fisher House Foundation is proud of our partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency that provides scholarships to well-deserving military children,” said Banks. “Over the last 21 years, we have provided $21,126,000 in scholarships.”
Fisher House Foundation is ranked a Four Star Charity by Charity Navigator. 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.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.