Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships

Military service members may be eligible for an ROTC scholarship based on their merit and college enrollment status. ROTC scholarships are offered to service members in various branches of U.S. military.

Because of this, each scholarship may require a different application process. To receive financial aid for attending participating secondary and post-secondary institutions, military service members must understand the requirements for the scholarship and when to apply.

The following sections detail the types of ROTC scholarships available throughout the country and eligibility criteria that service members must meet before receiving funds. For instance, an army ROTC scholarship is offered to service members at over 1,000 colleges nationwide. Since scholarships can make a great difference when applying for financial aid, military service members should be familiar with the possible benefits that the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) funds may provide them. Once accepted, certain qualifying regulations may still apply to recipients of the scholarship. The sections below explain everything military service members need to know to receive and maintain their scholarship.

Types of ROTC Scholarships

An ROTC scholarship is a type of financial aid offered to certain members of the U.S. military. The types of ROTC scholarships available are as follows:

  • Army ROTC scholarship. This scholarship is reserved for students and enlisted soldiers and grants them scholarship funds and stipends.
  • Navy ROTC scholarship. Navy service members may receive full tuition at listed colleges or universities, money to cover book costs, a subsistence allowance and summer cruises.
  • Air force ROTC scholarship. This scholarship covers tuition and lab fees as well as annual textbook costs and up to $500 of monthly expenses.
  • Navy ROTC Marine option scholarship. Service members with this scholarship can attend approved colleges with full freedoms but must participate in the Marine Corps during the summers.

Related Article: SMART Scholarships for Service

Four-year and partial scholarships are offered to service members depending on their merit and degree program. Additionally, some service members may qualify for free room and board rather than tuition. Usually, the monthly living expenses allotted to military service members increases as they progress through their degree programs. An estimated monthly living allowance for each scholarship type is provided below:

  • Army ROTC. Recipients can expect to receive $300 the first year, $350 the second, $450 the third and $500 the fourth.
  • Navy ROTC. Recipients can expect to receive $250 the first year, $300 the second, $350 the third and $400 the fourth.
  • Air force ROTC. Recipients can expect to receive up to $500 for each year.

The ROTC scholarship requirements may affect service members’ ability to receive these monthly stipends.

ROTC Scholarship Requirements

Rather than financial need, an ROTC scholarship is awarded to qualifying service members based on merit and the degree that they are pursuing or intending to pursue. The eligibility criteria service members must meet for the air force and army ROTC scholarship may include the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be enrolled in or accepted to a school with an ROTC curriculum (e.g., military science departments)
  • Meet GPA requirements of 2.5 or above (for the army); meet GPA requirements of 3.0 or above (for the air force)
  • Become a contracted army cadet (for the army)
  • Be between the ages of 17 and 26 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Score at least a 1000 on SAT or a 19 on ACT (for the army); score at least a 1240 on SAT or a 26 on ACT (for the air force)
  • Pass physical evaluation
  • Be a full-time student
  • Accept a commission and service in the army on active duty or in a reserve component (for the army)

The Air Force ROTC scholarship has additional eligibility requirements that pertain to service members after they receive scholarship benefits. Beneficiaries must agree to do the following to receive the scholarship:

  • Enroll in the major for which the scholarship is offered.
  • Enroll in the Air Force ROTC at the start of the following term.
  • Complete general military course (GMC) for the air force and the professional officer course (POC).
  • Accept commission as an air force officer and serve at least four years on active duty.

For the Navy ROTC, service members must enroll in an appropriate academic major in engineering, math, science, foreign language and other majors, but service members in engineering programs of navy interest get priority. Students with 30 or more semester hours or 45 or more quarter hours of college credit when applying will not be eligible for four-year scholarships. A list of the eligibility criteria specific to the Navy ROTC is available below:

  • Be a citizen of the U.S
  • Be between the ages of 17 and 23 years old
  • Graduate by the age of 26 years old
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be physically fit according to Navy or Marine Corps standards

By the ROTC scholarship deadline (Dec. 31 or Jan. 31), service members must have applied and submitted all documents proving their age, identity and enrollment status.

Note: Scholarship benefits may be revoked if service members’ withdrawal from institutions, fail or repeat a course or require longer than four years to complete their degree program. Additionally, service members may only apply to one type of scholarship per academic year.

How to Get an ROTC Scholarship

To apply for an ROTC scholarship, military service members must request an application packet online or by phone. The application process for each type of ROTC scholarship is outlined below:

  • Army ROTC. Create a MY GOARMY account, login to the scholarship application site and complete the application form as directed. Applicants may also call 1-888-550-2769 for more information.
  • Air force ROTC. Submit an online application via the U.S. Air Force ROTC site, including your extracurricular activity sheet, physical fitness test and SAT or ACT scores. You should also submit your GPA. For more information, contact the air force at 1-866-423-7682.
  • Navy ROTC. Apply online via the Naval Reserve Officers Training (NROTC) official website. For more information, call 1-800-628-7682.

Most applicants may begin applying during their junior year of high school, but some application deadlines may prohibit service members from applying too early in the academic year. There are also other financial aid options such as Direct Subsidized Loans, available to military service members.

Related Article: Direct Unsubsidized Loans

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