Scholarships for National Guard Members in 2024

The National Guard offers a wide variety of educational benefits and scholarship opportunities for members and their families. As 2024 approaches, it’s an ideal time to start exploring your options so you can take advantage of funding for college or career training programs. We’ll cover the top National Guard scholarships available in the upcoming year, eligibility requirements, award amounts, application processes, and deadlines. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the financial aid available and how to maximize your education benefits as a National Guard member.

Overview of National Guard Education Benefits

Before diving into specific scholarship programs, it’s helpful to review the umbrella of education benefits offered through the National Guard service. Some key opportunities include:

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

The MGIB-SR program provides up to $362 monthly and up to $6,000 total for education expenses. To qualify, you must have a six-year commitment to serve in the National Guard or Reserves. This benefit has no time limit as long as you remain an active drilling guardsman.

Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

SLRP provides loan repayment assistance of up to $50,000 for qualifying student loans. You must serve a six-year contract with the National Guard and agree to participate satisfactorily in drills and annual training. Loan repayment is made in installments over the service commitment.

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State Tuition Assistance (TA)

Many states offer additional TA funding beyond federal benefits for National Guard members pursuing higher education. Award amounts and eligibility may vary by location, so check with your state education office for full program details.

Top Scholarships By Countries

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Understanding these baseline benefits provides helpful context as you explore scholarships offered on top of the GI Bill, loan repayment, and tuition assistance programs available through the National Guard service. Let’s now look at specific scholarships for 2024.

Major National Guard Scholarships for 2024

With the education benefit overview in mind, here are some of the top annual scholarships offered through the National Guard to students pursuing college or career training programs in 2024:

Freedom’s Challenge Scholarship

Awarded to 250 National Guard members each year, Freedom’s Challenge scholarships provide $2,000 towards postsecondary education. Applicants must demonstrate strong academic performance, references, and essay responses. Details on the 2024 application cycle will be available in spring 2023.

Emergency Financial Assistance Grant

This need-based grant of up to $3,000 assists Guard members experiencing financial hardship due to deployment, call to state active duty or other qualifying conditions. Grants help cover education costs, rent, utilities, food, and more essential living expenses. The application period for 2024 grants opens in July 2023.

ESGR Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Scholarship

Recognizing the commitment of civilian employers, ESGR awards 10 scholarships of $2,000 each year. Scholarship recipients must have strong academic records and intend to pursue a business or related degree. The 2024 application deadline is March 1st, 2023.

National Guard Association of the United States Scholarships

NGATUS offers multiple higher education scholarships each year ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Awards consider Guard involvement, leadership experience, academic achievement, and goals. 2024 applications are due March 1st, 2023.

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Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists Scholarship

WAVEST provides five $1,000 scholarships annually for members of the National Guard Bureau Regional Readiness Commands West. Selection weighs academic merit as well as education and career goals. Be on the lookout for the 2024 application announcement in late 2023.

Eligibility Requirements for National Guard Scholarships

While award criteria vary by specific program, there are some general eligibility requirements common to many National Guard scholarships:

  • Current membership in the Army or Air National Guard
  • High school diploma or GED completed
  • Acceptance at an accredited college, university, or vocational/technical school
  • Full-time or part-time student status in an undergraduate, graduate, or certificate program
  • Commitment to continued Guard service during the term of the scholarship award
  • Strong academic performance in high school and/or college coursework
  • Outstanding leadership qualities and initiative demonstrated
  • Clear education and career goals outlined
  • Positive letters of recommendation

Some scholarships also consider financial need or specific degree areas of study. Be sure to thoroughly review eligibility for any program you apply to ensure you meet all listed criteria. Reach out to your education office for guidance as well.

Application Process and Tips for Scholarship Success

Now that the major scholarship opportunities and general eligibility are outlined, let’s review best practices for completing strong applications:

Start Early

Many National Guard scholarship deadlines fall between January and March each year for funding that same calendar year. Allow ample time to collect required documents and construct thoughtful, well-written essays.

Follow Directions Closely

Meet all submission instructions exactly as stated to avoid disqualification on technicalities. Save your work frequently as you complete online forms.

Polish Your Essays

Compelling responses are crucial for earning scholarship selection committees’ attention. Emphasize your Guard experience, ambitions, strengths, challenges overcome, and future impact. Request reviews from advisors, teachers, or writing center professionals.

Request Recommendations Ahead of Time

Give solid recommenders a month’s notice to thoughtfully draft strong letters, including specific examples and anecdotes supporting your character and qualifications.

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Verify Eligibility at your Education Center

Confirm with your state’s Guard education office that you meet all criteria and have the necessary documentation in order before submission. They’re an invaluable resource!

Follow Up Professionally

Send thank you emails to scholarship sponsors after the award decision. Stay on their radar should additional funding become available in future years.

With thorough preparation and diligent application processes, National Guard members have outstanding potential for earning scholarship support in 2024. Let dedication, work ethic, and attention to detail shine through in strong applications.

2024-2025 Scholarship Academic Calendar 

As you plan further ahead, here is a preview of typical National Guard scholarship applications and academic timelines:

  • Fall 2023: Research opportunities, gather documents & essays
  • January-March 2024: Majority of scholarship deadlines
  • April-June 2024: Notification of award selections
  • Summer/Fall 2024: Use funding for the 2024-2025 academic year
  • 2025: Research/apply for the 2025-2026 academic cycle

Staying organized with these projected schedules will help position you well for maximizing education support now and in future years of service.

Frequently Asked Questions

This comprehensive guide would not be complete without addressing some common questions Guard members have about National Guard scholarships:

Can I apply if I’m still in high school?

Most scholarship programs require a high school diploma or GED, though some only need proof of impending graduation. Check specific eligibility criteria.

What if I need to defer attending school?

Inform the scholarship sponsor if you must delay enrollment due to Guardsman duties like mobilization, deployment or disaster response operations. Most will extend award funding if given enough advance notice.

Do I need to maintain a minimum GPA?

Generally yes, though requirements vary—often a 2.5 cumulative or per term is standard. Follow-up award terms for continued eligibility guidance like enrollment verification or grade reporting.

Will this impact my GI Bill eligibility?

No, National Guard scholarships do not impact GI Bill benefit entitlement or future benefit usage in any way. They provide an additional layer of financial support on top of GI Bill programs.

What if I have other questions?

Contact your state’s National Guard Education office or search nationalguard.com for additional resources and contacts. Education centers exist to help Guard members maximize education benefits every step of the way.

Conclusion

By understanding the breadth of National Guard education benefits available and scholarships specifically targeted for 2024, you are empowered to fulfill your academic and career aspirations. With proper planning, documentation, and strong applications, Guard members have exceptional potential for earning thousands of dollars in additional awards year after year. Don’t delay—begin your scholarship research process today to position yourself for funding success as the 2024 application cycles open. The National Guard is committed to supporting the continued service and education path of every Soldier and Airman.

About the author

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Subchief is the chief administrator and lead developer of Subteller.com. He has over 10 years of experience in web design, development and digital content strategy.

As the founder and content strategist of Subteller, Subchief oversees all aspects of content creation and website management. He works closely with freelance writers and editors to develop valuable, informative articles on topics related to immigration, careers, legal issues and more.

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