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Application window open for Fort Lewis Family Scholarship Fund

Applications due March 24

For military spouses seeking financial assistance to pay for college expenses, Fort Lewis Family Scholarship can help. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. James Hodgman

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The Fort Lewis Family Scholarship Fund is seeking applicants for its merit-based scholarship program. Applications must be postmarked by March 24, 2017. Last year, the fund distributed $30,500 in scholarships.

"The fund awards scholarships to three military family groups: high school seniors, current post-secondary students and military spouses," said Scholarship Coordinator Patty Hembree. "Available funds are broken down by the percentage of applicants in each category.  Typically, high school seniors are the largest pool. In addition, applicants must be Army family members (spouse or child), it must be (their) first degree, and (they) must reside within (a) 50-mile radius of Joint Base Lewis-McChord."

Many may not be aware that spouses can benefit as well as children.

"Not many people are aware that the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship is also awarded to qualified spouses to begin or continue their educations," said Madeline Lanza, advisor to the board. "We hope more spouses will apply this year. Characteristically, the scholarship board has awarded thousands of dollars to well-deserving applicants."

The board has reached out to the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop and unit Family Readiness Groups to encourage more spouse applications.

Hembree receives all application packets and organizes them for the judging panel, which consists of five judges.

"All the packets are anonymous, and the judges score each packet," she said. "Once scored, they are then ranked in order. The packets are scored based on grades, extra-curricular activities, leadership honors and awards, a one-page essay and letters of recommendations.  Spouses' applications do not require grades. Applications can be downloaded from our website as well as instructions and eligibility. All applications must be mailed with the letters of recommendations in sealed envelopes."

The scholarship fund receives donations from many sources.

"We receive donations from major organizations such as Armed Forces Bank and AUSA Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter and private individual donations," Hembree said. "We also receive donations from the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop and the Lewis Community Spouses Club. You can also go to our website when you shop at Amazon. The Amazon Smiles program gives us a percentage of your sale."

The Fort Lewis Family Scholarship Fund is currently looking for volunteers to serve on the board in many different capacities.  If interested, email

"Our family is retired with younger children. I volunteer because I value education and know the challenges of being a military family," Hembree said. "I appreciate the opportunities we can provide to military spouses and children."

In 2016, the Fort Lewis Family Scholarship Fund received 47 applications and awarded 31 scholarships across the three categories for a total of $30,500. In previous years, the average was approximately $27,000.

For more information, visit

Mail completed applications to:
Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship
ATTN: Scholarship Committee
P.O. Box 331037
JBLM, WA 98433

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