A 2-4 year Sentinels of Freedom scholarship focuses support in the following areas:
Veterans in our program are required to continue their formal education in line with their capabilities and goals. GPA requirement of 2.0 is required. Educational institute must be through a VA approved school
We may provide a nominal housing subsidy for up to 2 years paid directly to the housing provider to relieve financial stress and allow our Sentinels to focus their attentions on furthering their education
We facilitate the identification of potential mentors and introductions to individuals who can assist in professional planning, and personal and career development throughout the scholarship term and as alumni
CAREER & NETWORKING ASSISTANCE
During the scholarship term and as alumni, the Sentinels are presented with various networking opportunities to further their career path, and Sentinels can also be introduced to prospective employers
Free financial planners are available to each Sentinel. This can be by request, or it may be required by SOF due to financial circumstances of the individual. The planners will help the Sentinel to establish basic budgeting skills and how to build up their financial worth
- Member of any branch of the armed forces, active, guard, or reserves who has been severely wounded or injured in a service-related event post-9/11; this includes combat related injuries, training accidents, and non-physical injuries
- Received a permanent VA disability rating of 50% or higher as listed on their VA Rating Statement
- Received or will be receiving an honorable discharge
- Must be enrolled or planning to enroll in full-time post-secondary education or vocational school. Must be a VA approved school (SOF can be flexible on the full-time requirement in certain circumstances depending on the level of injury and ability to maintain full-time education)
- Highly motivated individuals with the drive to reach personal, educational and career goals
- Must be willing to actively engage with mentor and networking opportunities provided by SOF
The ideal time for us to begin evaluating an application is about four to six months prior to military discharge and/or the start of school enrollment.
We have two application windows:
Window #1 (for Fall Semester): Applications accepted until June 1.
Scholarships announced in July for August school start.
Window #2 (for Spring Semester): Applications accepted until November 1.
Scholarships announced in December for January school start.
Applications may be submitted at any time but will only be considered for the time frame that matches planned school enrollment. We will hold your application in our files until the appropriate award window.
No, we actually prefer to begin working with you several months prior to your discharge date so that we can maximize our connections on your behalf and help you settle back home or in a new community. You must be honorably discharged in order for financial services to begin. That said, we do accept applications post-discharge, even if it has been a number of years since you left the service.
Yes, in certain circumstances. Please note that we are not a qualified PTSD center and may not be able to assist everyone. If accepted, we may require that you continue or begin mandatory therapy or counseling.
No, except in rare circumstances. Most SOF financial awards are for a monthly housing subsidy (rent or mortgage). SOF expects applicants to make full use of their GI Bill and/or Vocational Rehab benefits to cover tuition and books for their higher education (all applicants are required to apply to one or both of these programs). However, in some cases and especially for graduate programs where there may be a tuition gap between VA coverage and actual costs, we may consider directing scholarship money directly to a school for tuition credit.
The average application package takes 1-2 weeks to assemble due to the gathering of documents and letters of recommendation. No part of the application is difficult or particularly time-consuming if you just keep at it. You may begin a file at any point during our two annual application windows, so advance planning will allow you plenty of time to complete the necessary items.
Our application windows close June 1st and November 1st. We aim to announce SOF scholarship awards in early July and early December, respectively. Once you have completed your part, we will communicate with you to arrange one or more personal phone interviews before finalizing your submission. Your application will then be sent to our scholarship committee and then to the Board of Directors for final determination. The scholarship selection shall be made without regard to race, color, national origin, sex or disability. The award determination will be made on the selection committee’s opinion of the overall quality of the application and essay, pending the Board of Directors final approval. The decision of the scholarship committee and Board of Directors is final and not subject to a review policy.
All SOF awards are tied to your matriculation at the school of your choice. In most cases, your scholarship will begin the month following approval of your application. Please note that you must be post-discharge to begin receiving the financial benefits of an SOF scholarship.
SOF Background Check Policy
If an applicant has pending or previous legal charges, they will be reviewed by our scholarship committee and considered on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to maintain a safe and professional scholarship community, SOF has an accredited third party perform a criminal record and background check on each applicant. Applicants are expected to comply with the background check and respond truthfully to our Request for Additional Information.
In general, Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation does not accept applicants who have drug, weapons, or violent felony charges or convictions. All results are confidential and are not shared outside of the organization.