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Two SPEA Students Spearhead Partnership with Pat Tillman Foundation

February 19, 2014
Bloomington, Indiana --

Indiana University has been selected as a Tillman Military Scholars University Partner by the Pat Tillman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers services and support for student veterans and military spouses. Two students from the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs played a key role in the process of earning the designation.

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Military Scholars program supports the nation’s active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in their higher education. As a supplement to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the scholarship covers direct study-related expenses -- including tuition and fees, books and a living stipend -- for scholars who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution.

"I am extremely pleased to see Indiana University selected as part of this prestigious group of Tillman Military Scholars University Partners," said Margaret Baechtold, director of IU Bloomington’s Veterans Support Services office. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our military and veteran students on all IU campuses to compete for designation as a Tillman Military Scholar. We are proud of the work of these students and excited to provide yet another opportunity for their recognition and support."

SPEA graduate students Ian Champ and Hannah Hunt were the first to identify the Tillman Military Scholars program as a way to increase the financial and administrative support available to IU's active military and veteran population. Their work to identify stakeholders on campus and build support for the application resulted in partnerships with IUB's Veteran Support Services, the IU Student Association and Student Veterans of America.

“The partnership will not only help SPEA military veterans, but also veterans across all campuses,” Champ said. “Beyond this, having the application come from SPEA is a testament to the devotion our students have to their community and their country.”

Indiana University is one of four new partners joining the foundation for the 2014-15 academic year, alongside Georgetown University, The Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That brings the total number of partner institutions to 15, including Arizona State University, Columbia University, The George Washington University, Texas A&M University, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Oregon, University of South Florida and University of Washington.

"Partnering with the Pat Tillman Foundation in support of the Tillman Military Scholars program is indicative of Indiana University’s continued strong support of its active-duty students, veterans and military spouses, and is an honor we’re pleased to accept," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "This program will greatly assist those students and their spouses who have dedicated themselves to serving our nation, enable their successful transition from military to civilian life and help move them closer to earning their college degrees."

Selected for their innovative, veteran-specific services and proven culture of support for student veterans and military spouses, partner universities help identify and select qualified candidates on their campus for the Tillman Military Scholars screening process.

Qualified Indiana University students can seek a Tillman Military Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year. The online application remains open until 11:59:59 p.m. EST Thursday, March 6.

The selection process is highly competitive. In 2013, 60 scholars were chosen from a field of more than 5,000 applicants. For the current scholarship cycle, applicants will receive notification of selection results via email no later than May 16. Scholarships will be granted for the 2014-15 academic year and are eligible for renewal.

Since its inception, the Tillman Military Scholars program has grown in both scope and impact, investing over $4.6 million in scholarships for 290 Tillman Military Scholars at 85 academic institutions nationwide. Scholars chosen demonstrate extraordinary academic and leadership potential as well as a deep desire to have a positive impact on our country and communities through their studies in medicine, law, business, government, education and the arts.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was created to honor Tillman, an NFL safety who put his career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve in the U.S. Army in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004.

“I have a great respect for individuals who face adversity and choose to react positively,” Hunt said. “For every scholarship offered on behalf of the PTF or for every resource extended to active and veteran military members, Specialist Tillman’s life is honored and commemorated in the best possible way. The strength of Specialist Tillman’s family and friends is, I believe, an amazing reflection of his own character and abilities.”</p