Archive for veteran

Yellow Ribbon Reminder

SIPA participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.   This is just a reminder that the application goes live on Friday, June 15th at 1:00 p.m. EDT  (tomorrow).  Consideration is based on a first-come, first-served basis.  The application will be available at:  

For details about the Yellow Ribbon Program, visit The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website.  If you have questions about your eligibility level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, please contact the VA at or 1-888-442-4551. 


Yellow Ribbon Reminder

This is just a reminder that the Yellow Ribbon application online interest form goes live tomorrow. Remember that consideration is based on a first-come, first-served basis so if you qualify it is very important that you submit your information as soon as possible after the link goes live.

The date and link to the location are below.  If you have questions about whether you are eligible, please visit this blog entry that was posted on May 20th for details.

Date and Time:  Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 1:00 P.M. EST



Pat Tillman Foundation – Tillman Military Scholars Scholarship Information

Columbia University has been selected by the Pat Tillman Foundation as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner for the 2011-2012 academic year.

University Partners are chosen to solicit and submit candidates for receipt of the Tillman Military Scholarship through the Pat Tillman Foundation.  This prestigious and selective partnership will enable Columbia University’s student veterans and their eligible dependents to apply for this scholarship.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was created in honor of professional football player and military hero Pat Tillman. Tillman played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals from 1998 to 2001 and enlisted in the United States Army in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.  Tillman died in Afghanistan as a result of friendly fire in 2004.  The mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation is “to invest in veterans and their families through education and community”.

As such, this scholarship not only helps student veterans cover the direct costs of tuition and fees but it also acts as a critical resource for other expenses including housing and child care.  In addition to this scholarship, recipients become members of the “Tillman Community” where they have access to a national network of members and are provided other essential resources including leadership, service and advocacy opportunities.

The Foundation chooses University Partners who are proven military-friendly institutions that offer specific support services for service members and their families and have a significant percentage of military enrollments, in addition to other criteria.  Hunter I Riley, Pat Tillman Foundation Director of Programs, recently stated, “By working with partner institutions like Columbia University, who have shown ingenuity in delivering veteran-specific support services, we are able to funnel a ready source of assistance onto a campus which already demonstrates a culture of support for student veterans and military families.”

All applications will be submitted through the Pat Tillman Foundation website and then forwarded to the Columbia University selection committee for review.  The committee will then recommend the highest scoring applicants to the Pat Tillman Foundation as potential recipients of the scholarship.  The final selection will then be made by the Pat Tillman Foundation.

For more information about the application process and to view the application questions now, please visit the Pat Tillman Foundation website  The information is listed under the Tillman Military Scholars tab.  The full application for the 2011/2012 academic year will be available on March 7, 2011.

The application deadline for filing is April 8, 2011.

Morningside Post – MIA in the Army

The following article comes to us courtesy of the SIPA student blog, The Morningside Post.  It was written by Posted by Michelle Chahine on November 22nd, 2010.

Jordan Becker’s time in the MIA program is funded by the U.S. Army – that is, his Masters in International Affairs. He has served in the Army for nine and a half years and could easily do another nine, or many times that.

Becker is a second-year student at SIPA. He spent his first year at Sciences Po in Paris (as part of a dual degree program with Columbia). Throughout his interview, he kept the conversation general, insisting that was for his own personal privacy, not because anything he did was a secret. His missions and jobs are generally public information. Talk to him in person, he’ll tell you almost anything you want to know – just don’t bring your pen along.

Becker weighed each word carefully. He spoke in bullet points. Everything he said was rehearsed in his head. Whatever he said that wasn’t rehearsed was off the record, and tended to be the most fascinating details. And, as he spoke, he had a careful eye on the pen and notepad in front of him.

“I want to be very careful of what image I represent of my profession because I have a lot of respect for the other people here at SIPA and elsewhere who do what I do, and also for my profession’s role in society,” said Becker. “Also because people don’t really have much exposure to people in my profession, so I don’t want to be perceived as representing the whole organization.  I’m only speaking for myself as an individual.” Later in the interview he added, “I think sometimes our activities are inaccurately caricatured.”

Becker is from California. He planned to go to the University of California for free, but he really wanted to go to Georgetown.  “I needed funding, which ROTC provided,” he said. That’s when he signed up for the U.S. Army.

He studied International Relations and was an intercollegiate athlete in his first year at Georgetown. “My life as a student wasn’t affected too much. It was basically like having an extra class or two a week. And I had to cut my hair and shave my beard,” he added.

After graduating from college and doing the Army’s standard initial training, he moved to Italy. He was a platoon leader there until the onset of the Iraq War in 2003, doing combat training. “It was an airborne unit and we mostly trained for airfield seizures and non-combatant evacuation operations.” Usually the scenarios had to do with civil instability.

“Airfield seizure was the first thing we did in Iraq. The first week went pretty much like training – we seized an airfield. Once there was no more traditional war to fight, that’s when it got complicated, and that’s when it got interesting to me. I got to apply what I learned in college and learn a little bit about what it really meant in practice. My academic background helped me to do my job, and it helped me explain our mission to my soldiers.”

Becker went to Iraq without much hesitation. “Privately I questioned it. But my obligation to perform my responsibilities was much more important… my job was to execute foreign policy, not to make it,” he said. “I signed up for the army knowing it was a tool of foreign policy, and that foreign policy is never perfect. I knew I would go forth on decisions made by those higher up.”

Becker left Iraq in February 2004. He then went through a long process of training to transition to another role in the army. He returned to Iraq for eight months in 2007 during the Surge and served as an advisor to an Iraqi organization. After that, he spent the next year doing more training.

In the summer of 2008, Becker went to Mali, as part of small-scale U.S. operations in the Pan-Sahel region. The army helped the Malian government control lawless areas of their country to prevent extremists from using them as a training base. Becker was basically like a consultant during that time. “It is one of the most fun things I have done in the army,” he said. “I was advising people who were a bit senior to me in rank, and they were very talented and dedicated professionals.”

When Becker returned to the U.S. at the end of the summer in 2008, he began to apply for graduate schools. He described his decision to return to school as a simple professional calculation. To him, it was the equivalent of someone in investment management getting an MBA.

But Becker is not your typical second-year SIPA student. While most of the class of 2011 is now worried about finding a job for May, Becker has jobs lined up for the next few years. His next step is a rotating faculty position at West Point. He expects to stay there for two or three years. He will then move on to work as a ‘foreign area officer’ focusing on Europe and transatlantic relations.

To prepare for his new roles, Becker is in the International Security Policy concentration at SIPA and the Europe regional specialization. How does being on the ground relate to the academic theory? “The biggest lesson I have learned as a practitioner has been about the practical limitations of the use of force… You hear about the ‘fog of war,’ or ‘friction.’  You really see the fog of war. I learnt what that looks like and feels like. It’s really there.”

U.S. Armed Forces Funding Opportunity: Yellow Ribbon Program

SIPA is happy to partner with many organizations to try and reduce the expense associated with earning a degree.  We recently signed an agreement that is aimed at assisting veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents.  The name of the new initiative is the Yellow Ribbon Program.

If you are an admitted student and believe you might qualify for funding, pay special attention to the message below from Jeff F. Scott, the Executive Vice President of Student and Administrative Services.  The program is based on a “first-come, first-served” basis so it is extremely important that interested applicants submit the application as soon as possible after it is posted on July 15th.  All of the details are below in the message composed by Mr. Scott.

I am writing to inform you of recent changes in federal legislation that provide expanded financial aid opportunities to current or prospective students who served in the U.S. Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001, as well as the dependents of these veterans.

Through a new initiative authorized by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, higher education institutions can provide eligible student veterans with a tuition waiver or grant that is matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This program, known as the Yellow Ribbon Program, enhances the base tuition benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  More information about the bill’s benefits and eligibility requirements is available at

If you are a qualifying veteran, or the qualifying dependent of a veteran, and you are interested in benefiting from the Yellow Ribbon Program in Fall 2009, you must submit an application at

The application will be available on July 15, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.  As stipulated by the Post 9/11 GI Bill, eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon program is determined on a first-come, first-served basis in each of Columbia’s participating programs.

For more information about Columbia’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, please visit the Veterans page of the Student Financial Services website at or speak with a financial aid officer at your school.


Jeffrey F. Scott
Executive Vice President, Student & Administrative Services

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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