AUSA

77 AUSA scholarship recipients were awarded AUSA scholars at an awards dinner at Club Hood in 2016. The 2020 awards ceremony will be held June 1 at Grace Christian Fellowship Center in Killeen.

Between tuition, room and board, books and a host of other things associated with college, figuring out where to find the funds can prove stressful and time-consuming for a lot of people.

Many families do not even know where to begin looking for scholarships or realize there are local scholarships available specifically for military families.

The first thing a person should do is visit the Fort Hood Soldier Development Center, which has a list of hundreds of scholarships available to Fort Hood families, but that shouldn’t be the only resource. Online scholarship portals, such as Scholarships.com or FastWeb.com, have a list of thousands of scholarship opportunities.

All scholarships have an eligibility requirement and a list of things the student needs to provide. Many scholarships also require an essay, which can seem intimidating. Scholarships.com recommends students apply for those intimidating scholarships because the pool of applications is smaller.

“The best advice I can give is to conduct their own searches frequently and make time to submit for scholarships,” Peggy Stamper, Fort Hood education specialist, said. “It takes some effort, but the pay-off can be huge.”

The more scholarships a person receives, the less they would accumulate in student loan debt they may or may not be able to pay off after graduation. Scholarships can be time-consuming, but graduating from college debt-free is worth the time. One thing Stamper recommends is for people to avoid student loans and Parent Plus loans.

“As a mother of five, I am a cautionary tale,” she said. “I will be paying off Parent Education Loans debt for as long as I live.”

Locally, students should look at scholarships through the city or county in which they live. Local civic organizations provide scholarships. They should also check at their high school. The college and career advisors should have a list of local scholarships available to students.

The Central Texas – Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army has been providing scholarships locally since the 1950s. In 2019, the local chapter disseminated $69,000 to 48 students.

Peter Beronio, scholarship coordinator for the Central Texas – Fort Hood Chapter of AUSA, said the key thing to do is fill out the scholarship application completely. Applicants must be chapter members or the dependent of a member. The AUSA scholarship requires a short essay and recommendations. He said scholarships are awarded based on the applicants’ academics and extra-curricular activities.

“Some might say it’s a disadvantage to move around, but I’ve seen these kids’ resumes and their applications and transcripts,” Beronio said. “I wish I was that motivated at 17, 18. They’re some spectacular kids.”

Beronio said most of their applicants receive $1,000, but some scholarship donors request for more money to be distributed to a single person. The Ben Hogan Foundation is one of their donors and have requested five scholars receive $5,000 each.

The application for the Central Texas – Fort Hood Chapter of AUSA scholarship can be found online at https://www.ausaforthood.org. Application deadline is May 1 and the awards luncheon will be held June 1 at Grace Christian Center. For more information, visit https://www.ausaforthood.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodAUSA.

The Fort Hood Area Military Family Member Scholarship Fund, under the supervision of the garrison commander, was established at Fort Hood in 1985. In 2019, they distributed $66,000 to 47 recipients.

FHAMFMSF president Amy Yazzie said scholarship recipients are selected by an outside selection committee. All identifying information is removed from the applicant’s file, so the scholarship selection is a blind process. The scholarships range from $500 to $3,000.

“Applicants are selected on the basis of academic merit, participation in school and community activities/volunteerism, letters of recommendations and a brief essay,” Yazzie said. “Financial need is not considered.”

Applications for the FHAMFMSF are due March 2, with the awards ceremony held May 12 at Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen. For more information, visit http://www.fhamfmsf.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Hood-Area-Military-Family-Member-Scholarship-Fund-319465864817.

The Fort Hood Soldier Development Center regularly posts new scholarship opportunities on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodEducationServices. The Soldier Development Center is located at 33009 West 761st Tank Battalion Avenue.