Tillman Military Scholars Program

Website: Pat Tillman Foundation


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 mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation is to invest in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships; building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others. This is accomplished with the Tillman Scholars program which purpose is to identify high-impact active or veteran servicemembers and their spouses and invest in their higher education, covering the needs left unpaid for by the GI Bill and other government support. The scholarship funds awarded are just a portion of the Tillman Scholar experience which also focuses on guiding an engaged community and providing essential resources that empower Scholars to serve and lead in their local communities and ease the transition from military to civilian life.

Each year, 75 new Tillman Scholars join the Current and Network Tillman Scholars both online and in-person at the annual Pat Tillman Leadership Summit and subsequent regional gatherings throughout the US, as well as at Pat's Run each April.

Scholars are selected based on meeting a high level of excellence as demonstrated through essays and application questions which tie together these factors: motivation for serving in the military, impact of service on life/career, explanation of how degree will apply to/accelerate career and applicant's desire to continue service and make a positive impact.


The Tillman Scholar program is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Veteran and active duty military service members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces including the National Guard who have served in both pre-and post-9/11 eras.
  • Current Spouses of veteran or active service members, including surviving spouses

Spouses, veterans and service members who apply must be a full-time* student pursuing one of the following degrees at a public or private, U.S.-based, accredited institution for the upcoming fall/spring academic year:

    • An undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s or above) 
    • A graduate or professional degree 
    • You do not need to be attending a University Partnered school to apply. See video in regards to the University Partnered vs At-Large process for more information.

*full-time as determined by the institution and program of study to which an applicant is applying

  • Child dependents are not eligible to apply
  • Cadets/current ROTC participants with a future service commitment are not eligible to apply
  • Although we greatly appreciate the critical service rendered by members of the U.S. Public Health Service, First Responders (to include Law Enforcement personnel), and the Intelligence Community, members of those services who are not military veterans, service members, or spouses of military veterans/service members are not eligible to apply to be Tillman Scholars
  • Scholarships are awarded for the upcoming fall/spring academic year, not the current academic year. Scholarships are not retroactive for completed courses.

Strong applicants for this military scholarship 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.

For additional eligibility information please watch this short video.

Student Type
  • freshman
  • sophomore
  • junior
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident


  • Current resume
  • Two 400-word essay questions
  • Character recommendation from a third party
    • Please note, this is not a letter of recommendation. This third party will answer specific questions through our application tool.
  • A 250-word biography
  • Completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and a financial worksheet that includes current budget of all expenses and incomes for household, to include all military benefits.
  • Completed Student Aid Report (SAR) generated through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Two photos from military service or with their spouse who is/was in the military
  • Proof of Military Service: most recent DD 214 (Member 4 preferred), Officer Record Brief, Enlistment Record Brief, Basic Individual Record, Personal Data Record, Performance Summary Record, or Report on Individual Personnel, Employee Summary Sheet, Single Unit Retrieval Format
  • Permission for PTF to complete a background check

For tips on applying, check out the PTF Blog for our scholar’s advice on the process.


In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. This decision was just one of many he made over the course of his lifetime to help others and serve a cause greater than his own self-interest.

Following Pat's death in 2004, while serving with the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan, his family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation.

The mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation is to invest in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships; building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.

Service Agreement

Annual funding renewability will be considered for Tillman Scholars based on:

  • Meeting the expected graduation date
  • Proof of full-time student status and a minimum 3.0 GPA earned
  • Engagement with the Tillman Scholar community
  • 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.

Contact Information

Questions about applying to be a Tillman Scholar: appsupport@pattillmanfoundation.zendesk.com