Merit Scholarship versus ROTC Scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Dogstar510, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Dogstar510

    Dogstar510 New Member

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    Not sure how this works but some advice would be great. My son got accepted to Norwich University Core of Cadets which was his first choice of schools. He has always been interested in becoming a Army officer. Right now he is a senior at private military high school with JROTC and has done well. Norwich has given him a generous Merit Scholarship and with some small amount of financial aid his four years there will be paid in full. He applied for his ROTC Scholarship and now just has to interview. My question is will he loose his Merit Scholarship if he chooses a ROTC Scholarship. That's one concern. He also wants to commission as an officer when he graduates. Can you combine the two? Will he loose out if he uses Merit Scholarship till he's a junior an then apply for a two year ROTC Scholarship? Any advice on what's the best way for him to achieve what's he wants-

    Thanks All
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    He can use both scholarships.

    I'll tell you what I've told others: If your son wants to be an Army officer he should take the scholarship when they offer it to him. With budget cuts and the fiscal situation, there's no guarantee the Army will want him in 3 years. As long as he is sure he wants to serve, the Army scholarship is the way to go.
     
  3. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    The ROTC scholarship covers tuition OR room/board, not both, so your DS should take all merit scholarships he earns.
     
  4. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    He'll probably be able to combine them, with one paying the difference of the other (if any). Which scholarship is placed on "priority" and used up first is up to the school.
    If he loses his merit scholarship because of ROTC is also up to the school, but theres a significant chance that may not happen: I go to The Citadel, and I have a few merit scholarships that I don't "need" because of ROTC. The Citadel cuts me a check every semester of the difference. My roommate has a 4 year AFROTC scholarship as well as a full academic ride from The Citadel. His Air Force scholarship pays tuition, some of his Citadel scholarship pays Room and Board, and the rest is deposited in his bank account every semester. Yeah, he drives a nice car.

    As for your son's future ambitions, there is a significant advantage to accepting the ROTC scholarship: a guaranteed Active Duty Army (Norwich is an SMC) commission when he graduates. In the current military drawdown, that's pretty lucrative, and such an opportunity may not be present his junior year (but that's in an absolute worst case scenario...). On the flipside, preferring an academic scholarship won't obligate your son to much more than a minimum GPA requirement. You never know how much he'll like the Army in 4 years no matter how motivated he is now. He may want to fly F-15's or command an attack submarine instead. Or he may decide this whole having to wear a uniform and wake up early ain't what its cracked up to be and become a doctor or Wall Street stock shark.
    Two sides to every coin unfortunately. But as a closing note, see if Norwich offers tuition refunds and see how they manage kids with several large-payout scholarships.
     
  5. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Dogstar510,
    Since your DS hasn't interviewed yet, just know that there's only one board left for AROTC in March. Once your DS interviews and assuming he's completed his PFA, he'll be "board ready." When the Board reviews his application in March, his app will be "boarded", given a score and he'll be place on the OML where he'll compete with everyone who was rolled over from the first two boards and anyone (like your DS) who has just finished their application. Based on previous posts, the available funds for scholarships will be less than what was originally available for the first two boards. School selection is also a factor. He should definitely accept all merit scholarships received -- he may or may not get a ROTC scholarship. If he doesn't receive an ROTC scholarship this year, he can apply for a 3 yr or 2 yr once he's at Norwich.
     
  6. Dogstar510

    Dogstar510 New Member

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    Thanks for all the input. A discussion with Norwich is at hand. I agree about what will available down the road. Hopefully he'll be able to use both as finacially that would be great. He completed his PFA he just has to interview at Norwich for the ROTC scholarship which is coming up soon. Either way he can apply again next year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I don't disagree with any of the above recommendations. However, just so you go in with your eyes wide open, if your DS drops ROTC or loses the scholarship, he will also (almost certainly) be required to pay back the monies he has received (depending on circumstances). This is probably a non sequitur or an oxymoron or something at Norwich, but I thought it worth pointing out. The same would not apply to the merit scholarships.
     
  8. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    ^ right. ROTC "Scholarships" in fact behave like loans -- loans that are 100% forgiven upon commissioning, or failing to commission due to medical DQ. Anything short of commissioning means the "scholarship" needs to be paid back in full.

    What could keep a cadet from commissioning? Failure to pass the PFT. Failure to maintain body mass standards. Academic dismissal from the University. Getting arrested (and convicted). Getting busted for drinking on campus. Cadet deciding they want to serve their country in some other way besides serving as an officer in the Army.

    It's really not a big deal… until it is.

    Merit scholarships can be withdrawn by the school for moral or academic shortfalls, but they are not required to be repaid, because they are scholarships, not loans.

    So what's in a name? What does it matter if it is called a Scholarship or a forgivable loan? The problem is that families, and most of the time the cadet, never reads the ROTC Scholarship Cadet Contract where the repayment obligation is spelled out clearly on the third page of fine print. Those that don't read that Contract language entirely naturally assume a Scholarship is actually a Scholarship, and not a Loan. Too bad really.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  9. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Helpful hint: nothing in this world is guaranteed.
     
  10. Dogstar510

    Dogstar510 New Member

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    We are new to this so sorry if it seems repetitive but this is all good advice. His merit scholarship was awarded to him and he has to maintain his GPA etc.. or he losses it and then he has to deal with student loans which is scenario one.
    If he gets a ROTC scholarship lets say 3 years. If he decides when he's a Junior when he can commission he opts out. He would have to repay the 1 year of funds allocated to him for the school year. I'm assuming all money.. stipend books etc.

    What's this non- contract ROTC stuff I'm hearing about. How competitive is it to commission as officer if he goes this route. What are the major significances if he does this route in school like Norwich. He' a already accepted in the core of cadets at Norwich.

    Thanks-
     
  11. soccmomer

    soccmomer Member

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    Dogstar, my son also was awarded a very large merit scholarship to Norwich, and then ended up with a 4 year AROTC scholarship offer. He accepted that. If you get a ROTC scholarship to Norwich, the school pays room and board. There are some Norwich uniform fees that I believe still need to be paid.
    You can PM me if you bave any questions about what we went through. The admissions folks are more than accomodating as far as setting up and coordinating visits with any department you want to visit.
     
  12. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Seems to me there are two questions here...

    1) First and foremost, what is it he wants to do AFTER school?
    If it's be an officer, then ROTC is the way to go.

    2) Secondly (as it should be), what makes sense financially for his education?
    As Soccmom stated, being the birthplace of ROTC, Norwich has a scholarship fund set aside specifically for students who bring any form of ROTC scholarship to the university. That tack-on scholarship does indeed pay room and board. So in this particular case, an ROTC scholarship at Norwich in effect pays some/all tuition AND100% room and board.

    And yes, merit money from Norwich does "stack" with ROTC scholarships too. So it's not unheard of to wind up with a full-ride deal there as my DS was offered.

    Norwich is a wonderful school and the Corps of Cadets is top notch. If his heart's desire is to live that kind of lifestyle and earn a commission, it's one of the best places in the country to do so.

    In any case, congrats to your family and good luck!
     
  13. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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    Unless it is written into Title X US Code in which case it is dependent upon congressional removal. BLUF if you go to an SMC successfully complete all requirements for a commission (Camp, Ht/Wt, APFT and Bachelor's degree) and you receive the PMS recommendation (which won't happen if you're a dirt bag) then you receive an active commission without the worries of cutoff scores and all that madness. Now if you're in the probably very few of 2500 who is in that bottom portion of the OML nothing else is guaranteed such as branch of choice or duty station but it is still a unique facet of the SMC program. Basically this would only affect those with GPAs that would be questionable which is nothing major since I can assure you after 12 years of active duty your GPA is irrelevant to officer performance or it would affect those who don't rock out at Camp which doesn't really affect officer quality either. Those considerations are negated by having a centrally selected Colonel (O6) sign off on the applicant saying that their 20+ years of judgment says that said cadet will be successful as an army officer.
     
  14. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    If he decides to opt out his junior year he'll have to pay back all 3 years the Army paid for.
    There is no such thing as non-contract ROTC commissioning. One's contract refers to their commissioning slot and their active duty/reserve/national guard obligations. Your contract is the piece of paper that says "you'll be in the Army for a few years, and in return we'll.....". Notice, I didn't explicitly state "we'll pay for your school", because this isn't always the case. An high school 4 year ROTC scholarship includes the "contract" and the "scholarship", they are two separate things. Once in college, you can obtain a contract without a scholarship. Obviously, the other way around isn't possible.
    Obtaining a scholarship or contract while in school is fairly difficult, and getting moreso with the military downsizing. Granted it's not impossible (this is what I did), I don't really recommend this route because of a lack of certainty and significant competition. Lots of folks will want that guaranteed job with a good salary when they graduate.
    Aside from not being on scholarship, though, there aren't many differences than to being your typical high school 4-year scholarship awardee. Not all of the summer training is available to non-contracts, but among contracted cadets, there's no contrast between scholarship and no scholarship.

    And to respond to Bulls comment, Army SMC cadets are guaranteed by congress Active Duty when they graduate, as long as their PMS approves it. And unless you're all kinds of fat and stupid, it'll be approved. This has already been debated ad nauseam :biggrin:
    -Love ya Bull, don't hate me!
     
  15. Dogstar510

    Dogstar510 New Member

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    Thank you all for the great information regarding contract/scholarship info. I know he wants to study business as well as become a military officer. He is interested in becoming an infantry officer with later obtaining his MBA. He was also interested in Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis after he has served in special forces for a while.

    With hard work and dedication may he achieve those goals. I have no doubt- as he is driven. And Kudos to all on this forum parents, sons and daughters who have achieved or on their way to achieve those goals.

    This information has been very helpful and Soccmomer I will probably PM you since you have done this with Norwich.

    Once again thanks and I'm sure I will have more questions as time goes on.
     
  16. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    You don't have to waste your time writing this. I know what the law says. And it doesn't flat out guarantee an SMC cadet anything, just a bunch of guarantee-ifs. Times they are a changing.

    I'm not debating the fact that just about everyone from an SMC can get active duty (which is honestly sad). That's been pretty evident, BUT, we don't deal in assumptions*. So, you can't go into this assuming that despite your performance, you are guaranteed active duty. That's just not the case, and certainly won't be the case moving forward.

    *Mean to add this. We do deal somewhat in assumptions, but they get confirmed through MDMP, rehearsals, etc. In this context, we don't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  17. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Call me silly, but if things really tighten up and the number of commissions is slashed...

    Wouldn't you think that someone who is both an SMC graduate AND on ROTC scholarship have better odds of commissioning since the gov't has already invested money in them?
     
  18. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    The same money has been invested in a ROTC scholarship cadet at a non-SMC, and more so at the private schools that have ROTC programs.

    When it tightens up, it essentially equalizes between SMC and non-SMC cadets. PMS's are less likely to just give blanket recommendations to an entire Corps.
     
  19. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    You are closer to it than I am for sure, so probably spot on.

    But with reductions in the past, it often seems the military goes for the "low hanging fruit" first; reducing in ways that require less acts of congress (literally), re-writing agreements, etc.

    Just thinking that changing the SMC status/agreement is certainly possible, but harder than just saying to a private college kid "thanks, but no thanks and your debt is waived".


    EDIT: Was basing my assumption on this part of the law...

    (d) Termination or Reduction of Program Prohibited.— The Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments may not take or authorize any action to terminate or reduce a unit of the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at a senior military college unless the termination or reduction is specifically requested by the college.
    (e) Assignment to Active Duty.—
    (1) The Secretary of the Army shall ensure that a graduate of a senior military college who desires to serve as a commissioned officer on active duty upon graduation from the college, who is medically and physically qualified for active duty, and who is recommended for such duty by the professor of military science at the college, shall be assigned to active duty.
    (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary of the Army from requiring a member of the program who graduates from a senior military college to serve on active duty.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  20. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    I see what you are saying, but no re-writing would be necessary. It's already built into the law, and is already being used. All SMC cadets must be approved by the PMS to be guaranteed active duty. There are cadets each year that are not approved, if things tighten up, you'll see that number increase.
     

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