Fry ScholarshipUpdated: October 18, 2022
The Marine Gunnery Sgt. John David Fry Scholarship provides GI Bill benefits to eligible surviving spouses and children of service members.
The Fry Scholarship pays full tuition and fees for in-state students at all public colleges and universities.
As of July 2017, Post-secondary schools must charge in-state tuition and fees to “anyone using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state where the IHL [institute of higher learning] is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence),” according to the VA.
Fry Scholarship recipients can attend foreign or private institutions, but the benefit has an annual cap. For the 2022 academic year (effective Aug. 1, 2022-July 31, 2023), the maximum benefit is $26,381.37.
Recipients whose tuition and fees is higher than the annual cap may be eligible to receive additional benefits through the Yellow Ribbon program.
The Fry Scholarship includes the following benefits, according to the VA:
- Up to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level
- Full tuition and fees, paid directly to the school, for all public school in-state students; tuition and fees are capped for those attending private or foreign schools
- Monthly housing allowance
- Books and supplies stipend
Grades do not affect eligibility for the Fry Scholarship.
Eligibility extends to surviving spouses and children of active-duty service members who died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001 or members of the selected reserve who died from a service-connected disability on ar after Sept. 11, 2001.
The proposed Fry Scholarship Enhancement Act of 2021 would also include spouses and children of service members who died from a service-connected disability within 120 days of serving in the Armed Forces.
Dependent children become eligible for the Fry Scholarship when they turn 18 or graduate from high school – whichever happens first – according to the VA website. Those who qualified before Jan. 1, 2013, are eligible until they turn 33 years old. There is no expiration date for those who qualify after Jan. 1, 2013 or whose parent was a member of the selected reserve who died from a service-connected disability.
Marriage does not affect children’s eligibility.
The passage of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 made surviving spouses eligible for the Fry Scholarship. Surviving spouse eligibility expires 15 years after their service member’s death or when they remarry, whichever comes first.
Can the Yellow Ribbon Program Be Used With the Fry Scholarship?
In the past, the Yellow Ribbon program could not be used with the Fry Scholarship.
However, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, signed into law Aug. 17, 2017, brought several changes to education benefits for veterans. As of Aug. 1, 2018, Fry Scholarship recipients can also use Yellow Ribbon benefits.
How Do I Apply for the Fry Scholarship?
You can apply for the Fry Scholarship online by signing into your VA.gov account. If you prefer to complete a paper form, download VA Form 22-5490, the Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits. Send it to the VA regional office where you want to go to school. If you’ve already started school, have a certifying official complete VA Form 22-1999, VA Enrollment Certification.
Can I Use the Fry Scholarship and the Dependents’ Educational Assistance Together?
In general, students cannot use both the Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) and Fry Scholarship, according to the VA. Those who are eligible for both programs must choose which one to use.
An exception is children of service members who died in the line of duty before Aug. 1, 2011. These students can use both DEA and the Fry Scholarship for up to 81 months of education and training. However, only one program can be used at a time.
Fry Scholarship vs. DEA Comparison
|Benefit Payments||Monthly payments are made directly to the student, with the current amount* for full-time training being:|
$1,298 (effective Oct. 1, 2021-Sept. 30, 2022)
$1,401 (effective Oct. 1, 2022-Sept. 30, 2023)
* Your class start date determines which rate applies.
|Tuition and fee payments are paid to the school. Full in-state tuition costs are covered for training pursued at public institutions. The annual limit for private institutions is $26,381.37 (effective Aug. 1, 2022).
A books and supplies stipend is paid to the student, up to $1,000 a year, with the payments proportionately per term.
A monthly housing allowance is paid to students as a monthly stipend based on the local basic allowance for housing (BAH) rate for E-5 with dependents.
|Duration of benefits||Surviving spouses of those who died in the line of duty may use benefits for up to 20 years from the service member’s date of death.|
A child may use benefits between ages 18 and 26, although there are exceptions.
|Surviving spouses have 15 years from their service member’s date of death to use the benefit. They lose it if they remarry.
A child who turned 18 or graduated from high school before Jan. 1, 2013, can use benefits until they turn 33 years old.
A child who becomes eligible after Jan. 1, 2013, has no time limit to use benefits.
|Maximum number of months of benefits||45 months if the first use of benefits was before Aug. 1, 2018;|
36 months if the first use of benefits was after Aug. 1, 2018
|Concurrent receipt of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and education benefit for spouse||Yes||Yes|
|Programs covered||College, business, technical and vocational programs;|
apprenticeships and on-the-job training; and tutorial assistance and work-study
|College, business, technical and vocational programs;
apprenticeships and on-the-job training;
vocational flight training; and tutorial assistance and work-study
History of the Fry Scholarship
The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, Public Law 111-32, created the Fry Scholarship. This amended the Post-9/11 GI Bill to provide educational assistance benefits to the children of service members who died in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001.
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 expanded eligibility to include surviving spouses.
The proposed Fry Scholarship Enhancement Act of 2021 would extend benefits to spouses and children of service members who died from a service-connected disability within 120 days of serving in the Armed Forces.
On March 8, 2006, Marine Gunnery Sgt. John D. Fry was killed in action while disarming an improvised explosive device (IED) in Anbar Province, Iraq, according to the VA. At 28 years old, he left behind his wife, Malia, and three young children.
The Fry Scholarship came out of her efforts to honor her husband’s memory and sacrifice. and those have helped send hundreds of children of fallen service members to college and other postsecondary educational efforts.
“He laid down his life so other Marines would be safe, and he did it willingly.”
– Malia Fry, wife of John David Fry