The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the children and surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died in the line of duty while on active duty after September 10, 2001. Eligible beneficiaries attending school may receive up to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level. Find out more information on payment rates. See our fact sheet which provides more detailed information.
Children and surviving spouses of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001 are eligible for this benefit. Children are eligible as of their 18th birthday (unless they have already graduated high school). A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible, although their eligibility ends on their 33rd birthday. A spouse will lose eligibility to this benefit upon remarriage. A spouse has 15 years from the date of death of the Servicemember to use the benefit.
Because certain provisions of the law that extended these benefits to spouses did not go in effect until January 1, 2015, some surviving spouses’ benefits will expire as early as 2016. A new provision of the law signed on December 16, 2016, extends the benefit eligibility to January 1, 2021 for the spouses of Servicemembers who died in the line of duty between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2005. This allows surviving spouses’ additional time to utilize the Fry Scholarship benefits.
If you are eligible for both Fry Scholarship and DEA (Dependents Educational Assistance), you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the two programs when you apply. Dependents are not eligible to receive both DEA and the Fry Scholarship based on the same event (like a Servicemember dying in the line of duty) unless he or she is a child whose parent died prior to August 1, 2011. A child of a parent who died prior to August 1, 2011 may still be eligible for both benefits but he/she may only use one program at a time and combined benefits are capped at a total of 81 months of full-time training. In this situation the two benefit programs cannot be used concurrently.
Surviving spouses are eligible to receive Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) while using the Fry Scholarship. Children, over the age of 18, in receipt of DIC will relinquish DIC payments upon the start of using VA education benefits such as the Fry Scholarship.
To apply, take these steps depending on your situation: