For many high school students looking to both serve their country and gain a college education, the armed forces offer a variety of scholarships through their ROTC programs.
Here are the qualifications for many of those ROTC scholarships, divided by branch and requirements, including the minimum scores required for the SAT and ACT, which is useful for ROTC test prep.
ROTC Scholarship Qualifications
|Army Four-Year Scholarship||
||January 10th of your high school senior year|
|Army Three-Year Scholarship||
||Not publicly published|
|Army Two-Year Scholarship||
||Not publicly published|
|Navy & Marine Corp Four-Year Scholarship||
||Deadline at the end of January for school year you are applying for.|
|Navy & Marine Corp Two/Three-Year Scholarship||
||Deadline at end of January for school year you are applying for.|
|Air Force Type 1||
||December 1st on an annual basis|
|Air Force Type 2||3-4 years covering textbook stipends, fee coverage, and tuition with $18,000 yearly cap awarded to students at participating schools||
||December 1st on an annual basis|
|Air Force Type 7||3-4 years of textbook stipends and tuition awards capped at your school’s in-state rate offered to students attending participating schools.||
||December 1st on annual basis|
ROTC Background And Purpose
For those unfamiliar with it, the ROTC exchanges college education costs for both training and mandatory service in one of the United States’ armed services.
The modern system’s origins trace back to the National Defense Act of 1916. This legislation brought civilian-oriented military training under one federal government entity, the ‘Reserve Officers’ Training Corp’. However, ROTC-like programs can be traced all the way back to 1862 with the passage of the Morrill Act.
This law established the creation of various land-grant colleges which, in turn, became many of today’s public universities. Part of the federal government’s requirements for these colleges was to include teaching military tactics to students. This requirement formed the basis for the first ROTC-like programs in the country.
There were other developments along the way and again many schools offered programs designed to train ordinary citizens into competent reserve officers, ready to be called upon in time of war. The main purpose of modern ROTC programs is still to train primarily high school and college students for future military service.
Many high schools offer JROTC programs which help prepare kids for the college-level counterparts. These college-based programs are normally divided amongst the various branches and have their own unique requirements, especially when it comes to qualifying for scholarships.
It’s important to note that the U.S. Coast Guard does not have its own program and that the Marine Corps is basically grouped together with the Navy, given their shared history together.
SAT/ACT Requirements For ROTC Scholarships
Because there are different programs out there, divided amongst the various branches, it’s important to know what the different requirements are, especially when it comes to ROTC test prep.
Army – Of the three major programs, the Army ROTC requirements could be seen as the “easiest”. Why? Because for a student trying to qualify for a scholarship, they only need to score a minimum of 1000 points on the SAT and a 19 on the ACT. However, don’t forget that besides the score requirements are various other hurdles to cross.
These hurdles include the age requirement, physical fitness testing, and minimum cumulative GPA. Furthermore, students are required to spend a minimum of 4 years in Army service, with a maximum of 8 if they qualify for the full Four-Year Scholarship. Keep those facts in mind when considering the application.
Navy & Marine Corps – Because this program essentially covers two branches simultaneously, there are a variety of different prerequisites to meet depending on what you are applying for under which branch. In terms of test scores, both have slightly higher bars to meet than the Army program.
While the Marine Corps scholarships still require a minimum combined score of 1000 on the SAT, the ACT requirement is slightly higher at 22 points. For the Navy and nursing scholarship requirements both the SAT and ACT scores are slightly higher still. In addition, certain approved majors must be selected, semester hours must already be accrued, and other prerequisites exist at the various scholarship term levels that don’t within the Army program.
In short, if you’re looking for a Navy or Marine Corp scholarship, it’s possible but even more work on your part is required. Keep that in mind when considering where you want to apply.
Air Force – Of the three major programs, the Air Force ROTC scholarships may be the most stringent overall to get for college students. First, the minimum score requirements for both the SAT and ACT are the highest at 1240 and 26 respectively. Furthermore, the minimum cumulative GPA requirement is higher and students must agree to additional levels of military training courses than their counterparts.
While the requirements are definitely the highest out of all three service branches, the benefits certainly commiserate with the rest, especially when it comes to having full college tuition paid for by the government.
All in all, if you or your child is looking to both gain a valuable education while showing a commitment to serve their country like those before them, then it doesn’t hurt to try and qualify for ROTC scholarships. While there are many other finer points that recruiters can go over in detail, this article should at least give you a broad idea of what it takes to initially qualify and how you can benefit if selected.
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ROTC Scholarships FAQ
What does ROTC stand for?
The modern system’s origins trace back to the National Defense Act of 1916. This legislation brought civilian-oriented military training under one federal government entity, the ‘Reserve Officers’ Training Corps’.
Why does ROTC exist?
The main purpose of modern ROTC programs is still to train primarily high school and college students for future military service.
Which ROTC scholarships are the hardest to get?
Of the three major programs, the Air Force ROTC scholarships may be the most stringent overall to get for college students.
How did ROTC programs start?
ROTC-like programs can be traced all the way back to 1862 with the passage of the Morrill Act. This law established the creation of various land-grant colleges which, in turn, became many of today’s public universities. Part of the federal government’s requirements for these colleges was to include teaching military tactics to students.