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NEWS | Jan. 11, 2008

Scholarship deadline for military children Feb. 20

By Caroline Williams Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. - Are you digging under the sofa cushions for misplaced change and rolling coins from your money jar to help pay for college tuition? Given the soaring costs of higher education, you certainly aren't alone. 

Perhaps a $1,500 scholarship could help? 

Applications for the 2008 Scholarships for Military Children Program must be turned in to commissaries by close of business Feb. 20. 

Applications are available in commissaries worldwide or at where they can be filled out and printed from a computer, or printed and filled out by hand. At least one scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location with qualified applicants. 

The scholarship program kicked off in 2001 and, according to agency officials, has awarded more than $5.5 million in scholarships to 3,532 of the best and brightest children of military families. 

The scholarship program is open to unmarried children under the age of 21 (23 if enrolled in school) of active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired military personnel. 

Eligibility will be determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are currently enrolled in the DEERS database and that they have a current ID card. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. 

The applicant must be planning to attend, or already attending, an accredited college or university full-time in the fall term of 2008. Students at community or junior colleges must be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program. 

From April 15 through July 1, applicants can go online and verify receipt of their application in the "Verification of Receipt" section. 

Officials also advise students to check all their materials carefully for simple things, like making sure the application is signed or that they are using the 2008 application, not one from previous years. 

Everything applicants need to know about the program can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the military scholar Web page. 

The Scholarships for Military Children program is funded through donations by the general public and by product manufacturers and brokers that sell groceries in commissaries 

Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization best known for building comfort homes near military medical facilities, administers the Scholarships for Military Children program. Fisher House Foundation uses the services of Scholarship Managers, a professional firm that has handled more than 400 programs, to screen applicants and award scholarships. Neither Fisher House nor the Defense Commissary Agency are involved in the decision process.