Congratulations, your child has graduated from high school or will be very soon! Now, it's time to determine how your child's college education will be funded.
As a 100% permanent and total disabled veteran, my child was fortunate enough to qualify for the Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans (CSDDV) Scholarship Program, a state-sponsored initiative in Florida that provides financial assistance to eligible dependents pursuing higher education. My daughter's journey with CSDDV has been a testament to the program's potential to alleviate financial burdens and empower individuals to achieve their academic goals.
Everything You Need to Know About CSDDV
How Much Does the CSDDV Pay?
The CSDDV scholarship is particularly valuable in Florida, where the average cost of tuition and fees at public four-year universities is around $6,070 per year.* For families struggling to make ends meet, this amount can be a significant barrier to higher education. However, the CSDDV scholarship effectively covers a substantial portion of these expenses, making it a lifeline for many students.
Experience with the CSDDV
The application process was straightforward and positive. My daughter applied through the Bright Futures website and simultaneously applied for the Bright Futures and CSDDV scholarships. She applied for the scholarship during her senior year, around November/December. We didn't receive a final notice that she was accepted until September after she started college.
However, once she was approved for the scholarship, the funds were disbursed directly to her university, ensuring she had the financial support she needed to focus on her studies. The amount of the CSDDV scholarship is calculated based on the type of institution a student attends and the number of credit hours they are enrolled in. For example, in 2022-2023, the scholarship amount for a full-time student at a four-year public university was $211 per credit hour. This can cover a considerable portion of your student's tuition and fees.
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The First CSDDV Payments
Since my daughter did not receive the first CSDDV payment before the term started, we had to pay out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed. She enrolled in 14 credit hours for her first semester; the first payment amount was $2,981. This equaled the $211 per credit hour limit for 2023 and covered 95% of her tuition and fees. She also received the Bright Futures Scholarship, which covered housing and other miscellaneous fees. So, for the first semester, we only had to pay for her meal plan. For the spring, she enrolled in 12 credit hours; her payment was $2,768.74 for CSDDV. She'll receive the Bright Futures Scholarship to recover any remaining costs.
Does the CSDDV renew?
Yes, as long as your student stays enrolled each semester, the CSDDV will renew, and the amount will be applied to your student's financial aid. For example, for the spring semester, the college automatically applied the CSDDV amount, so we only had to pay out-of-pocket costs that were not covered by any scholarships. Luckily, we didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for the spring semester.
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Does CSDDV Increase Every School Year?
I have found that the financial award did increase on an annual basis. This is beneficial because the cost of college courses remained the same, but her housing and meal plan did increase. So, the increase in the CSDDV award covered an additional portion of the cost of college and allowed us to pay less out of pocket.
Impact Beyond Financial Assistance
Beyond its financial assistance, the CSDDV scholarship also offers a sense of community and support for eligible dependents. The FDVA organizes regular events and workshops for CSDDV recipients, providing opportunities to connect with other students, share experiences, and access additional resources.
Furthermore, the CSDDV scholarship serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. It is a tangible expression of gratitude and recognition for their service to our country.
Key Takeaways for the CSDDV Scholarship
My experience with the CSDDV scholarship has highlighted its immense value in supporting the educational pursuits of eligible dependents in Florida. The scholarship provides essential financial assistance, fosters a sense of community, and honors the legacy of our veterans. I encourage anyone who may qualify for CSDDV to explore this valuable resource and take advantage of the opportunities it presents.
Here are some additional tips for applying for the CSDDV Scholarship:
Start the application process early. The deadline to apply for the CSDDV Scholarship is typically in the spring.
Make sure you have all of the required documentation from the disabled veteran. This includes the DD214, the Permanent and Total Disability award letter, and the veteran's honorable discharge status.
Get help from your school's financial aid office. They can help you complete the application process and answer any questions.
Need additional educational scholarship guidance? Schedule a time to chat.