Commissaries, Fisher House Offer Scholarships

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006 - The Defense Commissary Agency and the Fisher House Foundation have teamed up for the seventh year to offer educational scholarships to children of military families and retirees.

The Scholarships for Military Children Program helps children of servicemembers pay for college by providing at least one $1,500 scholarship for each of DeCA's more than 260 commissaries worldwide, DeCA spokesman Kevin Robinson said.

"We consider the commissary to be one of the pillars of the military community," Robinson said. "As such, it is important that we invest in the future of the families we serve."

Nearly 3,000 scholarships, totaling more than $4 million, have been awarded since the program began in 2001, he said.

Authorized applicants include unmarried children under age 21 of active duty, Guard, reserve, or retired military families, Robinson said. Applicants also may range up to 23 years in age if they are enrolled in school.

Scholarship eligibility will be determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current ID card.

The application period for this year's DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program began Nov. 1 and closes Feb. 21, 2007, Robinson said.

Application forms for the program are available for pick-up at commissaries worldwide and for download via the Internet at, or

A significant number of scholarships, about 10 percent each year, go to high school students attending DoD schools overseas.

"Every cent that community organizations can mobilize to support college-bound students is an investment in the future," Joseph Tafoya, director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, said.

The Fisher House Foundation administers the scholarship program, Robinson said. Funding for the program is provided by manufacturers and suppliers of groceries and services in the commissary system.

"We're excited to see this worthwhile program gaining recognition and funding from the community at large, Jim Weiskopf, vice president of communications at Fisher House Foundation, said. Increased public support helps ensure that the Scholarships for Military Children program will continue to benefit the military community for years to come.

Fisher House is renowned for building and managing living quarters on the grounds of major military installations and Veterans Affairs medical centers so military family members can be close to hospitalized loved ones. The organization is a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which highlights grassroots and corporate support for U.S. military members and their families.

Donations for the scholarship program can be made through the program's official web link at

Completed applications must be turned in at a commissary by the close of business on Feb. 21, 2007. The application includes an essay section where applicants are to describe how and why they'd change a historical event.

Eligible applicants must be planning to attend or already attending an accredited college or university full time in the fall term of 2007, or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.

(Bonnie Powell, chief of marketing at the Defense Commissary Agency, contributed to this report.)

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