A note at the start: Military.com is not a government site. It’s owned by Military Advantage, a division of Monster International. According to the entry at Wikipedia, “the company’s main revenue streams are advertising, military-themed products and lead generation for military recruiters.” The site was created in 1999 with the aim of changing the way members of the military community stay connected and informed, and was acquired by Monster International in 2004 to further members’ educational and career opportunities. From a cursory tour through the site, it looks like it does just that without a lot of in-your-face ads and with a whole lot of interesting links, even for non-military people like us. If you’re affiliated with the military (in the service or a veteran, spouse, or dependent), this site has a mountain of decent-looking information for you, including an okay section on getting an education.
For specific scholarship searches, Military.com has a dedicated search engine. You don’t need to become a member of the site to use it, and your search results can’t be saved on the site so you’ll have to take notes. The profile form requests your email address, current education level, birth year, military affiliation and status (if you don’t have one, just select one from the drop-down menu), and ZIP code. The next page asks for your address and phone number to connect you with schools that have VA-approved programs. Unless you want to be contacted, skip this page and the featured schools and click on “See scholarships first.”
With our profile, we had 660 results returned. Granted, they weren’t very well targeted to our “dependent” status. But they also weren’t fluffy essay contests or drawings (although we did opt in for awards and prizes). By doing a slightly different search with a different ethnicity, we got 691 results, so do take advantage of the limited search parameters you’re given by filling in whatever information applies.
The scholarship results are all listed on one very long page. The results listing gives you the name of the scholarship, a brief description, an award amount, and the deadline month. Click on the name of the scholarship and you’ll go to the individual scholarship page, which adds details like contact information, website address, scholarship summary, and eligibility and application particulars. A caveat here. It doesn’t look like the scholarship details have been updated in a while. We came across a deadline of 2008 on one listing we saw. The scholarships that we checked do exist, but they are often on a different page on the sponsor site so the web addresses aren’t correct, and sometimes the deadlines are vastly different. Check the deadline on the scholarship application site before assuming the one given here is correct. (This is always good advice no matter what search site you’re using.)
The big drawback with Military.com’s scholarship search feature is that you will need to slog through all the poorly targeted results, some of them with rather esoteric and intimidating acronyms. Lest you despair and begin to think you’re not eligible for any of these scholarships, slog on! Not all the listings are for the military and their first-degree relatives. We ran across listings for grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans, as well as listings for students with no military affiliation at all. (As a potential bright spot, with all your scholarship results on one page, you can do a browser search with your own keywords and narrow the bandwidth.) Despite some of its problems and its seemingly limited audience, Military.com may well be worth the visit.
We give Military Scholarship Finder 3 out of 5: