The ROTC provides a unique opportunity for students that are interested in serving their country as well as completing a four-year college degree. Cadets are not only eligible for generous scholarship opportunities but are guaranteed a job in the military after graduation.
Students that attend college through ROTC programs learn the leadership and team-building skills necessary to conduct missions and take command as officers in their respective military branches.
Cadets may also be eligible for money for books and a monthly non-taxed stipend. They can put this money toward room, board, pizza, travel home, whatever. Contracted freshmen in ROTC can receive $300 per month; sophomores, $350; juniors, $450; and seniors, $500.
No matter which branch of the military your teen chooses, ROTC classes include officership, leadership, military history, organization and tactics. ROTC cadets are often required to wear uniforms on ROTC class days, although that’s up to each detachment to decide. Cadets receive college credit for their ROTC classes.
They’ll also have to pass regular physical fitness exams and train with peers in “PT” sessions. After commissioning is when they decide on a career field and begin training for specific jobs.
After commissioning, graduates are known as second lieutenants or “2nd Lt.” in the Air Force, Army or Marine Corps. In the Navy, the rank is “ensign.” Below are the details on what your family can expect from each of the ROTC branches.
Not sure if the ROTC is right for you? Students can enroll in the ROTC Basic Course for the first two years of college to discern whether or not ROTC is the right path. However, the ROTC Basic Course does not come with a scholarship. If at the end of those two years, students decide that they want to continue with ROTC and serve in a military branch after graduation, a scholarship may be available.
- Scholarship requirements: Apply junior year or by fall of senior year. Deadline is Nov. 15. Scholarship applicants ranked on several factors, including SAT scores, extracurricular activities, grades and athletics. Online application available.
- Scholarship details: Up to $17,000 a year toward tuition plus monthly non-taxed stipend. Students also may be eligible for aid from the college to cover room and board.
- Post-graduation commitment: Eight years (four years active duty, four years Reserves; or eight years in the Reserves) Points of interest: Leadership lab includes classes in land navigation, first aid and weapons training and is available at 270 campuses.
- Scholarship requirements: Apply as a high school senior. Deadline is approximately Dec. 1. Online application available. A board determines scholarship winners based on personal interview and answers to an online application. Students must pass Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) and medical exam.
- Scholarship details: From $9,000 to full tuition; plus a stipend for books, living and travel expenses.
- Post-graduation commitment: Minimum four years of active duty.
- Points of interest: In-college scholarships available for students who did not receive a scholarship freshman year. Express Scholarships available for fully qualified students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and for students majoring in critically needed areas, such as computer and electrical engineering and meteorology.
- Scholarship requirements: Four-year scholarship deadline is Jan. 1. To be eligible, must meet academic and physical standards of the Navy and Marine Corps.
- Scholarship details: Scholarship covers full tuition at any college with an NROTC unit, school fees and textbooks plus monthly non-taxed stipend. Choose from one of three scholarships: Navy, Marine Corps or nursing.
- Post-graduation commitment: Eight years; at least four years of active duty.
- Points of interest: NROTC class covers topics such as naval orientation, history, navigation, ship engineering systems and leadership and ship weapons systems. If you’re on scholarship, you could cruise during the summers on surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers.