Brandy Cruz | Fort Hood Sentinel | March 16, 2022
It’s that time of year-college scholarship season. 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 some scholarship money along the way.
Jennifer Anderson, the lead guidance counselor with the Fort Hood Soldier Development Center said the very first thing everyone looking for a scholarship should do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA, at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
“A lot of colleges won’t grant scholarships until they see you’ve applied for the FAFSA,” Anderson said.
The education center offers a list of scholarships available to Fort Hood families, though applicants should also look at online scholarship portals such as Scholarships.com or FastWeb.com. Another useful online tool is the college the student plans to attend.
Anderson advised that schools normally 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 to scholarships through Army Emergency Relief. AER provides scholarships to spouses and children of Soldiers. The Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program assists with students obtaining their undergraduate degree and can be applied to every year of their undergraduate program. The Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program is a scholarship for military spouses pursuing an undergraduate degree or professional certification.
The deadline for the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program is April 1. Spouses may apply year-round to the Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program. Applications and instructions can be found at www.armyemergencyrelief.org.
Locally, students should look at scholarships through the city or county in which they live. Local civic organizations also provide scholarships. They should also check at their high school. Their college and career 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 scholarships locally since 1958. In 2021, the local chapter disseminated $61,500 to 46 students.
Nancy Patterson, scholarship coordinator for the Central Texas Chapter of AUSA, 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 completely. The AUSA scholarship requires a short essay and recommendations. Scholarships are awarded based on the applicants’ academics and extra-curricular activities. Completed applications are scored using a rubric, and candidates are ranked based upon their rubric scores.
Patterson said most of their applicants receive between $1,000 to $5,000. The Ben Hogan Foundation has a scholarship rolled over from last year that is worth $5,000.
“We can customize the amount of scholarships based upon donor requests,” she added.
The application for the Central Texas Chapter of AUSA scholarship can be found online at https://centraltexasausa.org/scholarships. Application deadline is May 1 and the awards luncheon will be held June 6.
The Lendlease Community Fund has been providing BlueStar Scholarships 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 Fort Hood family housing and are valued up to $5,000.
“BlueStar Scholarships was created to recognize the service of the military personnel living in our homes and communities, and to honor the many sacrifices of their children,” said Phillip Carpenter, chief operating officer of Lendlease Communities. “We hope this scholarship will enable more students to pursue higher education and develop into valued leaders in their fields of study, as well as give back to the communities in which they live.”
Applications can be found online at https://www.forthoodfh.com/bluestar-scholarships.
Fort Hood family housing residents are also eligible for the U Aspire Scholarship from the WinningEdge Scholarship Program. The scholarships are open to residents planning to attend college or a professional trade school during the 2022-2023 school year.
Deadline is April 15 and the application can be found at https://uaspire.submittable.com/submit.
First Cavalry Division active-duty Soldiers are eligible to apply for a scholarship from the 1st Cavalry Division Association at https://1cda.org/scholarships/active-duty. There are three different scholarships, depending on a person’s eligibility.
Active duty Soldiers can apply for the Active Duty Scholarship. Foundation Scholarships are for children of 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers who died or were permanently disabled in combat with 1st Cav. Div. The Ia Drang Scholarship is available for descendants of Soldiers who were involved in the battles of the Ia Drang Valley.
While it may be time consuming to apply for so many scholarships, Anderson said all the scholarship money adds up to pay for your education.
“It takes perseverance,” she added. “Keep looking, keep applying because thousands and 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.