Virginia’s military survivors education program sees spike in enrollment

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The number of students receiving grants under Virginia’s Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program last year jumped by 47.5%, the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia reported.

The council disbursed a total of $2.8 million in grants.

While that was more than the $2.3 million appropriated by the General Assembly, the council was able to tap carryover monies from previous years when funds available were more than what it granted.

Because of the projected increase, the council planned to reduce its maximum annual award to $600 a semester for full-time students from $950, but authorization to tap the carryover funds allowed it to increase the award to $950 for the spring semester of 2022.

Because the Department of Veterans Services is projecting still more students will participate in the program this year, the council asked for more funding. The General Assembly approved a $5 million increase for fiscal year 2023, to $7.68 million.

Old Dominion University, with 369 students, had the largest number in the program. Tidewater Community College had 134, Norfolk State University had 72, the College of William & Mary had 65, Christopher Newport University had 63 and Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson Community College) had 54.

The program provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who have been rated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as totally and permanently disabled or at least 90% permanently disabled as a result of military service.

Dave Ress, 757-247-4535,