For students who wish to attend college and serve in the military, ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) scholarship programs are a great financial aid opportunity.
These programs were created to train students while they complete their education. Students are given financial aid with their promise that they will serve in the armed forces after they graduate. Scholarships cover tuition, books, and fees. You will also receive a $200 stipend. However, they do not cover room and board. The length of the scholarship depends on when you apply. If you apply while you are in high school, you are eligible to receive up to four years of scholarship money. You can also apply while you are already in college and receive a two- or three-year scholarship.
When students have questions about ROTC programs, they are usually about the requirements and commitments to the armed forces. First, if you do not receive a scholarship but are still in an ROTC program, you are in no way obligated to join the military after you graduate. If you do receive a scholarship, you are obligated. However, there is an exception. If you have received a four-year scholarship, you can back out of the commitment before the first semester of your sophomore year. This is known as the ‘freshman trial period.’ Second, you will not be called into active duty while you are in school. It is not the goal of the armed forces to send untrained people into combat. Third, there is the matter of flunking out. If you flunk out of college, it is up to the specific branch to decide your options. There are three possible scenarios. You will either be given another chance, immediately enlist in military, or you will have to pay the money back.
Each branch of the military has a specific ROTC program. If you choose to participate in the Army ROTC program, you can pick up to three schools that you wish to attend.
The Army will give you need based on each school. However, they have the final say on which school you attend. The minimum requirements for the program are an SAT score of 920 or an ACT score of 19. Once you graduate, you can fulfill your commitment by joining the Army full-time or part-time. Part-time options include the Army National Guard or Army Reserve.
Navy ROTC programs are the most flexible when it comes to choosing a school. You can choose from 67 universities from around the country. You can also pick about any major you choose. The only requirements are that you take 1 year of calculus and 1 year of calculus-based physics. To qualify for the Navy program, you need a math score of 520 and a verbal score of 530 on your SAT exam. Or, you can qualify with a 22 on your ACT exam.
For the Marine Corps, you need a score of 1000 on the SATs or a combined ACT score of 45. Once you graduate, you can choose full-time duty or serve in the Naval Reserve or the Marine Corps Reserve.
Air Force ROTC programs allow you to choose any school and any major as long as both are approved and are involved in the Air Force program. Minimum requirements are SAT scores of 520 for math and 530 for verbal or a 24 on the ACT.
Check with your local branch office for more information.