The Military Survivors and Dependents Program (MSDEP) provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who became at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict. Military service includes service in the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserves, the Virginia National Guard, or the Virginia National Guard Reserves. Armed conflict includes military operations against terrorism or as the result of a terrorist act, a peace-keeping mission, or any armed conflict after December 6, 1941. This program may pay for tuition and fees at any state-supported college or university. This program waives tuition and fees in Virginia. Benefits are available for up to four years.
To be eligible, children and spouses of qualifying military service members must meet the following requirements:
- The child must be between 16 and 29 years of age; there are no age restrictions for spouses.
- The military service member is and must have been a Virginia citizen at the time he or she entered active duty or must have been a Virginia citizen for at least five years immediately prior to the date of the application for admission.
- In the case of a deceased military service member the veteran’s surviving spouse can meet the residency requirements if he or she lived in Virginia for at least five years prior to marrying the military service member or has been a citizen of Virginia for at least five years immediately prior to the date of application.
- For complete eligibility requirements and contact information, please read the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program FAQ.
The application form is available online at the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program Application.
In most cases, eligibility will be determined using documentation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the veteran or surviving spouse may be asked to provide documentation verifying residency or the applicant’s age or relationship. State income tax records, birth certificates, and/or marriage certificates are usually sufficient.
To continue receiving MSDEP benefits, qualifying enrolled students must provide a letter to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services stating their continued enrollment, the period of time attended, and the period of time for which they are requesting benefits.