Fisher House Foundation’s Scholarships for Military Children program has awarded deserving children of U.S. service members scholarship grants, providing an early leg up in funding their higher education dreams, for the 23rd straight year.
Five-hundred children were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the nonprofit foundation for the 2023-24 academic year. Among them is the 18-year-old son of a Marine Corps Systems Command employee at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
Brody Glen Morris, 18, graduated from Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia earlier this year as his class salutatorian out of 463 students, earning a 4.798 GPA. His father is a 20-year retired Marine who currently works in SYSCOM. He has an impressive list of extracurriculars under his belt including Students Against Destructive Decisions president, DECA vice president, Esports Lee County captain, Mathletes captain, broadcaster for Trojan Radio, Fellowship for Christian Athletes member, the youth group at Gillionville Baptist Church, math tutor and more than 300 hours of community service with southwest Georgia organizations.
A friend of the Morris family told him about this scholarship. It was apparent he qualified.
“Attending a university is very costly, and I knew this would help cover needed expenses,” Morris said. “I feel honored and very grateful to be this year’s recipient. I know there were lots of qualified applicants, and to be chosen was very humbling.”
Fisher House created the program in 2001 in partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency to recognize the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the commissaries’ role in enhancing the military’s quality of life. Fisher House has continually improved the application process to support the increasing number of students applying each year.
“The application process for the 2023-2024 Scholarships for Military Children program went extremely well,” Marshall Banks, Fisher House Foundation’s director of community relations, said. “We received 4,443 applications from 224 commissaries. That’s a 21% increase in applicants from last year.”
He added that, in total, Fisher House has provided $22,126,500 in scholarships.
Scholarship applicants submit their official transcript indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for high school applicants or indicating a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for students already enrolled in college. They also write and an essay of 500 words or less, no longer than two pages.
“I feel my essay made me stand out. I wrote about growing up on military bases and how it was sometimes hard to find your individuality,” Morris said.
He said the scholarship will help pay his tuition and fees, and for him to be in a living
learning community at Georgia Institute of Technology with a focus on global leadership.
“Global Leadership Living Learning Community focuses on engaging students with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a project-based course and preparing students to study abroad and work with others from different backgrounds,” Morris explained.
He expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in architecture from Georgia Tech and later pursue a master’s degree in architecture. His ambition is to open his own architecture firm.
“Military children are often overlooked for their contribution to their service member’s career,” Morris said. “Scholarships like this one are needed to support military children who have sacrificed by moving schools, leaving friends and homes and starting over multiple times in our childhood. It is not always easy to get good grades when you change schools because sometimes you are ahead of the other students and sometimes you are behind and must catch up quickly.
“Having a scholarship opportunity, like Scholarships for Military Children, gives us something to work toward,” he continued. “Many men in my family chose the military as a career choice. I knew at a young age I wanted to take a different path, and this scholarship will allow me to do so without earning debt. As a first-generation college student, that is very important to me."
Eligibility for the scholarship is determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants must ensure they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current military dependent ID card. The applicant must also be planning to attend or already be attending an accredited college or university, full time, or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program.
A full scholarship is usually defined as one providing payment of tuition, books, lab fees and other expenses.
All rules and requirements for the program and links to frequently asked questions are available at the Scholarships for Military Children website, as is the full list of this year’s winners. Fisher House Foundation also has a custom scholarship search engine on its scholarship website, tailored to military families, called “Scholarships for Service” available for free at militaryscholar.org.
“Fisher House Foundation has a long history of direct, critical support to service members and their families,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director. “It’s an honor for us at the Defense Commissary Agency to promote these scholarship grants again this year, offering the children of service members a timely head start to their journey in higher education.”
Fisher House Foundation is ranked a four-star charity by Charity Navigator. No government funds are used to support the Scholarships for Military Children Program. Commissary vendors, manufacturers, brokers, suppliers and the general public donate money to fund the program.
The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5% surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.