Our liberties come with a heavy price. America’s servicemen and women volunteer to serve our Nation and find themselves on the front lines. As a result of this dedication of their careers and lives to our great Nation, the loved ones left at home become, in a way, our families and our children too.
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that mobilizes Americans of all ages to provide tangible thanks to the men and women serving our country and defending our freedoms through need-based educational scholarships to the dependents and spouses of active-duty U.S. military personnel, with special emphasis given to those who lost a loved one in service to America.
Scholarship Program Highlights
ThanksUSA’s scholarship program is unique in that both spouses and children of active-duty men and women can apply to the same organization for support. Our scholarships are need-based – enabling those who most need and deserve the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education the opportunity to do so.
- Since ThanksUSA’s inception in 2006, we have awarded over 3,000 scholarships for a total value of nearly $10 million;
- Our scholarship recipients represent all military branches – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve – and come from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
An Urgent Call
In the past year alone, ThanksUSA received almost 2,000 applications from the spouses and children of our armed forces. While we were honored to provide more than 300 scholarships valued at $3,000 each, we could only meet a small portion of the need among deserving applicants. In 2014, with your help and that of other like-minded Americans, we seek to award at least 500 scholarships totaling $1.5 million.
Responsible Stewardship and Operational Expertise
Supporters of ThanksUSA can be confident that their funds will be used effectively and only for the intended purpose of the scholarship program. Our fiscal responsibility and financial transparency, strong governance, and an average expense ratio of only 10% over the past seven years serve as an excellent measurement of the integrity, financial health, and operational stability of our organization.
- 90% of your contribution supports the scholarship program
Background: The Burden of Rising Education Costs on Military Families
Our American military families make great sacrifices in the shadow of a military career. With modest pay, they share the same dreams that all of us have, to provide their families with a better life through educational opportunities. Today, for many military families this dream has become more daunting with the ever-increasing cost of education made worse by the recession.
Figures from the College Board list the average cost of attendance at a private four-year university to have increased 4.5% over the past year to more than $28,500, and the average cost for a four-year public college is over $8,200. The low to moderate average household income of our scholarship applicants leaves these families with limited options. For our military families with a loved one now deployed in harm’s way, the next knock on the door could bring unbearable news. For the families whose parent or spouse gave their last full measure defending America’s freedom even greater support is needed.
ThanksUSA’s scholarship programs provide life-changing opportunities for the spouses and children of our troops who require financial assistance towards higher education, while increasing the chances for success in their personal and professional lives. Please honor and thank our military families by helping to make a reality the dream of higher education through support of ThanksUSA’s scholarship programs. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these deserving Americans.
Applicants for a ThanksUSA scholarship are evaluated and chosen based on the following criteria:
- Spouse or dependent of an active-duty service person (including Guard and Reserve members)
- Academic Record - Minimum GPA of 2.0
- Scholarship for children and spouses who intend to enroll in an accredited two-year or four-year college, university, vocational school or technical school
- Scholarship support to spouses for certification or licensing programs; spouses may attend part time (6 credit minimum)
- Demonstrated Financial Need
- Demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities
- ThanksUSA gives a preference to spouses and children of the wounded and fallen
ThanksUSA defines “active duty” as uniformed service for at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001, including those wounded and killed in action. “U.S. military personnel" refers to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Military reservists who have been activated to full-time duty, and members of the National Guard who have been federalized and who otherwise meet the requirements, are also eligible.
Determining Compelling Financial Need
When determining “financial need,” ThanksUSA considers the number of children in a family; the number of family members going to college; amount of savings; medical costs; and other components to provide a full picture of how a scholarship will benefit the economic prospects of a given family. Our contract with Scholarship America helps to ensure the privacy of the applicants throughout the process and enables ThanksUSA to carefully screen applicants so as to deliver a good match between donor intent and recipient value.
ThanksUSA’s scholarship program is unique in that both spouses and children of active-duty men and women can apply to the same organization for support. ThanksUSA is one of the most ambitious scholarship programs available to active-duty military spouses, and provides meaningful supplemental support for their children who fall through the cracks of other governmental programs as evidenced by the high number of needs-based applications we receive annually. In accordance with our mission to honor both groups, we maintain a balance in the amount of monetary support that we award to each group.
ThanksUSA scholarships have been received by residents of all 50 states and representing all branches of the military.
We are honored as an organization to have issued a significant portion of our scholarships to low-income and minority households. After seven years of our program, we’re seeing how ThanksUSA scholarships change the earning potential of the families who receive them. For 2014, our goal is to award 500 scholarships each valued at $3,000, so that with our help, the recipients can make significant educational advances.
“My husband has been in the Army for 3½ years, and is on his second year-long deployment to Iraq. I will be
applying for this scholarship; just knowing that this will help so many people like me is winning enough!
So thank you for recognizing the efforts of our military.”