We are a little less than two weeks out from contracting this years crop of incoming Army ROTC scholarship winners, and other cadets that are qualified and ready to contract. Many of the most frequently asked questions pertain to what the commitment is, what the obligations are, and what the benefits are. All of this is spelled out in the contract and I’m going to share it with you today, so you can read it, and take it to your lawyer if you want. Many people who consider the military hear the advice “get everything in writing”. There aren’t a lot of “moving parts” in the Army ROTC contract. It’s pretty simple and straight forward.
I’m going to briefly break it down, and I’ll talk about the Scholarship agreement, but the non scholarship agreement is essentially the same, minus the “all tuition and fees” part and the change in obligation.
The contract is an agreement between the student/cadet and the Army, through the Professor of Military Science. The Army agrees to do a couple things
- Pay all tuition and fees, stipend, and book money (you’ll notice that this is the only thing that is typed into the contract, because these values may change and have had caps in the past)
- Provide you training to be an officer, to include Summer Camp (Warrior Forge)
- Commission you into the Army (active force, National Guard, or Reserves) when you graduate
Notice that there is no promise of a specific job, or any variation in the length of service. Unlike an enlisted contract you aren’t joining for a specific job, enlistment length, or bonus. Pretty straight forward.
The student/cadet is agreeing to the following
- Enroll in ROTC
- Maintain academic, physical, and medical standards
- Accept a commission into the Army upon graduation
- Keep the PMS informed if anything changes
Again, pretty straight forward. There are clauses that talk about how the tuition and fees may be paid, what happens if a unit isn’t available for a graduate who has been assigned to the Guard or Reserves, and the opportunity to go on a leave of absence if difficulties are encountered during school. It also outlines what happens if the student doesn’t fulfill the contract (pay back the scholarship or serve).
Thousands of people sign this contract each year. The only people who run into difficulty are the ones who try to out think a very simple agreement. If you are looking for hidden tricks or think the Army is out to bamboozle you all you have to do is read the contract. We don’t want to have a leader of America’s sons and daughters who has been tricked into assuming so much responsibility.
If you are considering this path, and are lucky enough to have a scholarship offer make sure you understand what are agreeing too, and what has or has not been promised to you. If you’ve got problems with serving as an Officer consider another path.
Hope this helps some people understand the mechanics of the path to Officership that is Army ROTC. It’s a great opportunity for the right person.