Collegebound Network

Since 1987, America's Trusted Resource on Higher Education

Staying Successful with a Military Scholarship

When Justin Brown lost his dad, a Marine sniper, at 14, he was devastated. Justin always knew his dad was a hero; now, as a recipient of a Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation award that recognizes heroes, his college future will exemplify that. "My father is a hero for many reasons," Justin explains. "Anyone who at 17 years old can go 3,000 miles away and fight for our country, then come back and still be the father and husband he was to my family -- I don't think there is anything more heroic in the whole entire world."

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation provides college scholarships to children of Marines and former Marines. Special attention is given to students who have lost a parent or whose parent was wounded in action. According to Chris Randolph, CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, 363 teens received one of these very special Heroes Tribute Scholarships last year.

"The program provides students with an opportunity they may not have had before," says Randolph, who served as a Marine from 1967-1970.

The scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000, and can be applied toward undergraduate study at accredited educational or technical schools. Each year the criteria for these scholarships changes a bit because they are need-based scholarships, so students must reapply. The Heroes Tribute Scholarships can total up to $20,000 over four years.

Justin was aware that paying for college would be difficult for his mother, he says, and searched for a way to ease this responsibility. "I wanted to take the burden off of paying debts and taking out loans to pay bills."

In addition to financial need, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation award committee looks at other factors like extracurricular activities, academic record, and a parent's Marine Corps service. "We assign a formula each year and review every application we receive," says Randolph. "We don't like to say no," he says. "We're blessed with significant resources and we would like to make qualified students aware that we are here, so please apply." And that's exactly what Justin did.

Justin is currently a junior, attending Eastern Connecticut State University. Once he graduates he wants to go on to be an exercise physiologist for an Olympic team or a strength and conditioning coach for a college team. He says he's interested in weightlifting, exercising, and other physical activities.

Justin knows he must work hard and is grateful for a family that has shaped him into the person he is today. So it's more than just earning a high GPA in school that makes him such a great student. "[My family] lived their life working and it has made me appreciate everything in life," he says. "Nothing is given to you on a silver platter. If you want anything in life, you must work hard for it. There are no excuses or complaining."

In addition, Justin's 14-year-old brother is severely disabled and requires lots of attention from their mother. Through all this, though, Justin has stayed positive and sees his family as an inspiration to him. "My mother is the toughest person you will ever meet, yet is the nicest person in the world. My brother Adam is the definition of simplicity and appreciation of everyone around him."

Justin will continue to work hard to get where he wants to be, he says, and part of the reason he does so well can be attributed to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. "Without a doubt, it is one of the best things that has happened to me in my entire college career."

Disclaimer: This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans benefits at