Purple Heart Scholarship: Opportunity for Wounded Veterans

By Bright Silas

The men and women who have given up everything for the service of their nation deserve all the support and commendation in the world. Many of these veterans, after being discharged from service, have to start all over by transitioning into a career as a civilian. However, without a courage degree, this transition is challenging. Higher education is not cheap, so they need financial assistance to help them scale through.

This article will expatiate one of the biggest financial aids designed to ease that transition for veterans called the Purple Heart Scholarship. It will describe two branches of this scholarship namely: the Military Order of the Purple Heart scholarship and the Indiana Purple Heart Recipient Program. You will learn key information about these scholarships including their amount, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. That said, let us first discuss what a Purple Heart represents and who qualifies to receive one.

What is a Purple Heart?

The Purple Heart is a distinguished military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who sustained serious injuries or were killed while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Those who receive a Purple Heart award have been injured either directly or indirectly by enemy action or have required medical attention at the time of the injury. 

The heart-shaped badge award is purple because the color represents courage and bravery. The Purple Heart is the oldest active military medal in the United States, with over 1.8 million medals awarded to servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives for the nation.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship

Founded in 1957, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds to support our nation’s veterans and their families. Over the past 60 years, the Purple Heart Foundation has kept true to its mission of enhancing the quality of life of Purple Heart recipients and other honorably discharged veterans and their families. The Foundation assists these veterans and their loved ones to have a smooth landing in society. 

One way they accomplish this is through scholarship programs. The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) scholarship is a competitive program that annually awards scholarships to Purple Heart recipients and their dependents, which include: spouses, children, and grandchildren. At least one applicant with military service is awarded the Navy SEAL LT Michael Murphy Memorial Award. An applicant may also receive a maximum of two scholarships awarded in non-consecutive years.

Purple Heart Scholarship Amount

The amount of this scholarship varies each year as it is subject to funding levels. It is not a full-tuition scholarship. All applicants are to note that the college or university they attend has a measure of control over how the funds are utilized and this can impact the level of financial benefit realized by the student. 

Scholarship funds can be used for tuition, books, incidental fees, room and board, and other direct college expenditures.

Purple Heart Scholarship Requirements

To apply for this scholarship, it is important to know if you are eligible. Qualified applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. A recipient of the Purple Heart Award and a current member of MOPH or a member at the time of death.
  2. A spouse of a Purple Heart recipient who is a member of MOPH
  3. A direct lineal descendent (child, step-child, adopted child, grandchild, step-grandchild, or great-grandchild) of a Purple Heart recipient who is a Member of MOPH
  4. The spouse, widow/widower, or direct lineal descendent of a service member killed in action or who died of wounds. 
  5. Applicants must be a graduate or a senior in a high school or GED program
  6. Applicants must be accepted as full-time students at an accredited U.S. college, university, or trade school at the time of the scholarship award (This means carrying 12 or more credit hours per semester, 18-quarter credit hours, or as determined by the school.)
  7. They must demonstrate academic achievement or technical proficiency by maintaining at least a 2.75 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) in an unweighted 4.0 grading system.
  8. Transfer students who have completed an associate degree from an accredited community or city college and currently pursuing an undergraduate baccalaureate program in an accredited college or university are eligible to apply

Note the following:

  • A Purple Heart recipient who is not a member of the MOPH can apply to become a member through the MOPH website.
  • An applicant may receive a maximum of two scholarships awarded in non-consecutive years.
  • Applicants who would like to know if their lineal descendent was a member of MOPH before his or her death can contact MOPH Headquarters for assistance at (888) 668-1656 or (703) 642-5360.

Purple Heart Scholarship Application

The Purple Heart Scholarship Committee evaluates all applications submitted before the deadline that meet the eligibility criteria above. The aspects of the scholarship application that are examined are academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community and military service, work experience, letters of recommendation, and essays. 

The application window for 2023 is closed. Applicants can apply through the MOPH website when the portal opens in 2024.

The Indiana Purple Heart Recipient Scholarship

The scholarship is officially known as the Tuition and Fee Exemption for Indiana veterans and Purple Heart Recipients. It is sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. It provides up to full tuition and regularly assessed fees for up to 124 semester credit-hours at Indiana public colleges and universities at the undergraduate resident tuition rate. 

Scholarship Requirements

To be eligible to receive a scholarship from the Purple Heart Foundation, applicants must:

  1. Enter active duty service from a permanent home address in Indiana
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  3. Be a Purple Heart recipient
  4. Be honorably discharged from the armed forces
  5. Be pursuing an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree in an accredited college or trade school
  6. Be eligible to pay the resident tuition rate at the Eligible Indiana Institution the person will enroll in
  7. Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as determined by the institution
  8. Not default or overpay any federal student loan or grant
  9. Demonstrate financial aid by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually
  10. Be registered with the Selective Service System if over the age of 18
  11. Not have a disqualifying drug conviction or be incarcerated in any federal or Indiana correctional facilities.

Scholarship Application

All eligible candidates must submit an Indiana Purple Heart Recipient Application at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester through ScholarTrack.

Takeaways

The Purple Heart Scholarship is not just a financial aid program; it represents a profound commitment to honoring our heroes and helping them rebuild their lives. By doing so it ensures that their legacy continues to thrive and inspire generations to come. This publication has given you a breakdown of everything you need to know about the Purple Heart scholarship. We hope you use the information for your success.

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