Thinking about starting school in the Fall? Maybe your GI Bill isn’t covering everything or you ran out benefits? Well, now is the time to start applying for scholarships. Most scholarship application periods start at the end of December or early January and close some time in March or April (though there are a few exceptions). In a previous post called “Beyond VA Education Benefits,” I talked about some of the various ways outside of VA that you can help supplement or cover your tuition, fee, and book costs. This week I’ll be delving into veteran specific scholarships. Some will be ones you may have heard of and others may be ones you couldn’t have imagined existed. I’m going to start with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, or AFCEA, Education Foundational Scholarships.
The AFCEA Educational Foundation is the education wing of AFCEA International, a non-profit organization founded in 1946. The Educational Foundation is focused on assisting individuals in, or looking to get into, the “hard science” aspects of C4ISR, through educational “incentives, opportunities, and assistance.” They promote their emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through student clubs, grants for STEM teachers, online and continuing education training, including training done in conjunction with such big names as Carnegie Mellon and University of Maryland University Campus. They also host competitions, such as eCYBERMISSION, which is a free web-based competition, cosponsored by the US Army and the National Science Teachers Association, which challenges students in grades 6-9 to develop STEM solutions to real-world problems.
They also offer multiple scholarship programs. The two scholarships that apply to veterans are specifically for honorably discharged veterans, Reservists, and National Guardsmen who have served in OIF/OEF/OND. These are the “Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans Scholarship” and the “Disabled War Veterans Scholarship.” The scholarships are $2,500 each, offered in the Spring and Fall terms. In addition to proving relevant service by submitting a DD-214, individuals must meet the following criteria:
– Must be currently pursuing (part-time or full-time) an undergraduate degree at a two or four year, accredited U.S. institution (online and distance learning is acceptable), and be in their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study
– Must be pursuing a degree in a C4ISR related major, such as computer, aerospace, or electrical engineering, mathematics, or information systems management (a full list can be found at the link at the bottom of the post). Majors supporting U.S. Intelligence and/or homeland security may be eligible if they demonstrate “relevance to the mission of AFCEA.’
– There is no minimum GPA requirement, but students must demonstrate “academic excellence, leadership, and financial need”
Individuals wishing to apply will need to complete an application and submit official transcripts and two letters of recommendation written by faculty in your relevant major. Deadline for application is: May 1, 2014.
While their other scholarship programs aren’t geared specifically towards veterans and are open to all students, several of the scholarships focus on topics that would pertain to former military personnel. These scholarships are between $2,250 and $5000 and cover topics such as Cyber Security, Foreign Language, Homeland Security, and Intelligence. They also offer scholarships to individuals looking to teach STEM related topics at the middle or high school level. And, while the veteran specific programs are only for undergraduate students, the other scholarships are generally open to both undergraduate and graduate fields of study. And, for those of you who might know someone currently in ROTC who is studying a STEM major, there are scholarships available for them as well.
And AFCEA also gives out an incredible number of yearly awards to individuals doing good things in the STEM and Intelligence worlds. So, if you aren’t pursuing a degree but are already working in those fields and are looking to add a nice distinguisher to your resume or, as all good bosses should, if you have an awesome subordinate that you think is deserving, check out the awards and eligibility criteria here.
And, if you’re looking to get into that field or are currently studying or jobhunting in that field, I suggest you check out their publication “SIGNAL” to get the latest gauge on what’s going on in the industry.
To read up on what AFCEA is doing or to apply for the scholarships, you can go to www.afcea.org
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.