Scholarship vs Non-Scholarship Cadets

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Anthony96, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Anthony96

    Anthony96 Member

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    I was recently accepted to a good school with an Army ROTC program on a generous financial aid package. Now that money is no longer an issue, is it still worth it to take the scholarship, and do non-scholarship cadets have any limitations or disadvantages?
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I feel like if you really want to commission, you should take the money now and secure your spot. With budget cuts and the fiscal situation, you never know what the Army (or any other branch) is gonna do. Right now Im accepting the scholarship because it basically guarantees you a spot in the Army, which is my goal.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1 to S&H. Further, although I can't claim to be a AROTC expert, I'm virtually certain you need to be contracted (on scholarship, or accepted for the Advanced Course) to do any summer training. So if you're not contracted, programs like CULP will not be open to you as far as I understand it.

    On the plus side, your proposed approach could give you an extra year to "check it out" without any obligation while participating as a college programmer (and hoping you get accepted for the Advanced Course).
     
  4. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    You can still walk away after your first year if you take the scholarship. The only real difference for you will be if you turn down the scholarship, you can do SMP. SMP is more of a risk than an advantage, so if you have a scholarship offer there's no reason to do it. All you're doing is turning down free money for the same obligation.

    This is absolutely right. The scholarship gives you a contract. If you turn it down then you have to compete for a contract down the road. Those who don't have contracts by the MSIII year don't proceed any further and don't commission. Look at what's happening in the Air Force now. They're cutting loose seniors and Lieutenants who just commissioned because of downsizing. If the Army offers you a seat at the table, don't turn it down. There's no guarantee they'll have as many chairs next time around.
     
  5. ABF

    ABF Member

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    You can still get RA and RC Active Duty slots as a non-scholarship cadet. However, it was my experience that CC seemed to want to get their "money's worth" out of the scholarship’ed students and as such, a few scholarship cadets that really didn't carry their weight (nor get good grades in college) still got Active Duty assignments upon commissioning. I couldn’t help but believe being a “scholarship” cadet generally put you higher on the national order of merit for branch / active duty after commissioning.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is if you are sure you want to be an active duty Army officer, go "all in" right now. Take the scholarship and bust your backside to show them you are more than qualified. If your career goal is to be a reservist or Guardsmen, go the non-scholarship route. You won’t have to contract for a few years.
     
  6. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    There is no distinction between scholarship and non-scholarship on the OML. As I understand it having a scholarship has no bearing on making the AD selection line.
     
  7. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    That's right. Having a scholarship doesn't matter. It only guarantees you a contract.
     
  8. ABF

    ABF Member

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    I know it wasn't suposed to matter in the slightest... but my gut still tells me several scholarship cadets I knew were slid up the OML just a bit.
     
  9. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Commander's Ranking most likely. Or they had a higher PT score. Or did well on LDAC peer evals. Plenty of little ways to move up.
     
  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    There are benefits to doing both.

    As a Scholarship Cadet, assuming it is a 4 year, you would be contracted as soon as you complete your paperwork and pass the APFT. As long as you abide by the contract requirements you will keep your contract throughout. You would be eligible for CULP right away, you would also be eligible for summer training opportunities the summer after you sophomore year. There would be less stress about whether you will get a contract later as a non scholarship cadet. You would not only have your tuition paid but would also receive the $1200.00 per year book money and the monthly stipend for both your freshman and sophomore year totaling about $8900.00.

    Now for the downside. Being a Scholarship cadet comes with it's own stress level. You have the first year to basically test drive the program, once you start day one of your sophomore year you are obligated to the Army. Here is where the stress and risk comes into play. Should something happen once your are under obligation, not making height/weight, your grades slip below the minimum, fail the APFT, get a MIP or MIC, a major traffic ticket, DUI, get into any type of trouble even a school honor violation in some cases, there is the strong chance depending on what happens that you could be disenrolled from the program. Just search this forum, there are stories of this happening. If you are disenrolled after you are under obligation you will either be required to enlist or pay back the total scholarship at the amount the Army has paid, which is the rack rate of tuition including your freshman year tuition. The kicker here is that it will not be your choice, the Army will decide for you and given the current drawdown it would most likely be a pay back. Depending on where you are going to go to school this amount could be pretty high.

    As a Non Scholarship cadet you would have the first two years to decide if you want to continue with the program before signing a contract. Should one of the things mentioned above happen you could leave the program and not owe the Army anything, after you start your junior year and sign a contract you could be required to enlist, if they decide not to make you enlist then you would owe nothing. One thing to consider, if you are on scholarship and are disnerolled you not only have to pay back what has been paid you would now have to fund the rest of your college on your own. As a non scholarship cadet with a school scholarship, should you be disenrolled you would owe nothing and would still have your school scholarship that would pay for the rest of college once you left ROTC.

    Other then not being eligible for CULP or summer training until your junior year you would still be able to participate in all the Battalion activities and training the same as any scholarship cadet. If you perform well once you start ROTC there would also be a chance of getting a Battalion scholarship before your junior year that may be able to piggyback onto your school scholarship.

    A scholarship cadet gets no extra points on the OML. The cadets mentioned above may have had higher points from any part of the scale or they may have taken advantage of the new ADSO/Major program.

    This is something you will need to think about. The best advice given is that you should select the school you really want to attend, the one that you see yourself doing well and being happy, if that's the school with the ROTC Scholarship great, if it's the school with the school scholarship, that's great as well.
     
  11. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    J,

    Your post should be required reading before gaining admission to the ROTC Forum.

    Happy new year!
     
  12. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Two things I know to be true:

    - People change, including preferences and goals, frequently
    - There is risk in everything. The trick is weighing those relative risks and reducing that risk if it causes a person to become distracted and/or worried, and therefore less productive.

    JCleppe lays out one pair of relative risks well: The risk of taking the scholarship and then getting separated from ROTC after day 1 of MSII year (preference, performance, etc.) and owing a lot of money to the Army, vs. the risk of not accepting the scholarship and taking the financial aid instead, then, for whatever reason, not being able to Contract at the end of your MSII year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  13. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    Does the financial aid package include merit scholarships? If so, take a look at what the minimum GPA is required to maintain the scholarship. Some of these large merit scholarships can have high GPA requirements of 3.5, while the ROTC minimum is only 2.0. That is something to consider. It's much harder to maintain a high GPA in college than HS, especially if you are majoring in STEM.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 USMA

    Our DS had both merit and AFROTC scholarship = full ride. His college merit was a min. 3.2 GPA per semester, AFROTC was 2.5.

    One semester his gpa slipped to 3.194, thus the school placed him on probation for his scholarship since it was under 3.2 for the 1 stem., even though his overall was a 3.463. Had he carried a 3.19 for the next semester his college could have pulled his merit scholarship, but his AFROTC scholarship would have remained intact.

    As it has been stated there are pros and cons to each. Of course. Our DS liked his AFROTC scholarship because he also got the monthly stipend.:shake:

    JMPO on the idea why people Believe that scholarship recipients get an edge. I think it is more akin to our DS and what USMAROTC and I are discussing. Merit scholarships from a college typically have a higher cgpa than ROTC, and many cadets that get a ROTC scholarship also get merit too. That means his OML because of the requirements for the merit was higher, the cgpa had nothing to do with his ROTC scholarship at all.
    ~Our DS never dipped under a 3.4 cgpa because of his merit. Don't know what it would have been if it was AFROTC only!

    This is something you should talk to the folks about. Discuss things like what if in a yr you want out of ROTC? What happens if you get injured in college and lose your ROTC scholarship due to medical issues? What if you decide you don't want to stay at the college after next yr? Can you afford to transfer to another college without the merit scholarship? Have you investigated how difficult it would be to transfer the AROTC scholarship to another college?
    ~The fact is no college has 100% retention rate, nor does any ROTC unit. Take this time to think/investigate the WHAT IF scenarios that may occur.
    ~~Trust me I highly doubt that the majority of recipients that sign on the dotted line, be it college merit or ROTC enters into it with the belief that they will not graduate in 4 yrs not utilizing the scholarship paperwork they signed as a sr in his, yet many do.

    Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  15. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    1. People Change from high school to college.....ALOT.... I think I and most other contracted cadets in my class wanted to commission as Infantry badasses and serve until retirement. Now many of us, including myself, are considering 5 and diving or even commissioning as reserve officers. Lots of reasons why.
    2. As Pima said, getting a scholarship requires a 4.0, especially on campus 4 and 3.5 years. Keeping it requires a 2.0. That alone speaks worlds in describing the work ethic gap that's seen alot on college campuses. I go to an SMC, I have a friend at another SMC and 2 others at different state colleges in AROTC to confirm this.
     
  16. Anthony96

    Anthony96 Member

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    The financial aid is completely need-based, there's no merit component. How difficult is it to contract junior year, will I be missing out on a lot if I do not participate in summer training for the first two years?
     
  17. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Really it just boils down to how much you want a contract right now then.
     
  18. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Listen man, there's no guarantee the Army will want you by then. That's what we're saying. If you want the Army and can't go without being a part of it, take the scholarship now.
     
  19. sancontoa

    sancontoa Member

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    Another point is that scholarship cadets owe the army 4 years and non-scholarship cadets owe 3 years. I'm pretty sure the 4 years in which you are satifying your ROTC obligation doesn't count towards the 3 years to earn the GI bill. For me that was a big one because if you take the ROTC scholarship and decide after two years in the army you don't like it, you still have two more years and you won't qualify for the GI bill when you get out. Verses take the non-ROTC scholarship and you still have your undergrad payed for (without the added stress of what happens if ROTC doesn't work out), you only have a 3 year committment and when you get out you qualify for the GI bill to pay for grad school.

    Also as someone who went though ROTC without a scholarship, I found that as long as you are above a 2.5, don't have any major screw ups, and have an okay APFT score (260ish or higher) you won't have a problem contracting your MS3 year. Of course that's no guarantee, but I won't accept a scholarship just because you are worried about getting a contract your MS3 year. Personally I've never seen a cadet who deserved a contract not get one their MS3 year and I've seen plenty of scholarship cadets do something stupid and get kicked out and have to pay back thousands of dollars, a contract is no guarantee of a commission. Also I'm pretty sure you can do airborne, air assult, and project Go if you aren't contracted, I think I remember it was only CULP that was scholarship only, but I might be wrong about that. Never once in my cadet career did it come up that I wasn't on scholarship.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  20. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    It depends on the school. My school had more eligible cadets than contracts and some deserving kids got left in the cold. Other schools struggle to make quota.
     

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