Scores of incoming college students are unaware that the military is a source of financial aid to the tune of about $1 billion each year. The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) offers generous college scholarships in exchange for a serious commitment. Most of these scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who go directly to college.
Military financial aid is offered to officer candidates in the form of tuition assistance and monthly pay in return for the student’s promise to serve as an officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. While the Army requires 8 years of service (4 years of active duty and 4 years in the reserves), the Navy calls for 4 to 5 years of active duty, and the Air Force requires 4 to 6 years; 10 years of active duty for cadets trained as pilots.
If the student accepts the ROTC scholarship, but later decides the ROTC isn’t for them, the student may forfeit the scholarship after their freshman year. The ROTC will cover its share of the student’s freshman expenses with no further obligation on the student’s part.
Additionally, the ROTC is a leadership training program for college students. ROTC cadets are given training to become officers in the Army, Navy or Air Force while completing their bachelor’s degree. If your student is thinking about joining the U.S. Coast Guard, please keep in mind that they do not offer ROTC leadership training programs while Marine Corps cadets participate in the Navy ROTC.
Scholarship amounts and stipend will differ depending on the school the student attends and the military branch providing the scholarship. However, the student may still apply for and receive additional non-ROTC scholarships for additional financial need.
A student can also join the ROTC leadership training program without receiving an ROTC scholarship. In fact, non-scholarship cadets may be eligible for stipends and cash bonuses, depending on the specific leadership training program and the amount of training they complete.
Basic eligibility requirements in order to earn a ROTC scholarship include the following:
- Must be a U.S. Citizen.
- Must be at least 17 years of age by October of the semester the student is entering college.
- Must not reach 31 years of age by June 30 of the year the student will graduate from college.
- The student must meet physical fitness standards.
- If the student is taking or has taken college courses, he or she must be considered a freshman and have four academic years remaining for a baccalaureate degree upon enrollment.
- The student must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
- If the student has a record of arrest and/or civil conviction they must be able to explain it.
- The student must not have any moral or personal conviction against bearing arms or supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.
- Those applicants advancing to further scholarship consideration are scheduled for a medical examination and a personal interview.
If your student meets these qualifications, they can apply for an ROTC scholarship online and leadership training program at any of the military branch websites or through your local military recruiting office. For more information on the ROTC program visit Today’s Military.
Westface College Planning can help you navigate the college planning process from start to finish. To learn how we can help you call us at 650-587-1559 or sign up for one of our Tackling the Runaway Costs of College Workshops or Webinars.
Photo Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery