Widener University Offers Scholarships to Children of Iraq KIAs

America Supports You: University Offers Scholarships (DefenseLink)

A Pennsylvania university is putting its values and money to work for the sons and daughters of servicemembers who make the ultimate sacrifice. “It’s just the right thing to do,†said Widener University President James T. Harris said during a telephone interview with the American Forces Press Service.

The genesis of the idea came when faculty and students at the four-year undergraduate school began being called up and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. “I was speaking with a fellow faculty member,†Harris said, “and we wondered if there was something we could do.†Harris said he went back to his office and began “crunching numbers.†He found enough money in the scholarship budget to offer four full scholarships to the university. The offer equals $100,000 for one student for a four-year degree. Harris said the university “took it out of hide,†and he did no additional fund-raising to get the money. He presented the idea to the university’s board, and the board members unanimously approved it. The board also went along with the program’s long-term commitment — some of the servicemembers killed in action have young children who won’t be old enough for college for many more years.


It’s called Widener CARES — for Children of Active and Reserves Educational Scholarships. The program is open to the sons and daughters of servicemembers killed in action in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. It is a national program. The university — in Chester, Pa., part of the greater Philadelphia area — spent some of its early life as Pennsylvania Military College. The school today still retains a “good-sized†Army and Air Force ROTC program, Harris said.

The families of service members who die should be reasonably well provided for, as they can get $250,000 of life insurance for $16 a month. Still, this is a nice gesture.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Education, Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Or the service academies should give preference to qualified applicants from these families.

  2. Just Me says:

    Although depending on the age of the dependant(s), and the financial situation of the surviving spouse, that 250k could go quickly, and may not be around by college time.