ANG and The Citadel financial advice?

SpydreX

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I am looking for advice for what I should do regarding my future career goals. To start my goal is to become an Air Force pilot.

I just graduated Highschool this year and have been accepted to The Citadel Military College of South Carolina. My plan was to go to The Citadel this summer and take summer classes which is what they call "CSI". It prepares you for knob life and lets you get used to doing college-level work. You also earn 4 credits and get to know your way around the school better. Once I matriculate I'd be taking AFROTC all 4 years while competing for an Air Force scholarship. During the summers I'd have a job and work on getting my PPL since most of you know the new PCSM 2.0 heavily weighs previous flight hours. I'm thinking that if I got my PPL I could potentially rack up 60-70 hours during the summers I'm off and could potentially have a very competitive score. I would commission as an officer in the Air Force and hopefully get a pilot slot in UPT or ENJJPT.

Here is where the problem lies. I don't have an Air Force scholarship and money is tight. I know friends at The Citadel who are in the Army National Guard while doing ROTC and the Guard is paying for all their college expenses. If I were to join the ANG then depending on how long it would take to do tech school and enlist. I'd have to cancel my admission to the college and or cancel my summer classes "CSI" depending on how long tech school will be. During the summer I would take the ASVAB, do BMT, and then complete tech school. After that, I would get a paycheck and college benefits to help pay for everything. I could apply to The Citadel again and take AFROTC while having money to pay for my PPL and can have a 2nd job during the summers to help if needed.

Does ANG pay for all of your college expenses like Army National Guard does when in SMP? Is there anything similar to it in ANG?

Of course, there is always the possibility of being deployed while in college and also the possibility of not being released from the guard after its time to commission into the Air Force which are the chances I'd be taking. I could just go with my original plan and take on all the debt later on once I'm commissioned but I don't know if that's the best choice or not. Especially since any money I make over the summer would have to go to getting a PPL as to get enough flight hours on my PCSM to be competitive for a pilot slot.

I will be retaking the ACT and compete to get a type 1 Air Force scholarship while in college but there are no guarantees I will get it. I have heard that if my grades are good enough then I could possibly transfer to the Air Force Academy and have a better chance of getting a pilot slot as long as I'm medically qualified but transferring means starting all over again as a plebe which sucks especially if I were previously a knob. Not to mention getting into the AFA is like trying to get into Harvard from what I hear. Not planning on transferring but some information would be nice.

So my main question is should I enlist in the ANG and take a year off from college risking being deployed and stuck in the guard or should I just pay my college debt later and take my chances trying to compete for an Air Force scholarship to minimize the amount I will owe? What is the better option do you guys think?
 

Jcc123

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To my knowledge, Air Force does not have any program similar to Army's SMP program. You'd go through all of that essentially to get a part-time job one weekend a month earning very little money. It doesn't seem to be a viable plan.

My questions are - did you apply for an AFROTC scholarship in high school? When you sent in your deposit / registered for CSI etc., what was your plan to pay for tuition and R&B? If you can't afford the Citadel, do you still have any admission options?

It seems pretty late in the game to just now be thinking about how you're going to pay for college. That doesn't necessarily mean your goal is unattainable, but the route you get there may be different than you imagined. Good luck.
 

kinnem

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+1 to Jcc123. I would add, if you have trouble covering college expenses, how do you think you can pay for 60-70 flight hours in the summer?
 

glen

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SpydreX - Air Force Scholarships that pay full tuition plus books and stipend (out of state is $34,000 at The Citadel) are rare and only the most highly qualified academically receive these awards. The Air Force Detachment at The Citadel has about 20 in each class. In addition, there are Room & Board, uniforms, and fees (out of state tuition is $34,500 and room, board, and fees are about $14,400 for total cost of $48,900). So you need to plan accordingly. I know of a few students who attended technical college and then transfered to The Citadel. I don't believe any were Air Force - most were Army ROTC. The Army ROTC scholarship programs are much more flexible and also offer a route to pilot training for small fixed wing and rotary vehicles. It is possible to do really well in your first two years at a community college and then see if you qualify for academic scholarships as a transfer, but you need to really get commitments from ROTC staff on what scholarships you might be eligible for as either a 3 year or 2 year transfer. My guess though is that with a good two years under your belt an in-state college would be much smarter choice to transfer financially. By the way - many ROTC programs have missions that allow nearby college students to enroll and complete their commissioning requirements. You should check with your nearest public university ROTC department.
 

SpydreX

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+1 to Jcc123. I would add, if you have trouble covering college expenses, how do you think you can pay for 60-70 flight hours in the summer?
Private student loans and be in debt is really my only choice. Its manageable and reckless but at least it gives me a chance. At least I can say I don't have any regrets if I do or don't get in because I decided to get flight hours instead of saving money for debt.
 
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SpydreX

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To my knowledge, Air Force does not have any program similar to Army's SMP program. You'd go through all of that essentially to get a part-time job one weekend a month earning very little money. It doesn't seem to be a viable plan.

My questions are - did you apply for an AFROTC scholarship in high school? When you sent in your deposit / registered for CSI etc., what was your plan to pay for tuition and R&B? If you can't afford the Citadel, do you still have any admission options?

It seems pretty late in the game to just now be thinking about how you're going to pay for college. That doesn't necessarily mean your goal is unattainable, but the route you get there may be different than you imagined. Good luck.

Yeah, you are absolutely right. It is very late in the game and it was not on purpose. My parents said they were going to help me out with money but job and financial problems unexpectedly happened so I am on my own for now. I can't go to a community college and transfer since you need a minimum of 3 years in AFROTC. I guess private loans are my only choice. I know you are more likely to get active duty going to a SMC and commission benefits involve BHA so at least I won't be homeless.
 

SpydreX

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SpydreX - Air Force Scholarships that pay full tuition plus books and stipend (out of state is $34,000 at The Citadel) are rare and only the most highly qualified academically receive these awards. The Air Force Detachment at The Citadel has about 20 in each class. In addition, there are Room & Board, uniforms, and fees (out of state tuition is $34,500 and room, board, and fees are about $14,400 for total cost of $48,900). So you need to plan accordingly. I know of a few students who attended technical college and then transfered to The Citadel. I don't believe any were Air Force - most were Army ROTC. The Army ROTC scholarship programs are much more flexible and also offer a route to pilot training for small fixed wing and rotary vehicles. It is possible to do really well in your first two years at a community college and then see if you qualify for academic scholarships as a transfer, but you need to really get commitments from ROTC staff on what scholarships you might be eligible for as either a 3 year or 2 year transfer. My guess though is that with a good two years under your belt an in-state college would be much smarter choice to transfer financially. By the way - many ROTC programs have missions that allow nearby college students to enroll and complete their commissioning requirements. You should check with your nearest public university ROTC department.
Do you mean it's possible to take AFROTC at a host town university while attending a community college? If so that might actually be a pretty smart choice considering how much I'd save.
 

Capt MJ

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Do you mean it's possible to take AFROTC at a host town university while attending a community college? If so that might actually be a pretty smart choice considering how much I'd save.

Here's an example, using the AFROTC unit at UMD - note the list of state schools, consortium schools, cross-town schools and community colleges. You don't have to be a student at UMD at College Park, MD.

http://www.afrotc.umd.edu/crosstown.html
 

Jcc123

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I know you are more likely to get active duty going to a SMC and commission benefits involve BHA so at least I won't be homeless.

That's AROTC only. All Air Force commissions are active duty.
 

kinnem

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Yeah, you are absolutely right. It is very late in the game and it was not on purpose. My parents said they were going to help me out with money but job and financial problems unexpectedly happened so I am on my own for now. I can't go to a community college and transfer since you need a minimum of 3 years in AFROTC. I guess private loans are my only choice. I know you are more likely to get active duty going to a SMC and commission benefits involve BHA so at least I won't be homeless.
You're assuming that every credit hour you earned at your community college will be accepted by the college you transfer to. That is almost certainly not the case.
 

SpydreX

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Here's an example, using the AFROTC unit at UMD - note the list of state schools, consortium schools, cross-town schools and community colleges. You don't have to be a student at UMD at College Park, MD.

You're assuming that every credit hour you earned at your community college will be accepted by the college you transfer to. That is almost certainly not the case.

I hadn't thought about that. Thanks for telling me, this gives me a lot to think about then.
 

glen

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SpydreX - unfortunately, today obtaining a commission through ROTC is much more complicated - and costly than it used to be. But persistance always outweighs every other characteristic of successful individuals. I had not realized that the Air Force units have cross town enrollments - or that Community Colleges were included. The information provided by Capt MJ above is absolutely a golden opportunity if you are in that area. You will take the same ROTC courses as students in the four year program and know that Air Force will put you into the Advance Course if you do well in the cross town program. If you are not in the area, search around and see if you can find a similar cross enrollment program at a nearby Community College. Do well your first year and maybe you will be able to transfer and be able to qualify for a 3 year scholarship. No one will care where you obtained your first or second year of college.
 

conrack

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more and more students coming out of high school are joining the guard and reserve to get the GI Bill benefits, I don't know the particulars about how much it pays but every bit helps. Also the time you spend as an enlisted member would count toward your retirement and pay if you are eventually commissioned; having prior service time will also look good when applying for an ROTC scholarship and pilot slot.
 

SGTLee

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My DS is an SMP cadet at a different SMC (Army). As the others have said, I am fairly certain Air Force does not offer a similar program. I am also very familiar with USMC PLC, etc. PM me and I can tell you exactly the financial benefits, risk/reward, etc. Also, my DS was accepted to all SMC's, including the Citadel (which he liked very much) but did not secure a national or academic scholarship. The $48K per year (all-in) cost for being out-of-state was a factor but in the end, he is where he was meant to be regardless of the $$. Again, I have plenty of intel to share.
 
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