Veterans with a strong dedication to service and thirst for higher education have the opportunity to apply for the Tillman Military Scholarship, available only through eight partner institutions, including the University of Arizona.
The UA was selected a Tillman Military Scholars national partner by the Pat Tillman Foundation in January and is now seeking applicants for the scholarship. Veterans who are enrolled at the UA or who will be enrolled in the fall are encouraged to apply.
The partnership provides an opportunity for UA student veterans or their family members to compete for the scholarship with student veterans from the other seven universities.
"Workshops will be held to help all applicants submit a complete application by providing support through existing resources and services. The workshops include the aid of professors to assist with reviewing essays and providing scholarly recommendations," said Dan Standage, the UA coordinator for the Disabled Veterans Reintegration and Education Project.
The Pat Tillman Foundation already has begun receiving applications and the process can be complicated. Standage said of the 531 applications received in the first week, the Pat Tillman Foundation reported that only 8 scholarships were complete and accepted. "The other 523 are considered incomplete and will be eliminated on the deadline date," he said.
Service is the key component of the scholarship. The Pat Tillman Foundation, named after professional football player and military hero Pat Tillman, seeks to create a community of scholars dedicated to improving their own lives, the lives of their families and their country by creating a spirit of service.
Tillman played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals from 1998 to 2001 and in a call to duty and service, enlisted in the United States Army in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. He died in Afghanistan as a result of friendly fire in 2004.
The foundation chooses university partners that offer specific support for service members and their families and have a significant percentage of military enrollments, in addition to other criteria.
During its inaugural year in 2009, the Tillman Military Scholars program awarded a total of $642,000 to 52 students enrolled at 21 universities in 16 states.
Standage sees student support in the application process as another opportunity for the UA and the UA VETS team to show their dedication to the veteran population on and off campus.
"The workshops are designed to reinforce the support veterans will receive as students at the UA; they're not alone, they don't have to establish their own support network and they have all the resources to be successful. The workshops focus on reducing anxiety and frustration, and increasing the likelihood of a strong and thorough application," Standage said.
A UA committee that includes a diverse group of military representatives, veterans and spouses will aid in the selection of recommended applicants for the Tillman Military Scholarship. The deadline to submit an application is April 30 and the UA will submit its recommended applicants to the foundation on May 10.