VA will begin accepting applications by mail beginning Nov. 3 for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria that includes surviving spouses. The addition is the latest in a series of VA actions taking in accordance with the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”).

Part of the Choice Act expanded the Fry Scholarship to include the surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Prior to this expansion, only children of those who died in the line of duty were eligible for this benefit.

“We can never fully repay the debt we owe to these families who have lost a loved one,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “It is a privilege to provide educational benefits that will make a positive difference in their lives.”

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll (right) and Malia Fry (middle) present VA Senior Advisor for Veterans employment Royse Cloud with an award recognizing VA for its contribution to education for military survivors.

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll (right) and Malia Fry (middle) present VA Senior Advisor for Veterans employment Rosye Cloud with an award recognizing VA for its contribution to education for military survivors.

The Fry Scholarship was created to honor Sergeant John David Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas.

Sergeant Fry had one week left in his tour in Iraq in 2006, when he volunteered to continue working for seven more hours disarming explosive devices, despite having already sustained an injury to his hand. He made the ultimate sacrifice on March 8, 2006, in Anbar province, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated. He left behind a widow and three young children.

The Fry Scholarship will entitle eligible spouses to up to 36 months of the full, 100-percent level of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes a tuition-and-fee payment, a monthly housing allowance and stipend for books and supplies. Some spouses currently eligible for or already receiving benefits under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program may now be eligible for the Fry Scholarship. All surviving spouses eligible for DEA and the Fry Scholarship must make an irrevocable election for terms beginning on or after January 1, 2015.

VA will identify surviving spouses eligible for both programs and send them a letter with comparative information on the benefits available and instructions on how make an election. Information about these two programs is available on VA’s website and the GI Bill website The VA call center (888-GIBILL-1) also will be able to help individuals understand the differences between the two programs.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors also known as TAPS offers Military Survivor Education Support Services Program in an effort to provide one-on-one counseling to bereaved military families who may be eligible for education benefits.

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Published on Oct. 22, 2014

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  1. Carol Levart October 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I am a widow of a vietnam veteran who received 100 percent until he passed away. I receive nothing as of yet because I can still work, When I reach 59 and one-half i can apply for survivor benefits that is what I was informed. My question is how can I be able to obtain this scholarship and how do they determine your housing. I wanted to go back to school but have no clue how this works. I do not receive any benefits except Champ VA for medical. Any information you can mail/send me would be greatly appreciated. Do you have a limit on housing and does that mean you have to be in a dorm. I take care of my disabled mom and handicapped sister and a brother who has numerous things wrong with him. He seved in the army but isn’t receiving any benefits except going to VA hospital. Please provide me with more information I would really appreciate this. thanks carol levart

    • Ashlynne Haycock October 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      He has to have been on active duty at the time of his death for you to be eligible, unfortunately.

  2. DAVID LEONI October 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I am an honorably discharged Vietnam veteran (U.S. Marine Corps) and received a disability rating of 100% in December 2013; for which I am very grateful. I have a son (who is now past the age of 26) who is struggling to pay his college student loans.
    Some of the evidence presented in support of my 100% rating occurred more than three to four years prior to my son reaching the age of 26. Why is it that my son cannot receive any tuition reimbursement help when considered evidence actually occurred well before my son reached the age of 26. Can that be explained to me please as I do not understand why my son cannot receive some form of tuition reimbursement.

  3. Cynthia Trevino October 23, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Love everything this stands for, but it saddened me to know my Marine brother-in-law also sacrificed his life in 2004 and later loses his life in 2009.but because he was only a reserve marine, my sister, niece and nephews don’t qualify for any further benefits because it happen while off duty. They still lost a war hero! They still need help! They are still part of the military family and isn’t said “once a marine always a marine?”

    • Ashlynne Haycock October 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      There is some stuff available to them, I encourage you to have them reach out to TAPS for further information on the options available to them!

  4. pv2 wayne thompson October 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    AS an retired vetran I am glad of the expanse of benefits for those whom served. Yet it became evident too me that more had too be done for the vetrans survivors.Without help towards them threw at least three generations the survivors might build a resentment, towards authority figures and that would result in revolving door problems. Thank you

  5. syed shaffee October 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I wish to know more details.

Comments are closed.

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