I find it almost backwards on the 2.5 to validate and 2.0 to maintain requirement. Seems the freshman year is the hardest, most stressful adjusting to collegiate academics and SMC military requirements, i.e., knobs, rats, et al. Thinking it would be more like "keep your head above water while feet are furiously working below the surface" freshman year and then make the gpa requirement 2.5 the remaining three years with the expectation that you will have acclimated to the SMC environment and be able to manage the higher gpa going forward. Just my 2 cents...
That is why they call it validation.
The choice to list an SMC as a school option is that of the applicant.
My son, a 3YR AD AROTC freshman at an SMC, is on track to finish his first year with a 3.7.
I doubt he would have that GPA if it not for the structure. He commented, "if I am studying they don't yell at me". So that might factor in as well.
His SMC has freshman take only 14 credits their first semester vs 17 the remainder of their semesters.