"ISR" NROTC Award comes with a pretty big Catch-22

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This morning, DS got a call from his NROTC recruiter saying that he must make his decision by Monday 1/6. Accept the "Immediate Scholarship Reservation" or decline the scholarship and "take his chances" waiting on USNA. This is not a case of an 18 year old misunderstanding... I was standing next to him and he held the phone a bit away from his ear so I could hear the recruiter. We did not even know what "ISR" was until we looked it up on the forum acronym list. DS was shell-shocked, but polite and professional. Upon hanging up, DS called his BGO who then reached out to his own network for NROTC-specific knowledge. Apparently, DS received an award specific to the regional command. His application was never submitted to the national NROTC board. It was pulled out of the pool in order to consider him for the command's 200K 4 yr NROTC scholarship. DS was never told that this additional layer of interviews would mean he has to choose between SAs and NROTC. He told everyone in the 4 interview NROTC process that he had applications in for USNA, USMA and USAFA and that USNA was his first choice. They know he has MOC nominations for USNA and USMA and our 2 senators' Nominations are still up in the air. The very first time DS learned that this ISR NROTC award was "take it or leave it" was this morning. If he does not accept the scholarship and commit 100% to becoming an NROTC midshipman, they will give this scholarship to the next in line. Recruiter made a point of saying that if DS does not accept this, the $200,000 will go to "a kid you already beat out".

When pressed, the recruiter admitted that DS could request for his NROTC application to be returned to the national NROTC pool. DS completed his NROTC application in the fall as BGO advised, so three boards have already come and gone. The NROTC recruiter said that he could be "back in the pool" by mid January and be looked at by the February NROTC board. The recruiter admitted that the pressure to accept the ISR by Monday is based on quotas and the command "looks bad" if they don't have the ISRs filled. I've been a physician recruiter for almost 30 years...if DS turns down the ISR scholarship in order to wait on USNA decision, my fear is that this recruiter will negatively tag this application as it goes back to the national pool. All it takes is a few words from a trusted insider to derail a candidate in any competitive process. So if DS follows his heart (as of this afternoon) and declines the ISR to wait on USNA appointment decision, he may end up with no Navy at all because he did too well on his Plan B Application and interviews? If he tells the recruiter on Monday that he accepts and is 100% committed to being an NROTC midshipman and then backs out if appointed to USNA, what does that mean for our family's values for honesty, integrity, and keeping your word?

My heart is breaking. What would you advise if this were your DS?
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
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You could search around the forums for discussions about the ISR. I know there’s discussion out there!
 

NavyHoops

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I would tell your DS to follow his heart. At the end of the day that is the path that is going to lead him to no regrets regardless of the out come. He still has the national board for NROTC too if chooses to wait. Big decisions for a young man. Good luck to him.
 

SDCA

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My son was awarded the NROTC scholarship through ISR as well 2 months ago. From my understanding from the regional commander and from all the paperwork he’s received; after he accepted the scholarship he can still “un” accept and decline until the scholarship is activated when college starts. He is free to accept appointments to an academy. I’m quoting directly from his award letter: “Your acceptance of this scholarship nomination does not obligate you to attend the NROTC program”
 
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I found it, I found it!! When he got the award, we input "ISR" in the search field and didn't strike gold....but when I spelled the words out.....it is looking more and more like we have a case of... Recruiter Overreach.
 

Norfolk63

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Take the NROTC. Then wait for USNA results. NROTC is non-binding. NROTC is automatically rescinded when a USNA plebe shows up for I-Day. If your kid doesn't get USNA this year, then he should show up for NROTC and also reapply to USNA. (please feel free to PM me for details -- my kid was in this situation).
 

kinnem

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This comes up every year with respect to ISRs. I can't speak to being removed from the pool temporarily, but the ISR does require one to commit and the chance to wait for other outcomes is lost if the ISR is accepted. I don't know that I'd call it a catch 22 but it is a catch. I strongly doubt any negative comments will attach to his NROTC application if he declines the ISR. These folks are here to help and get the best possible candidate for their scholarships... they are not out to mess with people.
 
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Update..As instructed, DS told recruiter "I accept", but would not say that he was withdrawing SA applications. ISR was rescinded later that week and DS was returned to national pool. Offer of Appt to USNA came 2/20, and NROTC scholarship offer came a few days later. So ultimately, the NTAG command was right. But it certainly would have been preferable to allow us to opt out of the ISR rather than put us through that.
 

Old Navy BGO

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his comes up every year with respect to ISRs. I can't speak to being removed from the pool temporarily, but the ISR does require one to commit and the chance to wait for other outcomes is lost if the ISR is accepted. I don't know that I'd call it a catch 22 but it is a catch. I strongly doubt any negative comments will attach to his NROTC application if he declines the ISR. These folks are here to help and get the best possible candidate for their scholarships... they are not out to mess with people.

Agree with Kinnem, this is not about pressuring Candidates to make a quick decision, but rather about filling quotas and certainty in the process. This is a little like Early Decision -- both NROTC and competitive colleges want the certainty of the core class and are willing to commit early. In return, the candidate is expected to commit early. The problem arises when candidates think that applying ISR/Early decision will improve their chances for acceptance and avoid competition in the general applicant pool. I've never seen the ISR application or rules, but suspect that they are clearly defined.
 

krcomber

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Not sure if this helps... My DS received word on his NROTC 4 yr scholarship from the 1st choice School's NROTC commander via email with 2 forms to fill out. After reading, it said he has until May 1st (2020) to accept. He could also accept online via Netfocus. He also has the option to change his college if that school's unit has space. It also says he can rescind the scholarship at any time until the first fall class. It also states he has to commit to NSI in Great Lakes training center which they pay for (there are three NSI session this summer). He also saw his application status change on his Netfocus page where he had the option to accept. He is still waiting on USNA which may be up until April 15th I think. So one does not have to know about the other and I do not think it matters, it's just timing at this point. So he accepted the scholarship on-line and will submit the forms this week. The first NSI session is during school June 9-29 the second is July 1-21 and the third Jul 23-Aug 12. I day 2020 at USNA is June 27th so he is either packing for Annapolis on the 27th or for Chicago O Hare Jul 1st or 23rd.
 

kukui704

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I have a DS who did not receive National NROTC scholarship, however was contacted by a 4 year university NROTC officer seeking his application. Application and supporting document submitted. He received notice of a "preparatory scholarship" which covers all costs of first year, and NROTC officer understands he has numerous AP credits which will transfer. Thereafter, so long as he has a minimum 2.85 and no other disqualifying demerits, etc., he obtains 4 year scholarship. DS's first choice, USNA, USAFA or USMMA. NROTC officer says contract must be returned by 3/13/20; however, no word on appointments as of today. Does signing NROTC scholarship contract take him out of running for an appointment and if he receives an appointment, can he cancel NROTC contract?
 

Heatherg21

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Not sure if this helps... My DS received word on his NROTC 4 yr scholarship from the 1st choice School's NROTC commander via email with 2 forms to fill out. After reading, it said he has until May 1st (2020) to accept. He could also accept online via Netfocus. He also has the option to change his college if that school's unit has space. It also says he can rescind the scholarship at any time until the first fall class. It also states he has to commit to NSI in Great Lakes training center which they pay for (there are three NSI session this summer). He also saw his application status change on his Netfocus page where he had the option to accept. He is still waiting on USNA which may be up until April 15th I think. So one does not have to know about the other and I do not think it matters, it's just timing at this point. So he accepted the scholarship on-line and will submit the forms this week. The first NSI session is during school June 9-29 the second is July 1-21 and the third Jul 23-Aug 12. I day 2020 at USNA is June 27th so he is either packing for Annapolis on the 27th or for Chicago O Hare Jul 1st or 23rd.
I believe I Day is June 25, at least I sure hope so, bought airline tickets yesterday based on USNA calendar.
 
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I've never seen the ISR application or rules, but suspect that they are clearly defined.
DS applied for NROTC through the national NROTC portal--no ISR or early decision application. He had an hour Skype with an NROTC commander at U of CO. A few weeks later, he was asked to come in to the NTAG office in downtown Denver. At the end of the interview with the 04, the recruiter told him that he should feel proud...that his file was "pulled" from NROTC pool to be one of the ten finalists out of 5 state region. Never, at any time, was he told that being selected meant he would be asked to give up waiting for Service Academy appointment. I just hope that next year, some family searches "ISR" on here and is better prepared than we were. Thanks to all who contributed here! I appreciated the support and help!
 

gtboy7

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I personally received the ISR NROTC Scholarship and will be declining it as I have received appointments to USMA and USNA. It’s not binding. You can still opt out if you get the ISR.
 

OkiMa

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Reviving this thread and looking for additional guidance. Recruiter called DS tonight and asked that he commit 100 percent to NROTC ISR opportunity (recommendation to his boss for the scholarship). DS would still have to interview but must make a firm commitment beforehand. DS understands what an incredible prviledge it is to be hand selected for this. He's been upfront with the recruiter about applying to SA's. DS is applying to USNA and USAFA, USNA is his first choice. He has also applied to NJROTC and AFROTC.

However, recruiter stated that if he accepted the opportunity for the recommendation to ISR and then got a yes from USNA, he would have to turn down USNA or it would be wasted money/slot for ISR. While DS is incredibly grateful for the opportunity he is reluctant to commit, while at the same time promising to give up a potential slot at USNA. I'm wondering if DS should reach out to his BGO regarding this? DS must make a decision in the next 2 days.

A side note to say I understand it's a non binding contract but to give your word in our family is binding. Is there a way around this?
 

ProudDad17

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Reviving this thread and looking for additional guidance. Recruiter called DS tonight and asked that he commit 100 percent to NROTC ISR opportunity (recommendation to his boss for the scholarship). DS would still have to interview but must make a firm commitment beforehand. DS understands what an incredible prviledge it is to be hand selected for this. He's been upfront with the recruiter about applying to SA's. DS is applying to USNA and USAFA, USNA is his first choice. He has also applied to NJROTC and AFROTC.

However, recruiter stated that if he accepted the opportunity for the recommendation to ISR and then got a yes from USNA, he would have to turn down USNA or it would be wasted money/slot for ISR. While DS is incredibly grateful for the opportunity he is reluctant to commit, while at the same time promising to give up a potential slot at USNA. I'm wondering if DS should reach out to his BGO regarding this? DS must make a decision in the next 2 days.

A side note to say I understand it's a non binding contract but to give your word in our family is binding. Is there a way around this?
When DS received an ISR 5 years ago, he was told very clearly that he could later decline it if he was applying to any SA and received an appointment (he wasn't applying). It was also made clear to him that if he received the ISR it would be expected that he would use it, except in the case of earning an SA appointment. Each recruiting region only has a limited number of ISRs to award, so they want them to be used; that seems to be what was meant by it being a wasted slot if not used. Could your DS interview with the commander, explain that he is honored by the opportunity and would use it, unless he receives an SA appointment. There may be a disconnect between what the recruiter is saying and what the actual expectation is. The recruiting district commander is the final authority on how he/she makes the awards.
 

Skipper07

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However, recruiter stated that if he accepted the opportunity for the recommendation to ISR and then got a yes from USNA, he would have to turn down USNA or it would be wasted money/slot for ISR.

This is not your DS’s problem. If the recruiting command decides to award their scholarship to a candidate they know is competitive for USNA, the. They are taking a risk.

Your son can accept a NROTC scholarship and then decide to go to USNA with no penalty.
 

nuensis

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I was bored, so I went on an instruction dumpster dive. I also hate it when recruiters mislead high school kids...I get they have to "meet mission," but it's distasteful and unethical at times.

NSTC-M 1533.2D, Regulations for Officer Development, links CNRCINST 1533.4E via an NNOA link rather than an official NETC or NSTC link...not sure why the instruction isn't on an official website.

CNRCINST 1533.4E details much more on how ISR works (if it is the current instruction). Per instruction organizations like ANSO, NNOA, and NOMA also have ISR allocations in addition to Navy Recruiting Command.

More importantly:

"6. [...] It is desirable to grant all allocated ISRs; however, this should occur only where the intent of the program is met. Failure to grant all allocated ISRs simply results in the awarding of additional Navy National Four-Year scholarships."

I read that as "don't feel bad for ditching your ISR for USNA, big Navy will reallocate those resources to another scholarship."

Additionally, NAVCRUIT form 1100/32, NROTC 4-Year ISR Contract also states: "I also understand this contract places me under no obligation to accept an NROTC scholarship."

Likely your recruiting region will "lose" the allocation (which might be why the recruiter is making the stakes seem so dire--it's fake), but I wouldn't feel bad for the recruiters. It's your path to take and your future, not theirs.

 

OkiMa

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When DS received an ISR 5 years ago, he was told very clearly that he could later decline it if he was applying to any SA and received an appointment (he wasn't applying). It was also made clear to him that if he received the ISR it would be expected that he would use it, except in the case of earning an SA appointment. Each recruiting region only has a limited number of ISRs to award, so they want them to be used; that seems to be what was meant by it being a wasted slot if not used. Could your DS interview with the commander, explain that he is honored by the opportunity and would use it, unless he receives an SA appointment. There may be a disconnect between what the recruiter is saying and what the actual expectation is. The recruiting district commander is the final authority on how he/she makes the awards.
I appreciate your feedback and thank you for the insight. I do think this is a good route. DS does want to be open and honest about where he is in the process and that he would fully intend to use it, aside from garnering an appointment.
 

OkiMa

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This is not your DS’s problem. If the recruiting command decides to award their scholarship to a candidate they know is competitive for USNA, the. They are taking a risk.

Your son can accept a NROTC scholarship and then decide to go to USNA with no penalty.
Thank you for the clarification!!
 
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