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The Tillman Scholar Program unites and empowers remarkable military veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self. The fellowship supports Tillman Scholars with academic scholarships, a national network, and professional development opportunities so they are empowered to make an impact in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education and the arts. 

The Tillman Scholar application cycle has closed for 2019, and will reopen Feb. 1-28, 2020 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The scholarship assists with academic expenses, and can be used for tuition and fees, living expenses, and books. Tillman Scholars can expect an average award of $10,000. Read our Application One Pager and explore profiles of the Tillman Scholars to see what distinguishes our most successful applicants. Questions? Review the 2019 FAQs.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

The 2020 Tillman Scholar application cycle will open from Feb. 1 – 28, 2020.

The following candidates may apply to become a Tillman Scholar:

  • Veteran and active-duty military service members
    • Pre-and post-9/11 service eras
    • From all branches of the U.S. Military including National Guard and Reserve
  • Current spouses of veterans or active-duty service members, including surviving spouses
  • Service members or spouses pursuing a degree as a full-time* student:
    • Undergraduate (Bachelor’s or above)
    • Graduate or professional degree
    • At a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution
*Full-time as determined by your institution and program of study

Scholarships are available to military children through our partners at Fisher House Foundation, No Greater Sacrifice, ThanksUSA, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

On what basis are Tillman Scholars selected?

Strong applicants demonstrate clear academic goals, extraordinary leadership potential, and a deep desire to create positive change. They believe their best years of service to our country are still ahead of them, and they are committed to strengthening communities at home and around the world. Scholars are selected based on:

  • Service: Dedicated to service beyond self, in and out of uniform.
  • Scholarship: A lifelong learner, passionate about intellectual growth.
  • Humble Leadership: Selflessly committed to leading by example.
  • Impact: Determined to unite others and advance ideas that change the world.

Applicants should provide compelling, thoughtful, genuine, and thorough responses to essay questions provided during the application process.

Details about the Application

In order to best prepare for completing the application, please have the following information available during the process: military service history, academic history, enrollment plans, and expected academic/living expenses and income for the upcoming academic year.

The following documents will need to be uploaded in a digital file format:
  • Documentation of military service and/or community impact as a military spouse. All discharged service members must provide their most recent DD-214 (please block out your SSN). Active Reservist or National Guard applicants may provide alternate military service verification forms. Note: all submitted military service verification forms will undergo validation.
  • Résumé including education, work, public service history, recognitions and awards earned.
  • Responses to (2) essay questions exploring the following areas: military and public service motivation and experiences; and educational, career and service ambitions.
  • Character recommendation from a third-party
  • If an applicant progresses, applicants will be prompted to submit the following additional information in April: a 250 word bio, student aid report from FAFSA; (2) high-resolution color photos; institutional financial aid award letter; and completion of a background check. Please download our background check policy here.

All Tillman Scholar applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for funding.

Annual funding renewability will be considered for Tillman Scholars based on:
  • Meeting expected graduation date
  • Proof of full-time student status and minimum 3.0 GPA earned
  • Tillman Scholar community engagement
  • Documented participation in service
  • Accountability for use of scholarship funds

All criteria must be met in order to be renewed. Review of renewal status is conducted each June by the Foundation. Students who have to extend their expected graduation date must provide proof of extenuating circumstances. Tillman Scholars are expected to maintain full-time enrollment in a U.S. accredited institution unless they are assuming part-time status during the semester they will graduate.

Scholarship funding can only be used toward a single post-secondary degree.

In addition to educational scholarships, Tillman Scholars receive the following benefits:
  • Access to the Tillman Scholar Community and leadership opportunities within the network
  • Invitation to the annual Pat Tillman Leadership Summit in Chicago, IL
  • Entry to the annual Pat’s Run in Tempe, AZ, or Shadow Runs nationwide
  • Access to mini-grants to attend professional development opportunities (conferences, workshops, and trainings)
  • Invitation to premier partner conferences including Inc. 500/5000 and SXSW
  • Access to veteran affinity groups and talent acquisition networks at top companies across the U.S.
  • Participation in research studies in the veteran and military communities
  • Opportunities to meet and volunteer with veteran partner organizations including Service to School, Warrior-Scholar Project, Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, and Team RWB, among others
  • Highlights of your stories, studies and service efforts on the Pat Tillman Foundation website and social media
Along with your role as an ambassador of the Pat Tillman Foundation, as a Tillman Scholar, you must meet the following expectations:
  • Mandatory requirement for 2019 Tillman Scholars to attend the Pat Tillman Leadership Summit in Chicago, July 17-21, 2019. (All expenses paid)
  • Maintain a full-time student status
  • Maintain a high academic standing (3.0 GPA or higher)
  • Report to the Pat Tillman Foundation when requested (including the completion of emailed surveys)
  • Meet expectations of high moral character and leadership
  • Active engagement in the Tillman Scholar and Pat Tillman Foundation Community


The following institutions are partners with the Pat Tillman Foundation. These partners demonstrate strong support for their military veterans and spouses and are proud to support Tillman Scholars on their campuses. The Pat Tillman Foundation accepts University Partners on an invitation-only basis and is not accepting new University Partners at this time.

If you are a student at one of our University Partners and have a question specific to your institution, please click the logo of your school and contact the POC listed. Otherwise, direct general scholarship inquiries to: