'Tis the season for seeking out scholarships, and the Fisher House Foundation has launched a free search tool to help troops, veterans and families get their share of these education-budget boosters.
The Scholarships for Service tool ( http://search.militaryscholar.org/) can help those with any affiliation – active- or reserve-component members, veterans, retired military personnel , and military family members. There are more than 3,000 scholarships available to those with various affiliations in the military community, offered from organizations ranging from the military relief societies to associations for Seabees and 82nd Airborne Division troops, to name just a few.
The Fisher House Foundation has helped provide scholarships to military children and spouses for 17 years, and recognized through that work the need to help families search further, according to the group's CEO, Ken Fisher, in a statement announcing the new tool.
Because of this involvement, he said, "we routinely received calls asking if we knew of any other financial resources available to help service members, veterans, and their families with college funding. We did the best we could to pass on information about other scholarship programs, but we came to recognize that we were only scratching the surface and needed to do more."
Unlike other scholarship search tools, Scholarships for Service is tailored specifically to search for scholarships that are available to those in the military community.
"We get questions about scholarships all the time," said Brian Gawne, a retired Navy captain who is vice president of community relations for Fisher House Foundation.
Fisher House Foundation developed Scholarships for Service search tool with AdmitHub, which specializes in college application support, scholarship search assistance, and enrollment advising. Plans call for refining the tool as more users try it out, Gawne said; programmers already have added additional organizations, offering newer scholarships, to the database.
Students or students-to-be enter brief background information and education goals, and the tool will quickly identify potential military-affiliated scholarships. With each offering comes a summary of eligibility requirements, points of contact and links to the scholarship provider's website. Students can have a PDF file of the results emailed to them.
Neither Fisher House Foundation nor AdmitHub collects any data from the site, Gawne said.
"You don't have to register, we don't collect information. We just wanted a pure service," he said. "There won't be any emails afterwards, because we don't sell anything to marketing agencies. ... If nothing else, it gives a sense of how many scholarships there are out there."
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .