John Fry Scholarship Now Expanded to Include Surviving Spouses

John Fry Scholarship Now Expanded to Include Surviving Spouses

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By George Vukovich
Director, Veterans Outreach, American Military University

Just this month, a historic event was announced regarding higher education opportunities for surviving spouses of service members who have lost their lives in the line of duty since September 10, 2001. These men and women now have another opportunity at their disposal to complete a program of higher learning.

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship was an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which took effect in 2009. It provided education benefits to children of service members who were killed in the line of duty. The scholarship was named after Sgt. John Fry, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 by an improvised explosive device. His widow and three children survive him.

On August 7 of this year, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, which expands the Fry Scholarship to also cover surviving spouses, as well as children. Provisions of the law and entitlements are equal to 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Recipients will be entitled to 36 months of usage, a monthly housing allowance, a books and supplies stipend, and tuition and fee payments.

The changes in eligibility go into effect January 1, 2015. The Veterans Administration will start accepting applications November 3, 2014. Complete details of the new law can be viewed at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

As a veteran, I am pleased at the wonderful opportunities and initiatives our government continues to provide. Not just for service members and veterans, but for deserving family members, too. We’re taking care of our own and not forgetting the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.

About the Author

George Vukovich is a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant with 20 years of service as an infantry Staff Non-Commissioned Officer. One of the highlights of his career was selection to the highly competitive SNCO Degree Completion Program. While assigned to the program, George completed undergraduate degree requirements with the Virginia Commonwealth University.

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