and his post but speaking from VT, I wanted to clarify a few facts on behalf of VTCC in case they are accidentally misinterpreted from his post. There are approximately 30,000 students at Virginia Tech, of which approximately 1,100 are in the Corps of Cadets. Only 8,000 students live on campus, and the Corps makes up 1,100 of those, so it makes the campus feel smaller than it actually is. The faculty/student ratio is 1:17, and most classes beyond the first year classes tend to be about 1:17. The civilian students on campus love the Corps and respectfully embrace its heritage and the cadets (except at the annual "civilians vs. cadets snowball fight", then all bets are off).
Also, my NROTC DD is interested in study abroad and here are the facts --VTCC cadets can attend any study abroad program offered by the university - and there are 100s (literally). The majority are broken up into programs you pay VT tuition for and programs where you pay tuition at the host university (there are also self-funded and organized study abroads and faculty-led study abroads). The VTCC supports two study abroad programs- one studying WWI and one studying WWII the spring semester prior, followed by a mostly funded trip to Europe. The Corps also organizes and leads an Olmsted Foundation study abroad, typically to Panama - which funds ROTC cadets and two Citizen-Leader Track cadets. Corps ROTCs also earn many Project GO slots each year- Project GO is a DOD-funded summer study abroad language program available to contracted ROTC cadets, and cadets may apply and attend any school's Project GO study abroad. Parents whose cadets have done this say it's an amazing experience and a very effective way to gain expertise in critical languages the school may not offer and that the Army wants.
Of course, like at the other SMC's, college ROTC programs, and even the SA's - all three ROTC programs offer their own versions of study abroad for scholarship cadets - like Navy cruises, Air Force sends many students to China to study abroad as their summer training, and Army has a program called Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP) with all kinds of amazing places to go. (Apparently, Latvia is especially popular right now). These opportunities are available to all ROTC cadets across the nation, but senior military colleges like TAMU and VT tend to push their cadets to apply to them more.
As for the funding, I think it depends on how you view it and so @JAGman
is only partially correct. Virginia Tech has just poured *enormous* resources into a complete overhaul of the Upper Quad and the entire residential and learning experience for the Corps - including tearing down old dorms and building two huge, state of the art Corps-dedicated residence halls (complete with special spaces that only the Corps needs - like mudrooms). Next, they are restoring the original original "Barracks 1" - the historic Lane Hall (1872) at the center of the UQ and have committed the funding to building a spectacular new Corps/Military Science building in the future to complete the Upper Quad overhaul. We visited two summers ago when they were completing the second hall and prior to them tearing down two older ones and we have seen the plans for the new Corps/Military Science building. All the Corps lives in these new halls now. If you have seen the pictures on the VTCC webpages, you can see these incredible spaces.
The Corps has also reported to us parents that the university also added investment in to new obstacles to the obstacle course that apparently more accurately reflects the different training standards across ROTC programs and they have started work on a new underwater obstacle course the VTCC's former-SEAL Deputy Commandant has been able to work with the university to install. They tell us a new high ropes course is in the works, and in conjunction with the university, a new "Extreme Sports Team" that combines the best cadets with the best civilian students from across campus to compete in national extreme sports competitions.
So, like I said, it depends on how you define funding support at any given time - it can be that in a given year the funding per cadet may vary, but regardless I think it is unmistakable the financial support and commitment that the university has to the VTCC given these recent investments.
As a parent, I can say that in our research, commissioning source numbers seemed to be *very fluid* depending on the source. What we did learn was this: if you have more cadets in your program, you will, on a headcount basis, commission more officers. But we also found this out - so much of the ROTC commissioning -- to active duty -- is dictated by their own regulations, that the percentages between SMCs is minimal as a result. And even then, there are just so many variables involved. So when we ask the question "what are the chances my cadet will have an active duty commission after graduation?" the answer we found was this - all senior military colleges fall under the same rules. Air Force and Navy commission active duty officers - they may have a delay between graduation and starting with pay, but they will be active duty. (And excuse me if I get this part not 100% since we are Navy but an Army parent confirmed) - my understanding is that Army is regulated by Title X law which says that all senior military college graduates will get active duty IF they receive their Professor of Military Sciences' recommendation. At VTCC, the recommendations seem to be about the top 90-95% of the ROTC class receive a recommendation to commission on active duty for the Army.
There are differences between the SMC's but I don't think we ever saw it as one is better than the other. TAMU is a great school, so is VMI, Citadel and VTCC and the others - and this is something on which I think @JAGman
and I would agree -- that at all senior military colleges you will receive more leadership opportunities in an 24/7 environment compared to an ROTC-only program. You need to visit the SMC's you are considering and see which one is the best fit for you. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them, if a senior military college is the right fit for you. TAMU and VT share the heritage of founding and traditions as a senior military college but also adds the major research university component with it. Both are extremely good academic institutions and the diploma from them is well-respected. In the end, you have to see which one speaks to you. My DD walked onto the Upper Quad at VT and it just felt like "home."
To all of you here - good luck and BZ to you and your future cadets - they sound like unbelievable kids and their desire to serve humbles us all. Oh, and GO HOKIES!