The first time that many ROTC scholarship recipients view ROTC scholarship contracts is when they are on campus and ready to sign in order to receive scholarship benefits. That is probably too late to be fully informed of the obligations set forward by the Armed Services ROTC program.

The purpose of this post is to discuss the particulars of these ROTC scholarship contracts as well as provide to you for reference the actual contract a candidate will sign and commit to so you can be well informed now and confident.

We’ve even included each Services’ ROTC contract at the bottom of this post!

The ROTC contract can be broken down into several areas which include:

  • Description of the scholarship benefit
  • Continued eligibility to receive the scholarship benefit
  • Obligation for withdrawal from the program
  • Service obligation upon completion of the program

We will look at each of these for the Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTC programs.

1. Description of the Specific ROTC Scholarship Benefit

Air Force ROTC

The Air Force pays for tuition and fees based on the scholarship awarded. With a Type 1, the scholarship pays for full tuition and fees. A Type 2 pays tuition and fees up to $18,000 per year. A Type 7 pays in-state tuition and fees for four years or can be converted to a three-year scholarship starting in the second year which pays up to $18,000 a year towards tuition and fees.

The scholarship also pays a book allowance and a month subsistence allowance as well as training pay and travel costs and uniforms.

Army ROTC

The Army pays for tuition and fees based on the scholarship awarded. A four-year scholarship pays for full tuition and fees at any public or private university. The three-year Advanced Designee scholarship pays full tuition and fees starting after the first academic year.

The scholarship also pays a book allowance and a month subsistence allowance as well as training pay and travel costs and uniforms.

Navy ROTC

The scholarship pays for full tuition and fees at any public or private university, a book allowance, a monthly subsistence allowance, training pay, and travel costs, and uniforms.

Specifically, the scholarship will not pay for fees for aviation or flight training courses, extra fees charged for elective courses, courses that are repeated because of failure or grade replacement, and medical or dental insurance.

2. Continued Eligibility – How to Keep Your ROTC Scholarship

Air Force ROTC

  • Continue to pursue the degree indicated on the contract at the institution indicated
  • Meeting military, academic and medical retention standards
  • Maintain a C- or the institutional equivalent in each course

Army ROTC

  • Remain a full-time student
  • Maintain a minimum of a cumulative 2.0-grade point average
  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative and semester/quarte grade point average in all ROTC courses
  • Maintain and meet physical standards as well as submit to random drug testing

Navy ROTC

  • Remain a full-time student
  • Continue to pursue the degree in the Tier and not change major with consent
  • Fulfill NROTC program requirements

3. Obligation for withdrawal

All ROTCs will allow the scholarship cadet/midshipman to withdraw from the program at the end of the freshman year without service obligation. [Note that cadets/midshipmen who receive a scholarship at the start of their sophomore year (ie. receive a three-year scholarship– do not fall under the freshman year “opt-out” program].

After the freshman year, if one withdraws or is disenrolled they will be obligated to repay all scholarship payments and/or serve on active duty as an enlisted person. Generally, the longer a person is in ROTC, the more likely they will be required to serve on active duty as enlisted to serve out their commitment.

Active Duty Service Requirement upon withdrawal:

  • Air Force ROTC: “Maximum permitted by law”
  • Army ROTC: A period of not more than four years enlisted
  • Navy ROTC: Enlisted period of at least two years

4. Service Obligation Upon Completion of the Program

Air Force ROTC

(Most Air Force ROTC cadets go on active duty. There is no language in the contract regarding the length of service if the cadet opts to become a member of the Air Force Reserve)

Active Duty Service Obligations

  • Pilot Candidate: Upon successful completion of training, 10 years
  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft: Upon successful completion of training, 6 years
  • Combat Systems Officer: Upon successful completion of training, 6 years
  • Air Battle Manager Training: Upon Successful completion of training, 6 years
  • All others: 4 years

Army ROTC

  • Active Duty: 4 years active, 4 years in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)
  • Reserve Duty: 8 years in the Selected Reserve (SELRES)

(note that specialty training such as rotary wing rating may incur more service obligation but is not covered in the ROTC contract)

Navy ROTC

(All Navy ROTC midshipmen serve on Active Duty)

  • Navy Option: 5 years
  • Marine Corps Option: 4 years
  • Navy Nurse Program: 4 years

(note that specialty training such as rotary wing rating may incur more service obligation but is not covered in the ROTC contract)

The team at ROTC Scholarship Consulting has included a copy of each of the services’ ROTC Scholarship contracts so you can read the “fine print” for yourself before you decide to make such an obligation.

Read Each Services’ ROTC Contract Here:

As stated at the beginning of the Army ROTC contract, entry into an ROTC program as a scholarship recipient is a serious commitment and must be made with the resolve to attain a commission. They warn that if there are any doubts about your ability and determination to fulfill the terms of the contract, then it should not be executed.

Make sure you know what you are signing before you do so!

You can read more about your chances of winning a ROTC scholarship here.

We wish you the best in your pursuit of a ROTC scholarship and becoming an officer in the U.S. Armed Services.

Interested in Service Academies too?

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