According to the American Council on Education, the number of active duty personnel, reservists, and veterans using military benefits to pay for higher education has grown considerably since 2001. This increase is largely due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, a federal educational assistance program for veterans and service members. The number of military personnel enrolled in colleges and universities has also increased significantly in recent years.
Individuals looking for military MBA scholarships should research the schools, professional organizations, and other resources listed below.
While the GI Bill® provides significant financial support, there are many other scholarships for veterans and active duty personnel. A number of organizations offer military scholarships, including corporations, nonprofits, fraternities, and professional associations. Many of these scholarships specifically provide MBA scholarships for veterans.
This page describes financial aid options for military personnel and veterans pursuing a college education. Common awards include private scholarships, federal loan forgiveness, grants, and tuition assistance programs. Individuals looking for military MBA scholarships should research the schools, professional organizations, and other resources listed below.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
What’s Covered: Qualified educational expenses include tuition and fees for undergraduate programs, certificate programs, technical or vocational training, on-the-job training, and certification and licensing. MGIB covers education-related expenses for up to three years.
Who is Covered: To qualify, students must serve a minimum of two years on active duty. Service members who were honorably discharged and hold a high school diploma or GED may also be eligible. For specific details, students should visit the GI Bill customer service page.
How to Apply: To apply for the MGIB, students must complete VA Form 22-1990. Applicants submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
What’s Covered: The Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay for distance learning, vocational and technical training, on-the-job training, housing, books, supplies, licensing fees, certification tests, and other educational costs. Students can receive this VA-administered education benefit for up to 36 months.
Who is Covered: To be eligible, students must have a minimum of 90 days of active duty service after September, 10, 2001. Veterans who were honorably discharged or discharged with disabilities after serving for 30 days may also be eligible.
How to Apply: To apply, students must complete VA Form 22-1990. Applicants submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon program helps students pay for expenses associated with expensive private and out-of-state institutions. Schools cover some or all of a student’s additional expenses after they hit the maximum amount offered by the GI Bill. Not all colleges offer this program.
What’s Covered: The Yellow Ribbon program covers unmet tuition and fees associated with attending out-of-state or private educational institutions. The school determines the amount of funding provided to the student. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs matches that amount and pays the school directly.
Who is Covered: Active duty service members do not qualify for this benefit. Candidates must qualify for the maximum benefit under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Students must attend a participating school.
How to Apply: To apply, students must complete the VA Form 22-1990. Applicants submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
National Call to Service
What’s Covered: The National Call to Service program offers a cash bonus of $5,000, student loan repayment of up to $18,000, a one-year monthly allowance, or a portion of the MGIB.
Who Qualifies: To be eligible for this incentive, applicants must complete initial entry training, serve on active duty in a military occupational specialty designated by the Secretary of Defense for 15 months, then serve an additional period of active duty in the Selected Reserve or as determined by the Secretary of Defense. Following this period, applicants must fulfill one final period of obligated service.
How to Apply: To apply, students must complete VA Form 22-1990N. Applicants submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
Reserve Educational Assistance Program
What’s Covered: REAP covers educational expenses for up to 36 months. Covered programs include undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates and diplomas, technical and vocational school, on-the-job training, and flight training.
Who Qualifies: To qualify, service members must have been called to active duty in response to a national emergency or war declared by the president or Congress. The Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security must approve eligibility.
How to Apply: Applicants must complete and submit VA Form 22-1990. The school or training program must certify enrollment. Applicants must submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance
What’s Covered: Benefits cover costs related to college, technical, and vocational programs. The benefit also assists with certification and licensing fees, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and tutorial assistance. The VA provides funds directly to students for up to 45 months.
Who Qualifies: Each candidate must be a surviving son, daughter, or spouse of a veteran who died, became permanently disabled, or went missing while on active duty. Dependent children must be between 18 and 26. Surviving spouses can apply for benefits up to 20 years after the incident.
How to Apply: To apply, students must complete VA Form 22-5490. Applicants submit their social security numbers, military and education histories, and bank account data with direct deposit information.
Financial Aid Programs by Branch Eligibility
|Financial Aid Program||Branches Eligible||Description|
|Army Loan Repayment Program||Army||The Army LRP helps military occupational specialists repay their loans. To qualify, students must hold a high school degree, serve for a minimum of three years, and decline participation in the Montgomery GI Bill. Payments cover 33.3% of outstanding principal loan balance. Students can receive this benefit for up to three years.|
|College of the American Soldier||Army||Supported by the American Council on Education, the College of the American Soldier features two options, the non-commissioned officer program and the enlisted education program. The programs prefer Combat Arms NCOs, but are open to soldiers in all MOSs.|
|Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP)||Army, Army Reserve||ConAP benefits individuals in the Army, Army Reserve or Future Soldier Program. This program allows students to earn college credit for courses taken and training received during active duty. Through this program, students can transfer their credits once they finish their service. More than 1,900 schools participate in ConAP.|
|Navy College Fund (NCF)||Navy, Naval Reserve||NCF is a part of the MGIB program exclusively for members of the Navy. To qualify, students must be high school graduates between 17 and 35 years old. Candidates must serve on active duty for a minimum of three years. The amount of money awarded depends on when candidates entered active duty.|
|Navy College Program||Navy, Naval Reserve||The Navy College Program assists sailors actively serving in the Navy. The program boasts several resources and benefits, including up to $250 per semester hour. To qualify, students must attend an accredited institution and serve on active duty for the entire duration of their courses. Tuition assistance does not cover books, materials, or miscellaneous academic fees.|
|Navy Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)||Navy||The Navy SLRP repays up to $65,000 in students loans during a sailor’s first three years of service.|
|Air University||Air Force||Headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, Air University grants degrees and pre-commissioning services to officers, enlisted members of the Air Force, and civilians. The school is a key component of Air Education and Training Command. Air University also houses the Community College of the Air Force.|
|Community College of the Air Force||Air Force||The Community College of the Air Force partners with more than 108 affiliated Air Force schools and 1,500 civilian academic institutions. The college awards associate in applied science degrees. The goal of the school is to help airmen capitalize on their education and training in order to transition into successful careers.|
|Scholarships for Outstanding Airman to ROTC (SOAR)||Air Force||The SOAR program helps active duty Air Force personnel with less than six years of service. Funds cover up to $15,000 per year in tuition, a $250-$400 monthly stipend, and a yearly allowance of $510 for textbooks. To qualify, students must be nominated by a Wing Commander or equivalent and attend a minimum of two years of higher education.|
|Special Education Program||Marines||The Special Education Program assists select members of the Marine corps. SEP students must attend the Naval Postgraduate School in California, the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, or an accredited civilian school. Participants must complete their degrees in one calendar year. Under this program, the Marine Corps pays all tuition, fees, and travel, as well as $100 each quarter for textbooks.|
|Montgomery GI Bill for Special Reserves (MGIB-SR)||Army Reserve, National Guard||MGIB-SR benefits members of the reserves or National Guard. To be eligible, students must agree to serve as a reservist for six years. Participants receive monthly payments depending on their specific credentials. Students can receive this benefit for up to three years.|
|National Guard GI Bill® Kicker||Army National Guard||The Kicker program is paid in conjunction with the Montgomery GI Bill. The benefit assists Army National Guard members who enlist in critical units and specialties. Monthly payments range from $50 to $350 depending on duration of service and enrollment status. Participants can receive this benefit for up to three years. Military personnel in other branches can receive a different form of the GI Kicker.|
|National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)||National Guard||The National Guard SLRP helps soldiers and officer candidates pay off their loans. To qualify, students must have one or more Title IV federal student loans and commit to a minimum of six years of service. The amount of money awarded for repayment varies. However, the SLRP maxes out at $50,000. Other eligibility requirements may apply.|
|Coast Guard Foundation Scholarships||Coast Guard||The Coast Guard Foundation offers a variety of scholarships for active duty and reserve members of the U.S. Coast Guard. The foundation also offers benefits to children and spouses. These programs cover education expenses not met by the GI Bill, including books, fees, transportation, and child care.|
How to Find Scholarships for MBA Students
Determine how much federal aid you are eligible to receive
Before anything else, students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can help you figure out how much need-based aid you are eligible to receive. The government calculates this sum by subtracting the expected family contribution from the total cost of attendance. Many MBA scholarships for veterans use FAFSA figures to determine students’ financial need.
Find military-friendly schools for business students
To find military-friendly schools, business students should scour the many online resources available. Students should look specifically for schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, offer military MBA scholarships, and provide tuition discounts for service members.
Seek privately funded military scholarships
There are dozens of MBA scholarships for veterans across the U.S. Students should visit the federal student aid website and use online search tools to find privately funded military scholarships. Options includes the American Legion, AMVETS, Air Force ROTC, ARMY ROTC, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Apply to as many scholarships as possible
To increase the chances of being awarded, students should apply to as many scholarships as possible. Learners can apply to MBA scholarships for veterans, active duty personnel, reserve members, and dependents.
Military MBA Scholarships
- Women In Defense HORIZONS Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Unlike many military MBA scholarships, HORIZONS exclusively accepts female applicants. The award assists women pursuing careers related to national security and defense. Applicants must submit essays and letters of recommendation.
- North American Van Lines Military Scholarship Competition
Who Can Apply: North American Van Lines awards five scholarships to active military students pursuing undergraduates degrees in business, logistics, or management. Honorably discharged veterans, spouses, and children under the age of 23 are also eligible. Applicants must submit an essay, transcripts, and verification of enrollment.
- The eLearners Scholarship for Military Personnel, Veterans, and Spouses
Who Can Apply: Veterans, active duty personnel, honorably discharged service members, and their spouses can apply for the eLearners scholarship essay contest. Applicants must submit a 250-word essay about how their military service enhances their education.
- Sigma Chi Foundation Military Service Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Sigma Chi Foundation offers merit-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. To qualify, students must be members or pledges in the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The military service scholarship focuses exclusively on veterans and military personnel. Applicants must demonstrate strong academic standing and leadership skills.
- The Robert W. Brunsman Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The International Military Community Executives’ Association offers two military MBA scholarships each year, one for personnel and one for their families. Applicants must mail in their applications to the IMCEA Headquarters.
- The Legacy Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: The Staunton Military Academy Alumni Foundation offers four scholarships to military students who attend accredited two-year and four-year institutions. Applicants must submit a cover letter, two essays, and two letters of recommendation.
Amount: Minimum of $1,500
- TonaLaw Veterans Scholarship
Who Can Apply: TonaLaw offers two annual scholarships to veterans of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Applicants must attend an accredited school.
- Imagine America Military Award Program
Who Can Apply: The Imagine America Foundation offers a need-based educational assistance program for active duty service members, reservists, and honorably discharged and retired veterans. To apply, students must watch a video and submit a completed application.
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
- U.S. Department of Labor VETS: The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) program helps veterans find jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. The program also provides information about available scholarships and grants.
- Military OneSource: Provided by the the Department of Veterans Affairs, Military OneSource connects veterans and their families to educational resources, employment opportunities, compensation programs, and other helpful resources.
- American Society of Military Comptrollers: Originally established as the Society of Military Accountants and Statisticians, ASMC now represents financial management professionals in the Department of Defense and Coast Guard. Members receive many benefits, including access to networking, professional development, and educational opportunities.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: DHHS provides resources to help Americans live healthy lives. The department offers specialized resources for active service members, veterans, and their families. Benefits include education and training opportunities and health and wellness programs.
- Military Skills Translator: This military skills translator helps veterans convert their military experience into language that civilian hiring managers will better understand. The translator can also help veterans decide which degree or career to pursue.
- Veterans Employment Center: The Veterans Employment Center works in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor to help active service members, veterans, and their families connect with employers. The center helps clients transition their military experience into meaningful careers.
* GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.