By Claire West

Families of servicemen and women killed on active duty will benefit from publicly funded higher education scholarships, the government announced today.

The new scheme will apply to the children of servicemen and women killed on active military service since 1990, giving them the chance to take up university scholarships.

The government also announced the continuation and expansion of a scheme to pay tuition fees for service leavers undertaking level 3 further education or undergraduate higher education courses for their first time, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Ministry of Defence.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“There is one group of families to whom we have a special debt — the brave men and women who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. We promised in Opposition that the children of servicemen and women killed in the last 20 years on active duty should have access to education scholarships. That is one small way of recognising the ultimate sacrifice that they have made. I can confirm today that my Department will set aside funding for new higher education scholarships for the children of deceased servicemen and women.

“And we plan to go further. It is wrong that so many people, on leaving the armed forces, should face hard times. Liam Fox and I will honour our debt to them. That is why I can also confirm that my Department will continue funding service leavers to get new qualifications. And we plan to offer an enhanced scheme that covers more ex-service personnel. Quite simply, it is the right thing to do”.

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr. Liam Fox, said:

“Our Armed Forces have made and continue to make great sacrifices for our security and our country. We, as a nation, have a duty to support our Armed Forces for all they do for us. I welcome this announcement which highlights the Government’s commitment to ensuring our Armed Forces have the support they need, and that veterans and their families are treated with the dignity they deserve.”