VMI- Worth the money??

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by alexkrills9, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. alexkrills9

    alexkrills9 Member

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    Im writing this from the perspective of an upcoming highschool senior. This being said I cannot fully express how strong my desire to go to vmi is, i could most likely get in but is it worth going into hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt over?? At this point it seems that the STA-21 program is much more friendly for the billfold, but it looks like it is much harder to commision that way. Is there post college reembursment for officers? or if not is there anyway to counter act the tremendous pile of bills!? ( i wont qualify for the NROTC scholarship)
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    VMI also offers academic and other non-military merit scholarships. There's literally like 100 of them, so I suggest you check them out. You can slo try to get a campus-based NROTC scholarship if you work hard.
     
  3. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Is Navy the only branch you're interested in?

    That being said, I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure it's possible to earn a 3 year or maybe even a 3.5 year NROTC scholarship at VMI if you want one bad enough. Then you'll only pay one year with loans. I'm not sure about Navy, but the Army will pay that off with ADSO.

    Are you interested on The Citadel at all? Full academic rides are not hard to get. This'll leave you with a thousand times more commissioning options once money isn't a factor.
     
  4. alexkrills9

    alexkrills9 Member

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  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Those are pretty valid questions and truthfully- I'm not sure there are answers that anyone else can give you. VMI is a state college- so the cost for an out of stater is significantly higher than for a Virginia Cadet. You might get some financial aid, but candidly you will be on the hook for a lot of money in most cases unless you truly possess some stellar credentials. The Financial aid people will give you a pretty good feel for what you will be able to get in outright grants- but if you are already sure that you won't qualify for an NROTC scholarship- I kind of think that you might also have a problem when the academic scholarship awards are being awarded. Bottom line- if you are paying for this yourself and you or your parents haven't amassed a sizeable pile of money in prep for college- then you are going to be looking at a lot of debt. Is it worth it? I can't answer that. I love VMI, can write reams about what great experiences and life skills you will possess when you graduate, what great alumni connections etc you will have, but... I could not in good conscience say that going into a debt that you personally will be paying off 15 years after you graduate would be a good investment.
    So then - it's a question of what are you looking for? A way to be commissioned in the Navy? Find the cheapest in state college that you can with an NROTC program and enroll there. Look at the State Maritime Colleges-they are regimented military environments with great professional and engineering programs that would prepare you very well for a career as a Navy or Coast Guard officer as well as in the maritime industry afloat or ashore, and most (well at least SUNY Maritime and Mass and Maine Maritime) have regional agreements with a number of states that will treat you very similar if not exactly the same as an in-state student in terms of cost. If you still can't swing the cost- then you get a couple of years of your credits under your belt at a community college and try and transfer to finish your degree- very difficult to do at VMI- less of an issue at a major State University.

    You are facing what more and more of your peers are going to be facing- is it worth the cost? I'm sorry, but I can't give you that answer- you have to apply your own values to that question. Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  6. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    +1 to bruno, it's all about whether or not the experience is worth that $50k per year, which is a question only you can answer.

    As for the full academic ride question, all you have to do is apply to the school ASAP. The scholarships run out fast. I believe the minimum requirements for the full scholarships are around a 600/600 SAT score, maybe even lower than that. A friend of mine received one, and (his words) also would tell me how much of a joke the standards are, and how it's a hidden gem for those that want to go to The Citadel but can't afford it.
    Another hidden advantage: it's a whole lot easier to commission into a desired military branch when you tell them that you have no need for a scholarship. You pretty much have prime pickings of your first choice branch, which is a plus. Especially if you want Navy or AF but don't want to be an engineer.

    Definitely my largest regret of my
     
  7. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    11th and 12th grade years: I didn't apply to The Citadel until I was QNS from USNA and USMA, which I didn't find about about until April of my senior year. Had I applied earlier, I know I would've gotten a full ride.
     
  8. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Just a quick Q:

    I know the SMC's guarantee an Active Duty commission, but is that just Army or an branch? Could I attend VMI or The Citadel as an NROTC-MO midshipman and commission into the Marines?
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    The law guaranteeing AD (IF THE PMS Recommends) is written about the Army. It's not really applicable to the Marine Corps becaus ethey won't commission you directly into the reserves. Plenty of guys commission into the USMC without a scholarship though if that's what you are asking.
     
  10. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    So you just have to be an MO Midshipman and get recommended by the PNS/MOI or something?
     
  11. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    AFROTC and NROTC don't commission officers into the reserve force of their respective branch. The Army does, so guaranteed AD is a big plus to going to an SMC (you can still request reserves or national guard if you want).

    As bruno said, many USMC officers are commissioned without any tuition assistance. This somewhat references back to my post about The Citadel's liberal financial aid policy, where a scholarship doesn't matter if your school is already paid for.
     
  12. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    At the risk of appearing obsequious, as usual Bruno hit the ball out of the park.

    These are important discussions for you to have with yourself, with your family, and with people you know and trust.

    As a ‘civilian’, who wasn’t in the military and who didn’t attend a SMC I have less “standing” than others to offer advice and counsel.

    Texas A&M offers “in-state” tuition to out of state students in the Corps of Cadets. The cadets at A&M have a rigorous life but not to the extent of the cadets at VMI. There are advantanges and challenges to attending a large public university, and in being in a Corps while daily in the middle of a large non-cadet campus. There are also real advantages to attending a small and focused liberal arts school such as VMI or The Citadel. Scouts from my son’s troop have excelled at both VMI and The Citadel. Our daughter is at A&M and is a member of the Corps there. A&M offers all of the ROTC options (Army, Air Force, Navy, and Navy/Marine Option). Because it is a state school and given the demographic geography of Texas, many of the students are from 1.5-5 hours away and many freshman leave to go home on the weekend, even Corps members on non-restricted weekends. That said, there is plenty to do on a campus of 50,000 students on the weekends. A&M students, even freshman cadets, can have cars.

    I think, but I don’t know, that the Texas Maritime Academy (part of Texas A&M at Galveston) also offers the instate tuition to out of state students. Call and ask. It has an NROTC program but not, as I recall, Navy/Marine Option. Students attending A&M Galveston who have a 2.5 GPA at the end of their freshman year are, as I understand it, guaranteed admission to the A&M College Station campus. The Galveston campus also gets thinned out on weekends.

    As noted in earlier posts, my son and I visited SUNY Maritime for their open house on July 18. My son, who has also spent the night at VMI with some fellow Scouts, seemed particularly interested in SUNY. I know from research that California Maritime has a similar “in region” rate for cadets from some of the western states.

    To summarize, I’d counsel you to pay attention to what Bruno said.
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I'll give you the same advice I gave to my sons, and it's only advice. As others have said, this is something only you can decide.

    I told my sons to attend a university they/us could afford for their Undergrad. Save the money and if they like, attend a Marquee School for their Graduate Degree. Don't go into massive debt for a Undergrad degree. With all the back and forth in Congress over the interest rates for student loans right now, it's hard to tell how things will be over the next few years.

    Go to a school with the idea that you will not get a scholarship, this will allow you to stay the four years without needing to transfer if a scholarship does not come through. Campus and Side Load Scholarships are anything but a guarantee, apply but don't count on them.

    Take a look at your main goals, are they to be an officer in the military or are they to attend a certain school. 100's of good schools will get you to the goal of becomming an officer. Where you went to school to become an officer won't have a great deal of impact on your time as an officer, how you perform as an officer will be the overriding factor in your success.

    If attending a certain school at any cost is your main goal, then you will need to weigh the total costs and the length of time of repayment. If you decide to serve the minimum time in the military these loans will be around long after you get out of the service.

    Consider your expenses once you graduate, a O-1 pay is not bad, but still needs a budget. Add together the things like a car payment, insurance, utilities, cell phone, food, and entertainment, and that paycheck can be eaten up pretty quick. Add to all this what would be a pretty high student loan payment and you can imagine the fiancial impact on you budget.

    Of course this is something only you can decide, just make sure you weigh all your options and exhaust all the scholarship opportunities to see what your final cost for school come out to be at VMI.

    Look at other schools where your stats put you in the top 20% of admissions, look at in-state schools, you may find that with scholarship and incentives from these schools, college can become very affordable while still achieving the goal of becomming an officer in the military.

    Best of luck, these decisions are never easy.
     
  14. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    SAH, I don't think you do. You just need to successfully complete the 4 year program.
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Be an MO midshipman, be a PT stud, attend summer cruises, satisfactorily complete OCS/Bulldog (6 weeks rising senior summer) and complete your degree. Piece o' cake! :shake:
     
  16. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Seems easy enough.... Hahaha :thumb: Seriously considering going the Marine route if I don't get the Army scholarship this fall. Thanks for the help guys!
     
  17. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Don't forget college based ROTC scholarships, especially with the Army. No branch has more disposable scholarship money, I promise you that.

    I earned a 4 year in-school Army ROTC scholarship the day I left for Christmas Furlough last year. Very happy yet very, VERY busy day.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    There is a part of me that would love to see you become a Marine, but I think you might do yourself a disservice to go with Army for a semester and then switch to Navy/Marines if a scholarship doesn't come through in the fall. Not only do you perhaps lose an opportunity for a future scholarship in the spring or even sophomore year, but you put yourself behind the eight ball trying to win an NROTC scholarship, being a semester behind your competition so to speak (as least in terms of contact with the cadre). It might be wiser to keep dancing with the one that brung ya'. YMMV.
     
  19. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Good advice, much harder to switch from AROTC to NROTC then the other way around.
     
  20. Bryson

    Bryson Member

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    Don't let the college sticker price, especially for out of state tuition, keep you from applying to most colleges, especially VMI. My DS was accepted to VMI and starts in just a few days. The financial aid package they gave him made it over $2,000 less expensive to attend VMI instead of TAMU, even though we live in Texas. TAMU did not offer hardly any financial aid, at least to my DS who would have been an in state student. There are several factors which can determine the amount of financial aid you're offered from different schools. Those include your families income, how good your grades are and how well rounded your application is, and the amount of money each college has to offer students and whether or not the choose to give more or less financial aid than other colleges.

    I know $2,0000 isn't a lot considering we will pay travel expenses a few times each year from Texas to Virginia, but this first year my son also received some local scholarship money and has worked and saved his own money to cover most of these additional travel costs and other financial needs during the college year.

    He hopes to receive at least the same amount of financial aid each year from VMI and will be working to try and get an AROTC scholarship or possibly some additional scholarship money by playing a NCAA sport at VMI.

    VMI has turned out to be the least expensive school for my son out of four he applied to and was accepted at all four (one in-state and three out-of-state colleges). He still had to borrow several thousand dollars, but that amount was cheaper than any of the other colleges he could have chosen to attend. DS believes attending VMI is worth the amount of debt he will acquire over the next four years. I happen to agree with him. He is already looking at an Army program that will help pay off most, if not all of his student debt when he graduates and commissions by adding a few more years to his first enlistment as well. DS has a solid plan to get his college degree and deal with the debt.

    I hope you consider this advice. The most you'll have to lose is your application fee to each college you apply to. But if your willing to work hard, and in my sons case, spend a few more years in the Army to pay off college debt, then you could afford most colleges, in or out of state. Be sure to discuss it with your family if they're willing to help as well.
     

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