Tillman Scholars Program

Air National Guard: Federal Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

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Pat Tillman, in response to the attacks of September 11th, left a distinguished NFL career to serve as a U.S. Army Ranger with 75th Ranger Regiment in Iraq and then Afghanistan, where he was killed in 2004. The Pat Tillman Foundation was established by friends and Family to honor Pat's legacy and his commitment to service, learning and action.

The Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF) invests in military Veterans and Spouses through academic scholarships- building a diverse group of leaders who are committed to service to others. Founded Picture of Pat Tillman in uniformin 2008, the Tillman Scholars (TS) Program supports our nation's active-duty Service members, Veterans and military Spouses. The scholarship covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living stipend, for scholars who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or professional degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution.

Each year, Pat Tillman Foundation selects 60 Tillman Scholars who embody Pat's commitment to service, learning and action. The Scholars who are chosen demonstrate extraordinary academic and leadership potential and a deep desire to create positive change through their work in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education and the arts. The scholarship is not a gift; it is an investment in excellence and potential.

Since its inception, the Tillman Scholars Program has evolved into a world-class community of military Veterans and Spouses. Selection of each year's class is a rigorous, three-month process conducted by regional committees. Overall, Pat Tillman Foundation has invested more than $24 million in academic support since 2008, and has named 871 Tillman Scholars at more than 166 academic institutions nationwide.

Selection as a Tillman Scholar includes much more than financial support. Pat Tillman made his mark as a husband, teammate, Soldier, and brother. He believed we should always strive to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. As part of the Tillman Scholars Program, Scholars benefit from leadership development and a community of mentors to help them reach their fullest potential as leaders, so they too can make their mark on society.


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


Tillman Scholars are chosen based on their:

  • Service: Dedication 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

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 2023 application period is now closed. Applications for the 2024 class will open on November 1, 2023 - February 1, 2024. Join the Tillman Scholar Application Mailing List and receive updates exclusively about the Tillman Scholar application. The application will be available on the Pat Tillman Foundation website.

The following documents will need to be uploaded in a digital file format:

  • Current resume

  • Two, 400-word essays based on prompts provided in the application

  • Financial worksheet

  • Character recommendation from a third party

  • Biography of no more than 250 words

  • 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

  • Institutional financial aid award letter

  • A background check. Download the 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.

Benefit Highlights

Each award amount is determined on an individual basis and is intended to meet each Scholar's unique need. The exact amount will be based on individual financial need and the strength of application in comparison to the overall pool.

In addition to educational scholarships, Tillman Scholars receive the following benefits:

  • Military Scholarship: Assist in funding for academic expenses, including tuition, books and living expenses.

  • Global Community: Join a broad and diverse network of high-performing peers, mentors and industry leaders.

  • Lifelong Leadership Development: Opportunities to advance knowledge, skills and experience.

Tillman Scholars also receive invitations to events like the annual Pat Tillman Leadership Summit in Chicago, entry to Pat’s Run, access to $1,000 mini grants to further their leadership development through training, certifications or events. We are also able to offer access to premier partner events, including SXSW, Inc. 500 / 5000, the Aspen Ideas festival and more. And we highlight your stories, studies and service efforts through our website and social media.

Additional Information

Pat Tillman Foundation Military Scholar Program page:


Tillman Scholars Program on the VA Education resources Website:

Questions about applying to the Tillman Scholars Program? Please contact:

Document Review Date: 27 September 2023