Complicated situation: grad school, brigade scholarship, two battalions


Mar 16, 2019
Posting this for my DS--and apologies right away for the likelihood that I will get some jargon wrong.

Situation: son is a senior in college, graduating this May. He's been participating in ROTC for past year and a half (non-scholarship, obviously). He intends to earn a MA and has applied for a brigade scholarship, which he thinks he will likely get: he's has a perfect score on his PT; he was a Ranger Challenge alternate; he has a good GPA; and, he's a varsity athlete.

Here's the dilemma: he has been accepted to two grad program: one at current school and one at university close to undergrad institution. He did not think he would get into this second program--it is ranked #1 nationally. His undergrad institution also has a highly ranked program, but it's not #1.

Second school also has a ROTC program; however, son does not want to transfer into it, as it is quite large and--as I understand it--he would lose standing, have to forge new relationships, etc.

When he was applying to programs, the cadre leadership told him that he would be able to use scholarship at different institution and remain with current battalion at his undergraduate institution. Now leadership is telling him that attending a different school while remaining with undergrad battalion will be a "difficult" and will involve an agreement with other school. Leadership has says that other school may say no and that there would need to be conversations between two schools' PMSs.

My questions: can someone please help me understand what such an agreement would entail? Also, if he indicates he wishes to attend other school, could he risk losing scholarship? Is it really a hassle to participate in one battalion but apply a scholarship to another school?

Thank you.
Ranger Challenge, so that means he's in AROTC, right?

He's in his second year of ROTC. Does that mean although he's a senior he's taking MS2 classes?

From what you describe, it sounds like it makes the most sense to stay at his current school for a number of reasons, particularly if it means keeping the scholarship (which he hasn't received yet). MS3 is when they begin to be assigned major responsibilities and are evaluated by the PMS for OML purposes. Starting at a new battalion as an MS3 at a cross-town school with new colleagues and a new cadre would be much more difficult. After he's commissioned there will be plenty of time when he finds himself thrown into new situations.
Yes--AROTC; and, yes, MS2.

RE: the scholarship--he has not yet been notified; however, the current's institution's financial aid offer, which he received right after notification of admittance, is strange. The tuition for the program is very high, yet the parent and student contribution indicate $0; nor was he offered loans to cover the tuition.

It might be helpful to know that one of the persons who wrote a letter of rec is one of the cadre officers; and while he didn't see the letter, this person may have indicated his likelihood of receiving a scholarship. The other institution offered him no aid, including no loans, which, like I said, is strange.

He absolutely does not want to switch battalions, for the reasons you mentioned.

I guess the questions I'm really asking are about the scholarship and the MOU process if he would opt for other school:
  • how are brigade scholarships granted? Subjective process? Objective measures?
  • if he would opt for other school, could cadre leadership at current school decide against his receiving scholarship?
  • if he would opt for other school and remains within current battalion, what kind of arrangement needs to be made with ROTC at other school? (His current school's leadership has mentioned the hassle of MOUs and the possibility that other school may not agree...). I guess I don't understand what this means.
An MOU is a Memorandum of Understanding, really a cooperation agreement, between two educational institutions. Below is a link to a recent MOU. It appears to be a multi-year agreement involving multiple students. In this case it is between a community college and a four-year school, but it is probably similar to the agreement between cross-town colleges participating in a single ROTC program. In my cursory reading I did not notice any mention of scholarships. That's not to say what you are investigating can't be accomplished, but it appear to be complicated even without the money. ROTC MOU.pdf
Whether he goes to the top ranked school or the near top ranked school isn't going to make a bit of difference in the long run. He won't even be looking for a job for another 8 years and by then he'll be selling his leadership skills in addition to his technical skills in his chosen field. If he would be looking for a job right out of college I might say go with #1, but he's not.

I never buy the best.... I buy the good value. The best is never worth the price difference (not that we're talking $$$$ here).
Totally agree with Kinnem (as usual) - what are the goals? Get the graduate degree and become an officer, or go to the number one program in his field? And like Kinnem said he won’t be in the civilian workforce for awhile, unless he is looking to go into the National Guard?

As far as the financial offer from the second institution, he could make a quick call to financial aid on Monday and can get a better understanding on that offer.

Sounds like he has options and good ones, good luck to your son!