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 the fact sheet which provides more detailed information. 

TAPS website - please reference this website for useful informatoin regarding potential benefits and aid you could be eligible to receive.

VA now has a dedicated phone line for GI Bill beneficiaries who are a surviving spouse or child of an active duty service member who died in the line of duty and need assistance with their education benefits. A child or surviving spouse can contact the Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 and select Option 5.  A highly trained agent with specialized training in survivor benefits will be ready to assist the caller with their education benefits or survivor-related resources.  Agents will be available Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST.


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. If they became eligible before January 1, 2013 their eligibility ends on their 33rd birthday. The age limitation is removed if the child became eligible on or after January 1, 2013.


Lose eligibility to this benefit upon remarriage. If they became eligible before January 1, 2013 they are limited to 15 years to use the benefit. The time limitation is removed if the spouse became eligible on or after January 1, 2013.

Informational document for the expansion of Fry Scholarship to spouses

Fry and DEA Eligibility

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.  

Fry and Yellow Ribbon

Recipients of the Fry Scholarship may use the Yellow Ribbon Program. More information on this program is here.

Other Factors to Consider

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:

  • Make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. Please visit our GI Bill Comparison Tool for help in choosing a school.
  • To apply, obtain and complete VA Form 22-5490 through, Dependents Application for VA Education Benefits. If you are a son or daughter, under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application. When applying, you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the Fry Scholarship and the Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program to receive benefits. Children of a Servicemember who died in the line of duty prior to August 1, 2011 may be eligible for both DEA and Fry but they cannot be used at the same time.
  • If you have started your educational program, take your application to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to VA. He or she can submit an Enrollment Certification electronically using VA-ONCE. (Note: Schools must contact their VA representative to receive this form.) 

JMU Steps:

JMU requires several documents to finalize setting up the benefit for your first semester. Please complete the following:

  1. Copy of your Certificate of Eligibility showing your eligibility for the Fry Scholarship. You will complete the VA Form 22-5490 application through (see above)
  2. Student Agreement Form (complete page 1, the Post 9/11 section on page 2 and sign and date page 4). 
  3. JMU Request Form once registered for classes for the upcoming semester


  1. Let us know if you are out of state for tuition as determined by the Admissions Office. Fry recipients typically qualify for the Choice Act provision that provides instate tuition to Fry scholarship recipients.
  2. Documentation for any received outside of JMU scholarships. More information found here.
  3. Complete your FAFSA to see if you qualify for the Iraq and Afghanistan Pell Grant. (if you do not qualify for the pell grant based on financial qualifications). Most Fry recipients are eligible for the IA Pell grant. 
  4. Visit the TAPS page to search for other available aid:

Benefit Payments:

Visit this link for information regarding the payments available with the Fry Scholarship. They are the same as Post 9/11 GI Bill users receive:

  • Tuition/fees - paid directly to JMU. Fry covers up to the fulltime instate tuition rate each semester. JMU will wait on the VA tuition/fee payment. 
  • Housing - paid monthly and in arrears to the student/family. Full room/board charges must be paid upfront to JMU each semester. If you live off campus, we recommend having enough funds to cover expenses for 3 months
  • Books - stipend paid directly to the student/family, up to $1,000 per academic year at $41.67 per credit. We recommend having funds to cover books out of pocket and then use the stipend to reimburse as the stipend is not always received before the semester starts. 

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