According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2011, 1.8 women currently serve or have served in the U.S. military. Unemployment rates for returning female veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan climbed to 13.5 percent, compared to 8.4 percent for civilian women. For many veterans, scholarships can help defray the cost for education and training that provides a competitive edge in the civilian workforce.
U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program
The U.S. Army Women’s Foundation (awfdn.org) awards educational funds through the Legacy Scholarship program, available for female army veterans and their children. Awards in the amount of $1,000 are designated for those attending community college, while award recipients attending 4-year colleges and universities receive $2,500. Applicants for the community college scholarships must have a high school diploma or GED, in addition to 2.5 GPA. University applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled with junior or senior standing.
Students are required to submit a short essay that communicates the applicant’s career objectives in addition to discussing talents, skills, and community service experience. Veterans need to provide at least 2 letters of recommendation, a high school or college transcript, in addition to verification of active duty. All application materials must be sent directly to The United States Army Women’s Foundation Scholarship Committee. Deadlines for submissions are in February.
AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program
The Women’s Scholarship Program, sponsored by the AARP Foundation (aarp.org) provides scholarships for low-income women over the age of 50 who have overcome adversity and challenges. In 2011, the foundation awarded over 350 scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5000 each. Female veterans receive priority during the selection process. Applications are accepted online until March 31st.
Award recipients also receive the guidance if a mentor for one year following the disbursement of the scholarship. Mentors work with students to achieve success during the academic year by assisting with career planning, time-management and personal challenges.
Military to Medicine
The Military to Medicine Inova Health System (militarytomedicine.org) provides employment training for veterans interested in working in the field of healthcare. Veterans receive online training to become certified to work as medical assistants, phlebotomist, or medical records and information technicians.
Military to Medicine awards scholarships to cover the cost of tuition. Funds are awarded based on financial need and veteran status. Applications are accepted all year and should be applied for during enrollment.