Scholarship for caregivers of wounded warriors

Marli Jakubisin, a recipient of last year’s Pillars of Strength Scholarship, cares for her injured Marine husband. She hopes a degree from the University of Maryland University College will help her land a job to support her family. (Photos Courtesy of University of Maryland University College)

Marli Jakubisin, the spouse of a Marine, has been caring for her injured husband for more than four years.

He was injured by an IED in Afghanistan, which resulted in an amputation, broken bones, burns and lung trauma. He was also diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jakubisin’s husband spent three years in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda recovering from his injuries. She was the sole support system for him and their family.

Eventually, after her husband returned to their home in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., Jakubisin had to quit her job and dropped out of Ohio State University to care for him full time.

Last year, Jakubisin was a recipient of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship, which is supported, managed and awarded by the University of Maryland University College, the Blewitt Foundation and the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Dedicated Service

The scholarship “honors the exceptional sacrifices of the family and non-family volunteer caregivers of the nation’s injured service members,” according to the UMUC website.

“UMUC is proud to be part of this program and provide an opportunity for caregivers to achieve their educational goals,” said Javier Miyares, UMUC president. “They have made a tremendous commitment to our injured service members, and we are honored to make this commitment to them.”

The fund was established in 2013 by the three institutions to serve military members and assist caregivers in achieving their educational goals because their commitment often causes them to delay their personal pursuits, according to the UMUC website.

UMUC, part of the University System of Maryland, has been providing higher education opportunities to service members, veterans and their families since its founding in 1947.

Today, the university’s student body includes more than 50,000 service members, veterans and military family members.

The Blewitt Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to military families experiencing severe injuries.

“We have found a significant way to both recognize and serve a group that is so critical to the aid and recovery of our injured warriors,” said Rich Blewitt, president of The Blewitt Foundation. “The lifetime benefit of a college degree can be great, and it’s the least we can do for all those who sacrifice so much.”

Terri Jo Yarnell, wife of a Soldier who was injured in Baghdad a decade ago, was awarded the Pillars of Strength Scholarship last year. She plans to use her degree from the University of Maryland University College to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Photo Courtesy of University of Maryland University College)

Educational Goals

The Yellow Ribbon Fund is a nonprofit organization serving injured service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.

Up to five full scholarships will be awarded for the 2017-2018 academic year to volunteer caregivers of recovering service members. The volunteer must enroll or be enrolled in a degree or certificate program in UMUC’s undergraduate or graduate school.

The scholarship covers tuition and fees. The application deadline is March 15.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must be serving or has served as a volunteer caregiver (DoD non-medical attendant, spouse, parent, step-parent, sibling, step-sibling, fiancee) of a service member or veteran with a disabling wound, injury or illness, which occurred while on active duty.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Fund will verify the volunteer caregiver status based on information submitted in the application.
  • Applicant must have received a high school diploma or General Education Development diploma.
  • Applicant must demonstrate financial need as determined by the UMUC Financial Aid Office, based upon information supplied on the completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.
  • Applicant must be currently enrolled, or will enroll if selected, in a degree or certificate program at UMUC, with a minimum of six credit hours for undergraduate students and three credit hours for graduate students during the fall, spring and summer terms.
  • Applicant must agree to participate in activities to help promote the Pillars of Strength scholarship program.

Application Process:

Apply online.

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