What does the Sentinel Bridge For Education include?

The Bridge for Education is a multi-year comprehensive support program that focuses support in the following areas:

Veterans in our program are required to continue their formal education in line with their capabilities and goals. Education must be through a VA-approved school.

We provide a nominal housing subsidy for up to two years paid directly to the housing provider to relieve financial stress and allow our Sentinels to focus their attention on furthering their education.

We facilitate the identification of potential mentors and introductions to individuals who can assist in professional planning and personal and career development throughout the program term and as alumni.

During the program term and as alumni the Sentinels are presented with various networking opportunities to further their career path and can be introduced to prospective employers.

Free financial coaches and planners are available to each Sentinel. This can be by request or it may be required by SOF due to financial circumstances of the individual. The planners will help the Sentinel to establish basic budgeting skills to learn how to build up their financial worth.

Who is eligible for the Sentinel Bridge for Education?
  • Member of any branch of the armed forces, active, guard, or reserves who has been wounded or injured in a combat or training related event post 9/11.
  • Received a permanent VA disability rating of 50% or higher as listed on their VA Rating Statement.
  • Have received or will be receiving an honorable discharge.
  • Must be enrolled or planning to enroll in full-time postsecondary education or vocational school. Must be a VA-approved school (SOF can be flexible on the full-time requirement in certain circumstances, depending on the level of injury and ability to maintain full-time education).
  • Highly motivated individuals with the drive to reach personal, educational, and career goals.
  • Must be willing to actively engage with mentor and networking opportunities provided by SOF.
When should I apply?

We have two application windows:

Window #1 (for fall semester): Applications accepted until June 1.
The accepted applicants will be notified in late July for August school start.

Window #2 (for spring semester): Applications accepted until November 1.
The accepted applicants will be notified in late December for January school start.
Applications may be submitted at any time but will only be reviewed after the two primary review deadlines.

Do I have to be discharged to apply?

No, you can apply and be accepted before, but you must be honorably discharged for our financial services to begin.

Does SOF pay college tuition?

No, except in rare circumstances. Most financial awards are for monthly housing. However, in some cases where there may be a tuition gap between VA coverage and actual costs, we may consider directing monies directly to a school for tuition credit in those cases.

How difficult is it to apply?

The average application package takes one to two weeks to assemble due to the gathering of documents and letters of recommendation. No part of the application is difficult or particularly time-consuming. You may begin a file at any point during our two annual application windows, so advance planning will allow you plenty of time to complete the necessary items.

What happens after I submit my completed application?
Our application windows close June 1 and November 1. Those accepted will be notified in late July and December, respectively. Once you’ve completed your part, we will communicate with you to arrange one or more personal phone interviews before finalizing your submission. Your application will then be sent to our review committee and then to the board of directors for final determination. The selection shall be made without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. The award determination will be made on the selection committee’s opinion of the overall quality of the application and essay, pending the board of directors’ final approval. The decision of the committee and board of directors is final and not subject to a review policy.
What if I have a criminal record?

SOF Background Check Policy

If an applicant has pending or previous legal charges, they will be reviewed by our review committee and considered on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to maintain a safe and professional community, SOF has an accredited third party to perform a criminal record and background check on each applicant. Applicants are expected to comply with the background check and respond truthfully to our Request for Additional Information.

In general, Sentinels of Freedom does not accept applicants who have drug, weapons, or violent felony charges or convictions. All results are confidential and are not shared outside.