The Fry Scholarship for Surviving Children is Now Extended to Surviving Spouses
The Fry Scholarship is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include the children of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001. Effective January 1, 2015 the Fry Scholarship expanded eligibility to surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
Eligible beneficiaries attending school may receive:
• Full tuition & fees paid directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at a statutory maximum amount per academic year.
• A monthly housing allowance
• A books & supplies stipend
According to Military.com, “The Fry Scholarship was created to honor the memory of Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas. With only a week left in his Iraq tour in 2006, Fry injured his hand and was given the option of going home early with a Bronze Star. Fry declined the offer and volunteered to go on one last run to defuse bombs. Fry was killed March 8, 2006, by an improvised explosive device in Anbar province, Iraq, leaving behind his widow and three small children.”
When I became a surviving spouse at the age of 44, our children were 10 and 13. As I look back 10 years past that time, I am not only reminded of our loss, but of the loss of many during that time and the years since. I remember going to many memorial services at Ft. Hood, for the 4th Infantry Division soldiers killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. I often wonder what paths those young surviving spouses have taken as they have navigated life without their loved one beside them. I hope those surviving spouses I remember from the memorial services and those who have become surviving spouses since will go to the VA‘s website to look at their options.
As I continued to live life and raise our children in a manner in which I hope would make my husband proud, one of my top concerns was funding their college education. Fortunately, my daughter was able to benefit from the Fry Scholarship. It was not an easy task filling out the application and working with her college. I remember initially, there were many calls made to the educational advisors at the VA. At the time, it was a new benefit and as with most new programs there were growing pains. The educational advisors always first and foremost extended their condolences for our loss. I remember sitting at the computer with my daughter, assisting her with the application and having to make several calls to the VA to ensure that we were filling out the application correctly. It took us a while to fill out the application but I cannot emphasize enough persistence and follow through. If the answer to a question does not make sense to you, call back.
The Fry Scholarship has benefitted our family immensely. I hope this expansion will help surviving spouses who might have been holding back on continuing their education due to the expense.
For more information on the Fry Scholarship please go to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/docs/factsheets/fry_scholarship.pdf