AROTC Contracting and Service Obligation

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by tonythetyger, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. tonythetyger

    tonythetyger Member

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    A high school senior is offered a four year scholarship. He contracts the first day he arrives at college/ AROTC. (Is contracting required to validate the scholarship?) Does he have the option of disenrollng from ROTC without service obligation if he decides to do so before his sophomore year if he's a contracted scholarship cadet?
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Yes and Yes
     
  3. MNDad2015

    MNDad2015 Member

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    Excuse me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you want to give AROTC a "test ride" at the taxpayers' expense to see if you like it or not. That's something that you should decide before even filling out the scholarship application. If you would have asked that question is the PMS interview, I'm sure the boxes as to whether he/she thought you'd make a good officer/deserve a scholarship would be NO.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Yes absolutely and by design you get to give ROTC "a test ride"for a year before he starts to incur a commitment. As long as you make your decision prior to the start of classes your sophomore year, you have no further obligation. (BTW- at the Service Academy you get two years to make that decision.) That's not such an unusual discovery - kids decide that they really do not like, or don't fit , or just have other interests than an 8 year obligation to the military. That's not to be unexpected- it's a big commitment for an 18 year old. They expect that you will honestly give this your time and effort and make a good faith try, but if at the end of the year you just don't want to continue for your own reasons- you have no obligation and that's an honorable way to go.

    Before some of you get too riled up - you might consider the positive recruiting benefits of this- without that there are plenty of kids out there who have little exposure to the military and after some time in ROTC discover that it is in fact what they want to do.Without that escape valve- would they have signed up to begin with? For many- the answer is clearly no and potentially good officers would be lost.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    :thumb:

    I don't think MN saying that your intention is to leave, nor am I. However, what we are both saying is take the time to really, really think about this.

    The problem is for many cadets that cost does not come into their minds because they have that scholarship in hand. They gladly accept a college's admission offer because now they can afford to attend due to that scholarship. However, they never think about what if I do leave ROTC, will I be able to afford to still attend that college?

    That is a great amount of pressure to place on an 18 yr old who now realizes the military isn't his/her desire, but the school is home to them.

    Trust me many cadets leave ROTC during those 1st two yrs, but some stay because not of the desire to serve, but because their hands are fiscally tied.

    You don't want to be that kid. They tend be the ones very unhappy in the program, which creates a negative cycle for them.

    If the scholarship is your way in to pay for that college, as MN stated, think about it long and hard, be honest with yourself, and talk with your folks, ask them if I got the scholarship, but lost it how will our family pay for it? Your parents may say, I will sell my kidney if that is what needs to be done, they may say, there is no way to do this unless you get loans and scholarships.

    Neither parent is better or worse for their answer, their job is to do the best they can for the FAMILY with you in mind.

    These are difficult fiscal times. I have no problem saying to our DS2, a SR in HS, but with his siblings in college right now; unless he gets merit or grants, going OOS or private is not on the plate when our IS public/private colleges have very respected reputations nationally. Even IS here is 13K for tuition alone. OOS for our DS on scholarship is 28K for just tuition, it is 40K for the kit and kaboodle.

    It is up to him to decide if he gets a scholarship that has a caveat like ROTC, and decides to go OOS or private, he understands that losing the scholarship is not an option if he wants to stay there.

    Personally, if you also watch the news, college loans are now the new tech/housing bubble because the rate of default is rising with each yr. I believe it is now at 7%. The higher it rises in default, the less likely banks will be willing to give personal loans for college education...not talking FAFSA, talking about private i.e. Wells Fargo, Citi, etc. So I wouldn't just assume the folks can co-sign a private loan for me to make up the difference if I quit ROTC.
     
  6. Packer

    Packer Member

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    They are playing by the rules that AROTC makes. Is there a problem?
     
  7. MNDad2015

    MNDad2015 Member

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    Maybe the rules are the problem and need to be changed. Think of contracting in the same sense as enlisting. Youdon't enlist in the army, decide after a year that you don't like it and then ask for an honorable discharge. I know that the current rules allow the system to be gamed, but it also serves a a potential roadblock for others who truly want to serve their country in this capacity but are denied because the scholarship would have been a major help in pursuing their dream, but instead in went to someone that just wanted to see what things look like. As always, JMHO, take it or leave it, that is your right.
     
  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Neither of my son's needed to ask this question during their interview. The PMS went over the first year in detail with both of them.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    MNDad, I certainly understand your point of view and I do find myself rather astonished :eek: at the number of NROTC freshman in my son's unit who have dropped out this year, some with scholarship and some not. Heck, a senior on scholarship dropped recently after successfully completing OCS. He just had to ride out the rest of the year, but the thought of 4 years in the military was evidently too much for him. I certainly don't think I'd want such an officer commanding my son's unit on AD. I'm glad he saw the light and dropped out. I have to agree with bruno that this is a good recruiting point that brings in folks who might not otherwise consider the military - so I have no problem with it. And I'd prefer they drop if it's not for them.

    Heck, this happens all the time in the corporate world. Someone is selected for a position they just don't measure up to despite what their management thought about them. They and their subordinates are miserable unless the person steps aside (voluntarily or involuntarily). So I wouldn't be blaming the military for picking the wrong kid either.

    Pima raises a good point about considering how you're going to pay for the school without the scholarship because once your there you will be reluctant to leave (generally speaking anyway).

    Students should at least sign the contract in good faith, thinking they're going to complete this program; while we adults recognize that many won't. I wouldn't recommend signing it for a test ride because the ride is definitely NOT an easy one.

    Sorry for the rambling response. :wink:
     
  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Well the rules would have to be changed for West Point then as well, they give the cadets the first 2 years and their cost and competition is far greater then ROTC. Comparing enlisting to ROTC or the SA is like apples and oranges. The Army does not spend 4 years and thousands of dollars training someone before they enlist. If a cadet decides to leave after the first year the Army saves the time and money it would have spent on that cadet over the next 3 years only to have that cadet fail or not be the qualified officer they were hoping for. I might agree if they were to lessen then "Try it out time" to just the first semester, but not all schools are on the semester system.

    The largest drop out comes from cadets not passing their APFT, if that's the case the Army is not out any money for their time spent.

    I will agree that every time a scholarship cadet drops out the first year meant that someone else who did not receive a scholarship could have been a better choice and stuck with the program, this will always seem unfair. Realize the large amount of money that is given to civilian students for merit scholarships every year, a percentage of these students will never finish college or lose those scholarships after 1 year, they also took a scholarship away from another deserving student.

    With that being said, I really do respect you opinion, it also burns by behind when a cadet decides to drop the first year. Especially when the other cadets hear him talk about possibly leaving while taking the money for school without concern. That happened at a friend of ours son's school, the cadre caught wind of it and had the cadet in their office prior to the second semester, after a couple meetings he left before the second semester began. I truly can see your point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I was with you Jcleppe until this:

    "Realize the large amount of money that is given to civilian students for merit scholarships every year, a percentage of these students will never finish college or lose those scholarships after 1 year, they also took a scholarship away from another deserving student."

    Many colleges, even state colleges use endowments, not tax payer dollars, esp. private colleges to pay for scholarships.

    Colleges like VT, a state college with tax payer money, has 550 Million in endowment funds. Duke University has 657 Million. Notre Dame has 6.8 BILLION.

    MNDad's POV was TAX DOLLARS, I selected these 3 colleges because they all have ROTC programs. Are you paying as a tax payer in CA to send a student in FL to attend Duke? No you really aren't. However your tax dollars are paying for that cadet from FL to attend Duke. Notice the key words... student and cadet.

    You as a taxpayer in VA, and VA alone will pay to send that student to VT on scholarship, even as an OOS because that is a state school which VA residents pay to support. Yet, MNDAD from Minnesota pays no direct taxes for any kid going to VT on merit scholarship.

    Big difference.

    I do agree with everything else you were stating, esp. about WP commitments.

    I personally think they should have that right to walk during the 1st yr. Let's flip this for a second and say they must stay, or owe time.

    The fact that the military allows this, it also allows them to offer 3 yr scholarships. If they forced people to stay or owe back time enlisted, more would stay, and as kinnem stated you would not want your child serving with someone who stayed for the wrong reasons.

    By allowing them to leave, that frees up money for 3 yr scholarships. These scholarships are given to cadets/mids that stayed even without the financial reward.

    Now who do you really want your child standing next to when crap starts flying? The officer who stayed because at 17 he accepted a scholarship and was stuck or the officer who at 17 accepted that the military was not going to give him a dime for his college education, but he wanted to be an officer anyway?

    Let them leave IMPO.

    I also will add one more perspective, as stated it is a recruitment tool. There are many candidates that are unsure, but because they earned the scholarship and even if they do this for fiscal reasons they realize that this life is for them. That means the military has an asset that if they didn't let them opt out, they may have said no.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ^
    Tax payer dollars fund Federal programs like the Pell Grant and many State have state scholarship programs for their students to attend college.

    The ROTC scholarship program is designed to recruit high school students to officership. The military is looking to increase the talent pool for their officer assession programs.
    To expect 100% vetting for a high school student is ridiculous. Most kids make it - some do not. Call it collateral damage - whatever - it's the reality and most likely not going to change. Live with it and enough with the sour grapes, folks.
     
  13. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I agree with you if someone is gaming the system but I doubt that is the case very often. It really rubs me wrong when some just don't seem to try very hard. I do like the test ride concept though because do you really want officers or cadets that do not want to be there?
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Yes JAM, you are correct that taxpayers fund Pell Grants, but Pell is not merit, it is based on fiscal ability to pay for college. You can have a 2.0 gpa out of HS and get a Pell because of FAFSA. You or your parents ability to pay is the measurement stick for qualifying, make too much and that option does not exist. Make a BN and your kid can still get an ROTC scholarship.

    Apples and oranges. ROTC does not request your FAFSA when determining if you are eligible for selection.

    Pell does not make you sign that if you accept the GRANT, (not a scholarship) you will owe back yrs of your life to our country.

    The issue about many states having state programs is also true.
    However, again, you are mixing apples with oranges. ROTC is not state, it is Federal.

    That means me as a VA resident to send my kid to a PA state school I get no state funded scholarship because I pay no PA taxes, correct?

    Yet, because my child has been awarded an ROTC scholarship which comes from Federal taxes what state I live in means squat. PA residents ante upped just as much in tax dollars as the other 49 states for my kid to go there, even though we are VA residents.

    That is the point being made here by MN when we say it is tax dollars being used.

    MNDAD and everyone on this forum paid for my DS's college education, no Pell, just AFROTC (I know:bang: because I brought up AFROTC again), because that scholarship came from the DOD which we all contribute to every yr come April 15th. He was awarded the scholarship based on academics, not how much we made that yr. Again, for all you or ROTC knows we are millionaires, it is not a factor. Yet, even if we were millionaires you and everybody else would pay with your tax dollars to send him to college. Yes, JAM, you paid for his education, just like Bullet and I pay every yr for cadets attending the SAs or attending college on an ROTC scholarship.

    I don't harbor any issues when a taxpayer says this is my money and I have a right to voice my opinion when we are faced with fiscal issues.

    I do agree with you that 100% vetting will never happen. I don't agree with the sour grapes comment. I have no sour grapes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  15. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Ya sure the 1 year of free schooling leaves the system to be gamed, but do you really want a cadet or future 2LT who loathes every day he/her is in the military. He/she isn't some PV2 regretting joining because he washes windows all day, this is a future 2LT that will lead those PV2s.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Aglahad,

    I am not disagreeing with you at all regarding your position why anyone would want a 2nd LT loathing their career in the service.

    I am taking disagreement with:
    Enlisted members play a HUGE part in the AD world, especially operationally.

    That PV2 may be a mechanic for Helos, do you want him just to kick the tires and telling the pilots you are good to go? How about the person who handles equipment checks the chutes for jumpers with the 82nd? How about the guy who is in the hospital handling medical records?

    They are the backbone of our military, and I don't want people to assume that you were denigrating their worth with that comment of washing windows, because I know that was never your intention. You just were using hyperbole in the example to make a point.

    Hint, hint, please clarify your post.
     
  17. MNDad2015

    MNDad2015 Member

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    I'm not saying that cadets shouldn't drop out if they feel that AROTC or beyond is not for them, I think that's a good thing. My point is that asking a question like that leaves me with the impression that OP isn't 100% sure and calls into question whether they would at least go in 100% committed. DS/DD have seen so many kids in sports that like the game, make the team but then quit halfway through the season because they're tired of practicing all of the time and some of them had that attitude going into it. Not too fair to the kid who gave 100% during tryouts and was the last one to get cut.

    Jcleppe, I'm glad you pointed out that most drop out early on becasue they can't pass the APFT. Sad, but true. Maybe things should change such that the application PT is the actual APFT administered the same day as the interview. Having that knowledge I think applicants would get ready and make sure they can pass it, because if not then the Board will never see that application.
     
  18. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I like that idea!:thumb:
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    MN... personally I like your idea on the testing.

    Regarding the OP, if I recall posts on other threads, he is already on scholarship as a freshman. Sounded like he's not too impressed with his unit; so perhaps that's why he's asking the question. From his other posts it certainly didn't sound like he was going for a test drive when he contracted. So I think he's an example of a 100% commited kid who is now having second thoughts.

    If it is because of issues with the unit's efficiency (my assumption) then I say shame on the unit, although it's never better in the corporate world either. If it's something else then I say "so be it".

    OTOH, I think we already beat this topic to death. :rolleyes:
     
  20. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Getting back to the OP situation, it looks like we got off into the weeds talking about "taking it for a test drive", as in addition I guess getting a ROTC scholarship, s/he applied to USMC as well (looking at previous posts). I don't think of kids who apply to a SA as cheapskates trying to get a free education off of Uncle Sam as it is entirely clear that the only degreed exit from WP is into the military.

    I suspect this may be a freshman cadet who may be finding the real ROTC experience isn't what the movies played WP to be and is wondering if his/her heart is in serving in the Army having seen the less glorious side of things. Kid had USC and Emory on the list, but ended up a State U, so I'm not guessing that this is about money.

    To that, I can say that it is OK to change your mind at this point, but you should talk to your Cadre about why you don't see the military as what you thought the experience to be while in HS before just checking out of ROTC. Cadre want people who are committed to the experience and will help to sort out whether this is a change of heart or just a temporary adjustment you need to deal work through.
     

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