Contracted MS3 Considering Disenrollment

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by djames, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. djames

    djames Member

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    Hello,

    I am a current junior at a Big Ten school. I have had the Army ROTC Scholarship since out of high school, but am now planning on disenrolling from ROTC. I have been in the program for 3 years now, and there has not been a single point where I have enjoyed being a part of it. Each year I tell myself to just push through and that it will be better next year, but frankly it has not improved whatsoever. There are several reasons I believe it is time for me to disenroll, but the two I believe are the most important are:
    1) I originally accepted the scholarship with the mentality that I would only accept it to go Active Duty. I have now accepted that I would not like to go down that route. I am an Aerospace Engineering major and absolutely love what I do. With the amount of effort I put into my major, it would absolutely kill me to just graduate and never touch anything in my field again for a minimum of 5 years. I also have zero desire to join the National Guard or Reserves. I feel that the Army would just become a nuisance to me at that point, and that I would just be counting down the days until I can get out.
    2) I do not like other ROTC cadets. I cannot explain why, but I would absolutely dread working with a large majority of cadets I have met. I have met many from other schools, and even a lot from West Point (I had the opportunity to attend Cadet Field Training last summer.) I feel like it would be a terrible decision for me to join an organization where I dislike so many people.

    With all this being said, I was hoping I could receive some advice on the best way to go about disenrolling. I have not gone to Advanced Camp yet, and am not scheduled to go until the summer after my 4th year (I am a 5 year student.) Will there be an interest rate when I have to pay back the scholarship? Also do I just pay back the scholarship, or will I have to payback the textbook and monthly stipend as well? Finally, I know it is possible for me to be required to payback my scholarship through time on Active Duty, but I have never heard of this happening to anybody. Is it likely whatsoever that this would be required of me? Thank you in advance for any suggestions or advice any of you might have.
     
  2. Akrogan

    Akrogan 5-Year Member

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    Big mistake...ROTC kids can be annoying no doubt, but just stick it out and do the minimum in Guard or Reserves.

    Do not, do not, make this mistake.

    Stick it out, the next 10 years will go by regardless.
     
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  3. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    OP: I am not going to judge, critique, or try to convince you to stay in. You asked for advice about getting out - these are questions your unit staff can answer. You may want to seek input and counsel on your "feelings" and viewpoints also - you won't be the first student second guessing your decision.
     
  4. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent 5-Year Member

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    Previous poster input is correct - reconsider and talk to cadre.
    Please read your copy of the contract DA Form 597-3
    Will there be an interest? - yes per contract
    will I have to payback the textbook? - yes per contract
    monthly stipend? I don't know - the contract is not clear
    5. Terms of Disenrollment
    upload_2017-2-26_23-14-3.png
    If the attachment can't be seen use the APD.Mil website for DA Form 597-3
    http://www.apd.army.mil/pub/eforms/DR_a/pdf/A597_3.pdf



     
  5. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Try to find a very old thread by the poster gojira.
    ~ Her DS was forced disenrollment to the tune of @145K.

    Short story. They wanted it repaid within 4 yrs, plus interest, starting 6 mos after his graduation. They had to hire an attorney and fight for it to be spread over 10 yrs.

    Think about this long and hard. Talk to the folks. Talk to a financial planner.
    ~ Let's say you start at 70K, add the interest, textbooks, etc. You can be at 100K to be repaid in 4 yrs. Can you afford 25K per yr? Plus, now that you are no longing getting those last 2 yrs in scholarship, can the folks afford to pay that bill or will you have to take students loans, meaning you could be at 15oK by the time you graduate.
    ~~ Seek out a financial advisor so they can say how much you have to earn annually to repay your loan(s), pay rent, car payment, insurance, cell phone, food, utilities, etc.

    I am not saying stay. I am saying that part of being an adult is making tough choices and having to suck it in because it is the best choice out of the options available.

    OBTW, I can't recall the threads, but only recently were there 2 threads where they were forced to go enlisted, I believe 1 was AF and 1 was Navy, or maybe they were Army. The thing is if they are not meeting their enlistment goals, than they have the right to not offer the scholarship payback and require enlistment.
    ~ As always when it comes to the military the cliche is SERVICE before SELF.
     
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  6. djames

    djames Member

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    All,

    This information has been very helpful. A friend of mine who went to Advanced Camp last summer decided to disenroll in his last semester at school. I think it sounds like my best option is to wait and see what his outcome turns out to be, and to discuss my concerns with my Cadre. I know another cadet was disenrolled from the program last year for failing a drug test and apparently he only had to pay back tuition with a low interest rate and was allowed to keep all his stipend money. After reading through the contract, it all seems very ambiguous. I appreciate the lack of judgement, as this is a personal decision which I feel is best for me.
     
  7. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Keep in mind, that the needs of the Army will be paramount. With a goal 8,000 recruits this year, there is every motivation on the Army's part to use a situation like yours to fill an enlisted spot.
    A few years back, when the Army was downsizing, this wasn't so much the case.

    Choose wisely.
     
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  8. txpotato

    txpotato 5-Year Member

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    A friend's son quit NROTC at MIT after his second year. He has to repay close to 100K. But he's graduating a year early with an engineering degree from MIT. He already has a job lined up and his income will more than allow easy repayment. Bottom line: do what's best for you after careful consultations with your family and cadre.
     
  9. madhttr

    madhttr AROTC Dad

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    I don't have anything to add to what appears to be sober advice to the OP about dis-enrolling. The OP obviously has to make a decision best for their own situation, but for the sake of others reading this forum, I'm curious about two assumptions in the reasons given by the OP.

    1. That the Army would not provide some outlet for an Aerospace Engineering major to use what they have learned. I get that the OP may be very marketable in the private sector and prefer to start working rather than being in the Army, but it just strikes me as odd that the OP would assume that those skills would not be used in some way. I ask this not to address the OP's specific major but for all majors, especially STEM, wouldn't it make sense for the Army to leverage that knowledge to the extent possible?
    2. On the issue of "liking" other ROTC cadets, I suspect it may vary between battalions, but wouldn't ROTC cadets mirror the larger society to a large extent (except for a few self-selection type issues like pacifism, conscientious objectors, etc.)? Seems to me the issue is not liking other cadets, but rather respecting them. None of us will ever like all the people we work with, but if we respect each other we can have a productive working relationship. By the OP's admission this is obviously a subjective issue, but is there something about ROTC cadets that wouldn't be present in other organizations?

    Recognizing that the OP may have other significant reasons and not trying to contradict what is a very personal decision, but asking for the sake of others who are not contracted yet.
     
  10. djames

    djames Member

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    This is a question I had always wondered as well, but have yet to find a solution to. I had always thought that there would be jobs where the Army would want its own people to work with the civil contractors at NASA, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, etc. However, after doing research and reaching out to my cadre, I found out that those positions do not exist. For my major specifically, the closest I could ever get to applying it to my career in the army would be to be to apply to join as a FA40 (Army Space OPS.)

    I go to a very good engineering school and sadly most of the MS3s and MS4s in STEM majors really start to feel regrets about joining ROTC in their 3rd and 4th years (once its too late) because we realize we will never be able to use our major, which we worked extremely hard to get. This leads to a vast majority of us deciding to join the Guard/Reserves. Not only this, but the OML is extremely unfair towards STEM majors at our school as our GPAs on average are significantly lower than non-STEM majors, making us very hesitant to compete for Active Duty and receive a branch we do not desire. I'm not one to complain of how this is unfair, but there is definitely a significant divide the STEM majors hold between themselves and non-STEM majors. Just my two cents on the topic.
     
  11. MohawkArmyROTC

    MohawkArmyROTC Recruiting Operations Officer

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    Actually STEM majors are given a boost over non-STEM in terms of the National accessions OML. I have attached the accessions OML to the bottom of my post (ADM 4 = Engineer, ADM 3 = Math and Science, ADM 5 = Nurse, ADM 1/2 (non-STEM) get zero points for Academic Discipline. I would be shocked if your actual program penalized you for having a STEM major.

    If you are an engineer, you will also have a preference towards branching Engineer. Although, you won't be conducting any Aerospace Engineering in the Army.

    I don't think anyone in Army ROTC has been forced onto active duty for being disenrolled, as those who want to pay back the scholarship are generally allowed to. The exact terms are handled on a case by case basis.

    This biggest consequences for disenrollment is the financial obligation to pay back the Army and the fact you will get a negative re-enlistment code. You should talk to the ROO at your school for more specific details about your particular situation. Eight yrs in the Reserves is a small price to pay for a 4YR scholarship, however if you do not think it is worth it, then you should quit so your scholarship money can go to someone else who wants to be there.

    If you dislike all cadets that you have encountered, the problem is probably not with them, and you will work with other people similar to them in other organizations.


    upload_2017-2-27_14-38-14.png
     
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  12. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    :thumb:
     
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  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    While your battalion may not give you any advantage for STEM majors, the National OML put together by Cadet Command for the purpose of selecting Active Duty and Branching does take into consideration your major and adds extra points for STEM to compensate for the GPA.

    I believe that you would not be required to pay back the stipend money, just the items listed in the contract. There will be interest and you may need to push to get the payment terms extended.

    You are not alone in your concern that you will graduate with a degree that you may not use for a while if you go Active Duty. Just realize that you're not losing your degree although you would be away from it for awhile before you could start looking for a job in your field.

    One thing to consider is that if you do decide to go National Guard or Reserve you can select your branch if the unit has an opening for a 2LT in that branch, it gives you more flexibility to find a unit that has the branch you want.

    As far as liking cadets, I have two sons that commissioned through AROTC. The oldest had a few good friends in ROTC that he still keeps in contact with, the younger son actually made most of his close friends outside of ROTC, he respected them and didn't dislike them but never had that "Band of Brothers" type of thing, I don't think he keeps in tight contact with many of his fellow cadets, and one of them lives next door to him at Ft. Rucker. Both sons have made very close friendships with those that they have met on Active Duty, the oldest one has been in two of their weddings. My point is, as odd as it seems things change once you get to Active Duty, the environment of ROTC gets pushed way back and people's attitudes change. You also have a much larger pool of people to get to know, but realize that you will always have people that you deal with that will mirror what you encounter in ROTC so that will be a big part of your decision.

    Not trying to talk you out of leaving, you have some valid points, just wanted to lend a different perspective.

    As for your main questions, Yes they can make you enlist, although that rarely happens unless the cadet requests enlistment. Talking to your cadre is important but in the end it will be up to Brigade and Cadet Command which way things go. Best of luck to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  14. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    I think the root of the problem here is either a lack of due diligence and/or a basic misunderstanding of the Army's mission. The sole purpose of ROTC and other commissioning sources is to produce junior officers who can lead soldiers, with the goal of closing with and destroying the enemy, and officers to lead/manage those soldiers who support that mission. No where in the Army mission (Especially for LTs) will you find "aerospace engineer" or "R&D research". Period.

    To be honest, the Army has all the civilian engineers with higher educations and actual experience it needs - I know - I'm sitting in a building with a few hundred of them as we speak.

    I find it odd that 2 1/2 years in to the program, OP has just realized the Army doesn't want to utilize his brand new aerospace engineering knowledge. It never did. Perhaps a glance at the list of available branches would have been prudent before now.

    I'm not impressed by OPs social struggles in his ROTC unit - maybe he should join a book club to find his people. As far as I'm concerned, he made an initial commitment to the program when accepting the scholarship, and further committed when stepping foot on campus his sophomore year and continuing to take the money. Were I to make the decision regarding payback, it would be a few years as an E-4 to add some life lessons to the mix - especially if given his stated reasons for wanting to disenroll.

    Edit: You guys were a lot nicer than I was.
     
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    The answer to that question is....They join the Air Force.
     
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  16. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    IMHO the OP is putting too much emphasis on "using their degree" as opposed to learning how to lead people and solve problems. Sitting down at the drawing board, developing designs, cranking through calculations is a great skill to have and does require the application of all that academic learning. But, the hard part is managing teams, working with others, taking management expectations and managing a team to develop viable solutions. To do that you need to know how to lead people. The military gives a young 20 year old just that opportunity. They will get so much more responsibility early in their career, more that they would ever get in the private sector. That management experience is much more valuable than "using your degree".

    But, that is just my biased opinion. I am biased, because I would much rather look at the big picture, manage people, and manage expectations than complete specific engineering design tasks.
     
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  17. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    I have been on the forum for over a year now and this is not said enough. It is pretty easy to tell who has worn the uniform of an Army Officer. The mission of West Point and AROTC is to train leaders who lead soldiers that are in close contact with the enemy. If the first answer to the question "Why do you want to go to West Point/ Army ROTC?" is not to be an Army Officer who will lead soldiers, then candidates might want to re-evaluate their decisions. The Army needs intelligent young men and women to meet this need and that is why they spend all of the time and money to educate them.

    The best advice I have for the OP is to listen to your heart and make the best decision for you but keep this in mind. The civilian world needs this same sort of leadership and they will value your military experience. Even though you may not feel it, you are leaning and practicing leadership daily in your ROTC unit. Spending time in the Army leading soldiers will make you more marketable in a few short years.
     
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  18. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    I think this concept is the exception not the rule, at least at the high school student looking at ROTC. I understand that for posters on this board, most have done more research, hence them finding this board in the first place. I just know when a ROO as my DD as a has senior on a visit. "What is the purpose of ROTC, what do we do?" She paused then answered, "you make officers". He looked really shocked and said that only about 1% of the kids he talks to answer correctly. He said he gets leadership, scholarship money, etc., but bottom line is the build officers, period. Without that there would be need for ROTC?

    As far as I know there is only one ROTC scholarship that ever guarantees a career path, and that is nursing. Besides that there has never been a career path guarantee. To the OP, Good luck with your decision, however, reconsidering reserves or the guard might be something to spend some serious time with. One of those follow through with your commitments, get to have the civilian job you want and not have to worry about starting your career with ridiculous debt. That will delay home ownershio and many other things you might want to spend your hard earned money on.
     
  19. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    There are so many benefits to being a veteran in today's society--especially if you imagine a future in which you work in the aerospace or defense industry, being a veteran is a huge boon to one's career. There is only one way to become a veteran--and that is through service to the Nation. I strongly suggest you stay the course--seek a reserve commission to get the experience of being a leader, get the experience of having served the Nation. You did not say where you attend college but perhaps you are surrounded by dunderheads. When you graduate and go off into the Army, the Army is huge and there are young men and women from all walks of life and intellect--not everyone is hooah all the time, which is expected in the training environment--but hwen it becomes a day job with real people you might like it more. It just seems you are so close. I don't know you but I would consider the lifetime benefit of leadership and service.
     
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  20. AJC

    AJC Member

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    OP, I would say; drop out and pay back the money. Your heart is not in it. Last thing your troops would need is half-hearted leadership.