Military Dependents Scholarship (MDS)

General Information

The MIA/KIA Dependents Scholarship Program, created by Act 188 of 1973, was amended by Act 2127 of 2005, and subsequent legislation to include the dependents of disabled veterans. The Program, now called the Military Dependents Scholarship Program (MDS), provides financial aid for undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion at any public college, university or technical school in Arkansas who qualify as a spouse or dependent child* of an Arkansas resident who has been declared to be missing in action, killed in action, a prisoner of war, or killed on ordnance delivery, or a veteran who has been declared to be 100% totally and permanently disabled during, or as a result of, active military service. *The Department of Higher Education uses the criteria of “dependent child” as defined by the U. S. Department of Education.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

An applicant must:

  • Be a bona fide Arkansas resident
  • Be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien
  • Be the biological or legally adopted child OR spouse of an eligible Arkansas veteran
    • NOTE: Spouses are ineligible if they remarry.
    • The student’s parent or spouse must have been declared to be a totally and permanently disabled veteran, prisoner of war, missing in action, killed in action, or killed on ordnance delivery during the course of active military duty after January 1, 1960.
  • Be enrolled, or accepted for admission to, an approved Arkansas public or private institution
  • Provide required documentation as determined by the ADHE
    • Scholarship application
    • Death certificate or other documentation certifying the veteran’s death
    • Report of Casualty from the appropriate branch of the United States Armed Services or a copy of the veteran’s DD214 form
    • Documentation from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs citing service-connected, one hundred percent (100%) total and permanent disability
    • Copy of the application and statement of acceptance or denial of the federal program for dependents of veterans, Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA), (Copy of VA Certificate of Eligibility)
    • Copy of legal adoption or court appointed legal guardianship for a dependent child
    • Copy of birth certificate (if dependent child)
    • Copy of marriage license (if spouse)

Continuing Eligibility Criteria

  • Student must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Student must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours per academic year

Award Amount

Waives in-state tuition, on-campus room and board, and mandatory fees at eligible Arkansas institutions.

The MDS Program will cover the unpaid portion of the cost (if any) of tuition and mandatory fees and a room and meal plan when provided in on-campus facilities after three (3) months of Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) or Chapter 35 benefits have been deducted from the total costs. If there is no positive balance after deduction of DEA benefits, then no benefits will be paid. The MDS Program cannot be used to cover the cost of books, auto permit, damages or accessories to dorm room, or utility bills. The institution will be reimbursed for covered charges after verification of full-time (12 or more credit hours) enrollment each semester. Eligibility is limited to eight semesters or the achievement of a degree, whichever occurs first. The spouse will no longer be eligible if he or she remarries.


Deadline for the Military Dependent Scholarship application is July 1.                       

Deadline for submission of supporting documentation is July 15.

Contact Information

Dana Smith

Phone: (501) 371-2000


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