AFAS Scholarship allows one man to choose college.


As the oldest child, Erick Akins strives to be a role model for his younger brothers. Going to college was a dream of his, one that would let him be the first in his generation to attend college on his mother’s side. Not wanting to burden his family with financial loans, Erick just needed some financial assistance to get there.

Thankfully, Erick’s stepdad, Senior Master Sergeant Whitfield Jack, has been serving in the U.S. Air Force for the past 18 years. Through research, Erick’s mom learned about the scholarship opportunities offered through the Air Force Aid Society. 

“This was one of the most frightening times in my life,” Erick explains. “I had to make one of the biggest decisions a person could make, deciding what college to attend. This choice wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t have the money to pay for tuition. AFAS gave me that freedom, the freedom to choose.”

With the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant, Erick chose to attend the University of Texas in San Antonio. The scholarship paid for most of his school-related expenses, including books, tuition, and required materials. “The assistance made money a secondary worry when it came to choosing what I wanted versus what I need,” Erick recalls. Now in his second year of college, Erick is studying computer engineering.

What does Erick think all Airmen and their families should know about AFAS? “Help can come in many different forms, but most of channels to help begin with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for support,” Erick says. 

The Air Force Aid Society is the official charity of the U.S. Air Force and has been meeting the unique needs of Airmen and their families since 1942. AFAS works to support and enhance the USAF mission by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support and community programs. Last year alone, AFAS provided nearly $15 million in direct support. Visit to learn more, apply for assistance or make a donation.