Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

What is the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship?

Public Law 111-32, the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, amends the Post-9/11 GI Bill® (chapter 33) to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. The benefit is effective August 1, 2009; the same day the Post-9/11 GI Bill® takes effect. Eligible children attending school may receive up to the highest public, in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance under this program.

Who is eligible?

Children of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible for this benefit. A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible.

Effective January 01, 2015, VA educational benefits have been expanded under Section 701 of this Act. Specifically, this section extends the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to surviving spouses of military personnel who die in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.

Eligible children:

  • are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level
  • have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his/her 18th birthday
  • may use the benefit until his or her 33rd birthday
  • cannot use benefit before age 18, even if he or she has completed high school
  • are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program

Eligible spouse:

  • are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level of the Post-9/11 GI bill, including tuition and fee payment, monthly housing allowance and books and supplies stipend.

Rules for eligible children serving, or who have served, in the Armed Forces:

  • If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill®
  • A child’s character of discharge from his or her own service does not impact eligibility resulting from the line of duty death of a parent
  • A child on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate (eligible for unlimited tuition and fees but not eligible for monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend)
  • A child who meets the service requirements to transfer entitlement under Post-9/11 GI Bill® may be eligible to transfer up to 36 months of entitlement to his or her dependents.

Spouse – DEA vs Fry Scholarship:

  • The Fry Scholarship provides 36 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits to eligible surviving spouses. The DEA program provides 45 months of educational benefits. All surviving spouses eligible for DEA and the Fry Scholarship must make an irrevocable election for terms beginning on or after January 1, 2015. When a surviving spouse elects to convert to the Fry Scholarship, he or she loses all remaining DEA benefits. If a spouse elects to use DEA instead of the Fry Scholarship, he or she forfeits all future entitlement to the Fry Scholarship.


Children currently enrolled in school may apply for benefits under VA’s Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. The application for this benefit is available online, and there is a link on the GI Bill® website, The link takes the user to VONAPP, the online application. Select VA Form 22-5490, Application for Dependents’ Educational Assistance, to apply. If you are a son or daughter, under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

For more information, call toll-free 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or visit the VA GI Bill® Website at