University of Maryland University College is offering up to five scholarships—which include full tuition, fees, and course-required resources—for volunteer caregivers of recovering servicemembers and veterans through the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program. This scholarship aims to honor the unparalleled selflessness and extraordinary commitment of these caregivers.
The application deadline for the 2018–2019 academic year is March 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.
The program is managed by UMUC and The Blewitt Foundation in association with the National Military Family Association.
To be eligible for the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program, you must have served or be serving as a volunteer caregiver of a military servicemember or veteran with a disabling wound, injury, or illness that occurred while on active duty after 9/11. Examples of volunteer caregivers may include a spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, stepsibling, fiancé, child, stepchild, or friend of a recovering servicemember or veteran who serves or has served as a volunteer caregiver (e.g. U.S. Department of Defense nonmedical attendant) to that servicemember or veteran.
A scholarship review committee—comprised of members of UMUC, The Blewitt Foundation, and the National Military Family Association—will verify each applicant’s volunteer caregiver status based on the supporting materials required as part of the application process.
In addition, you must
- Have received a high school diploma or GED
- Be currently enrolled or plan to enroll, if selected, in a degree or certificate program at UMUC with a minimum of 6 credits per term for undergraduate students or 3 credits per term for graduate students during the fall and spring terms; winter and summer term registration is optional, although the scholarship covers courses taken in those terms
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before the scholarship application deadline; UMUC's school code is 011644
- Demonstrate financial need as determined by the UMUC Office of Financial Aid based on information supplied on the completed FAFSA; applicants with loans in default will not be considered for the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program
- Agree to participate in activities to help promote the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program; activities may include a photo shoot, attendance at an event, and the creation of a video documenting scholarship recipients
How to Apply
Step 1: Submit the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program application by March 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. After submitting the form, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your application ID.
Step 2: Complete the FAFSA by March 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. if you have not already done so. UMUC's school code is 011644.
Step 3: E-mail your supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Include your application ID (which you will receive after submitting the form in Step 1) in your e-mail.
You will need to submit
- One document containing short essay responses to all five of the following prompts:
- Describe the circumstances and challenges of your volunteer caregiver role and the condition of the recovering servicemember or veteran you care for. (200 words max)
- Describe your personal, academic, and career achievements to date. (200 words max)
- Describe your extracurricular interests and pursuits and any of your volunteer or community activities. (200 words max)
- Describe what you hope to achieve with this scholarship. How will it help you achieve your goals? How will it help you and your family overcome challenges? (300 words max)
- How will you represent UMUC, The Blewitt Foundation, and the National Military Family Association as an alumnus of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program? (100 words max)
- A signed letter of reference from someone familiar with your circumstances and qualifications; the letter should not be from a family member
- Documentation of your volunteer caregiver role including the condition of the recovering servicemember or veteran who you assist; examples of documentation include
- Nonmedical attendant orders
- A letter from a nurse case manager
- A letter from a military commander verifying the servicemember or veteran's need for a caregiver
- A letter from a VA Caregiver Support Program case manager
- Proof of enrollment in the VA Caregiver Support Program, such as a pay stub from the past 60 days or an enrollment letter