Not every one in ROTC is going to school for free. There, I said it. Many people think that all Cadets are going to school for free, and that is not the case. As budgets tighten more and more cadets will be enrolled, and may not be contracted until their Junior year. So, why in the world would someone participate in ROTC in college and contract without a full ride scholarship?
Here are some of the motivations and benefits that go beyond the free college education some cadets receive.
- You’ll still get paid something
- SMP/GRFD option
- pride/family tradition
- Good paying job when you graduate
- The challenge of doing something hard
- You share the same values that the Army espouses (loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage)
Cadet Command did a smart thing a couple years ago. Since West Point graduates and ROTC graduates are at the exact same place when they graduate (brand new Second Lieutenants with a college degree) they decided to offer the same deal to ROTC scholarship winners that West Pointers get. Unlike some of the other service’s ROTC’s, all of our scholarship pay all tuition and fees (or room and board if it’s more). No tier 2 or partial scholarships for non technical majors. Just like in the old days when they decided that enlisted soldiers didn’t fall out of the sky any faster or slower and they deserved the same amount of jump pay. Back when I was a Cadet, Officers actually got paid more to be on jump status.
But I digress. For all the applicants who don’t get scholarships, and the students who come to school next fall without a good understanding of what ROTC has to offer, and what being an Army Officer is all about, I would welcome you to consider the other benefits and think about giving it a try.