Jacob Beckham, a North Idaho College student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said it was pure faith that brought him and his family to Idaho after five years in the Marines and 10 years as a banker.
“I’d never been to Idaho. I didn’t know anyone,” Beckham said. “But, long story short, here we are.”
It was exactly that kind of faith that led to him being only the second NIC student ever selected to the national Posse Foundation veterans scholarship program. Beckham had never heard of the program before NIC veterans counselor Kecia Seigel and work study Connor Haas briefed him on the opportunity. The Posse Foundation is a nonprofit that, in addition to its traditional scholarships, offers a special program to veterans to promote college access and leadership development. The foundation covers the cost of tuition at partner colleges and universities across the nation. Each college supports a cohort of about 10 Posse scholars who attend the respective college together.
“The idea is to send a group together so that they can support each other,” Beckham said. “After the initial nomination, it’s up to the applicant to do all the work.”
Beckham would interview twice in Tacoma, Washington, then fly to New York City for the third round of intense interviews. There were more than 17,000 applicants nationwide with only about 700 being selected. Of those recipients, only 40 were veterans with the rest coming out of high schools.
“This is a huge honor and fantastic opportunity,” said Greg Eaton, NIC Veterans and Military Family services advisor. “Jacob worked extremely hard and took a big chance, traveling to New York on his own dime, but it has paid off in a big way. He’s earned this.”
Beckham plans to attend the University of Virginia next fall, where he will study secondary education. With out-of-state tuition at UVA costing upwards of $45,000 per year, the Posse scholarship will cover whatever his GI Bill does not.
Former NIC student and US Army veteran Timea Taylor is currently attending Wesleyan University on a Posse scholarship.
“The program also includes individual mentoring, career development and access to a broad network of professionals who can help them transition from college to the workforce that includes companies such as Google, Goldman Sachs, Disney, Reebok, and others,” Eaton said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity and we’re very proud of Jacob.”