You will need to submit all of the following:
- One document containing short essay responses to all of this year's scholarship essay prompts
- One signed letter of reference from someone familiar with your circumstances and qualifications; the letter should not be from a family member
- Documentation of your caregiver role including the condition of the recovering servicemember or veteran you assist
2022/2023 Essay Prompts
- Describe the circumstances and challenges of your caregiver role and the condition of the recovering servicemember or veteran you care for
- 200-word minimum required
- Describe your personal, academic, and career achievements to date.
- 200-word minimum required
- Describe your extracurricular interests and pursuits and any of your volunteer or community activities.
- 200-word minimum required
- 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-word minimum required
- How will you represent UMGC, The Blewitt Foundation, and the National Military Family Association as an alumnus of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program?
- 100-word minimum required
Caregiver Documentation Examples
Examples of documentation include, but are not limited to
- DD Form 214 (with a notation for a Purple Heart award)
- VA Rating Decision Letter
- Line of Duty (LOD) Determination
- Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)/Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Narrative Summary
- Enlisted Record Brief (ERB) or Officer Record Brief (ORB)
- DoD Nonmedical Attendant Orders
- Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Orders
- A letter from a nurse case manager or physician
- A letter from a military commander verifying the servicemember or veteran's need for a caregiver
- VA Caregiver Letter or Certificate
- Proof of enrollment in the VA Caregiver Support Program, such as a pay stub from the past 60 days or an enrollment letter
- Proof of membership in the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Network (MVCN), the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes Program, Wounded Warrior Project, Easter Seals Military Caregiver Program, or similar organizations
Once you submit the scholarship application and email your supporting materials, your complete application package will be reviewed by a committee at UMGC. The review committee will assess your application based on:
- Whether you fulfill the eligibility requirements
- Your individual circumstances
- The strength of your application
- Your FAFSA eligibility (Applicants with Title IV student loans in default cannot be considered for the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program)
All applicants will be notified—whether they receive the scholarship or not—by May 31, 2023. If you are not selected to receive the scholarship for the 2022–2023 academic year, you may apply for the scholarship again next year.
NSPA 2018 Scholarship Provider of the Year
In 2018, the National Scholarship Providers Association honored UMGC with the Scholarship Provider of the Year Award. The NSPA highlighted the impact of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program during their conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This prestigious award, sponsored by Fastweb for more than 20 years, recognizes organizations and universities who demonstrate exceptional leadership, achievement, and innovation through scholarship programs.
FAQs: Terms & Conditions
If you are selected to receive the scholarship, you will not need to resubmit the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Program application each year to continue receiving your award. To renew your award, you will need to:
- Complete the FAFSA each year before the fall federal FAFSA deadline
- Register for at least 6 credits each term if you're an undergraduate student or at least 3 credits each term if you're a graduate student in the fall and spring terms
- Winter and summer term registration is not required to maintain your eligibility, although the scholarship covers courses taken in those terms
- Remain in good academic standing by meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement
- For undergraduate students, the scholarship may be renewable for up to seven years.
- For graduate students, the scholarship may be renewable for up to five years.
- Undergraduate recipients with less than 30 transfer credits at the time of the award may request an extension from the Pillars of Strength scholarship committee if needed.
- This scholarship is only applicable to students enrolled in a UMGC degree or certificate program.
- Students may not be enrolled in an institution of higher education other than UMGC while receiving a Pillars of Strength Scholarship.
- Undergraduate students may pursue an undergraduate certificate, associate, and bachelor's at the same time.
- The undergraduate certificate and associate degree must be declared prior to completing the requirements for the bachelor's degree.
- Students may not apply for the undergraduate certificate or associate after receiving the bachelor's degree.
- Graduate students may pursue a graduate certificate while pursing a master's degree.
- The graduate certificate must be declared prior to completing the requirements for the master's degree.
- Students may not apply for the graduate certificate after receiving the master's degree.
- You may not change your degree program after completing 50 percent of the required courses in that program.
- All program changes must be approved in advance by the scholarship administrator.
- Additional program restrictions may apply.
You will not be eligible for scholarship funds if you do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements each semester. You must also complete the FAFSA each year before the fall FAFSA deadline. Also, you must register for at least 6 credits each term if you're an undergraduate student or at least 3 credits each term if you're a graduate student in the fall and spring terms; winter and summer term registration is not required to maintain your eligibility, although the scholarship covers courses taken in those terms. You will be required to pay for courses on your own until you are able to meet those requirements.
Exceptions to these enrollment requirements need to be approved in advance and will be considered on a case‐by‐case basis due to extenuating circumstances related to military service, caregiver requirements, or other approved hardship issues. Recipients should contact the scholarship administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an exception.
You will not be eligible for additional scholarship funding if you complete your degree program. Undergraduate recipients will need to submit a new scholarship application if they want to pursue a graduate degree program.
UMGC reserves the right to make reductions or cancellations to your scholarship award if you
- Become ineligible for financial aid due to a default status on your Title IV funds
- Are receiving more than one UMGC donor scholarship that exceeds institutional award maximums as determined by the UMGC Office of Financial Aid
- Are receiving another tuition-restricted scholarship
- Are receiving additional financial aid that exceeds your financial aid eligibility when coupled with this scholarship
- Withdraw or fail to complete the required course enrollment for the term
- Are deemed ineligible for funding based on unsatisfactory academic performance or financial aid standing
- Are academically dismissed or administratively withdrawn from UMGC
Failure to drop or withdraw from a course resulting in a grade of "FN" may lead to forfeiture of the scholarship unless an exception request is approved.