Information for Parents and Families
Welcome to our page of information for parents and families! Army ROTC classes are geared towards developing leadership skills in college students. The freshman and sophomore classes are without obligation and are tuition free. As a student progresses through Army ROTC, students may decide to pursue the opportunity to become an officer in the Active Army, Army National Guard or United States Army Reserve. There are several types of scholarships available as well the Simultaneous Membership Program. Please check out the questions and answer section for details.
Is enrolling in Army ROTC the same as joining the Army? Once my son/daughter starts taking ROTC courses, is he/she obligated to join the Army?
No, students who enroll in ROTC do not join the Army. They receive academic credit for taking ROTC classes. It's considered a college elective. Students pursue their "regular" college degree on campus like other students. Enrollment in the freshman and sophomore ROTC classes does not obligate anyone unless they are on a scholarship. However, if a student receives a ROTC scholarship, they will serve as commissioned officers in the U.S. Army after graduation.
What does it mean to be an Officer?
Being an Officer in the U.S. Army is one of the most prestigious, difficult and satisfying professions an American citizen can have. First and foremost an Officer is a leader: highly trained, disciplined and effective. An Officer must be able to quickly make smart decisions under stress. Many former Army Officers have gone on to become CEOs of major corporations and have held positions of importance in government using their Officer training and experience as a competitive edge.
Does Army ROTC offer scholarships?
Yes. Each year, hundreds of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships. ROTC awards scholarships to students studying science, engineering, nursing, and business, as well as a variety of other majors.
How often are Army ROTC scholarships awarded?
ROTC Scholarships are awarded each semester. There are 2, 2 ½, 3, 3 ½, and 4 year scholarships available to qualified applicants. High school applicants compete on a national level for scholarships. The deadline is January 10 for each year. After January 10, applications are accepted at the local level only – directly to our department. The 4 year scholarship window is March of your junior year through January 10 of your senior year in high school. Applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of a 2.5 and a minimum ACT of 19 or SAT of 920.
To apply for a campus-based scholarship, please contact our department at 605-688-6151 or by email.
What kinds of scholarships are available in Army ROTC? Are any scholarships retroactive?
Army ROTC scholarships vary based on the length of time remaining for students to complete their degrees. There are two-, three-, and four-year scholarships that pay for tuition and fees or room and board. Scholarships also include annual book allowances and a monthly stipend. If awarded a scholarship and eligibility requirements are met before the end of the semester, tuition and fees will be paid for that semester.
How much does ROTC usually award and what does the money go toward?
Army ROTC scholarships pay for tuition and academic fees or room and board, which is capped at the average cost on campus. Scholarship winners also receive an annual book allowance, as well as a stipend worth up to $4,000 per academic year.
On what basis are scholarship winners chosen?
ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government or part-time work.
What is my son's/daughter's service obligation for receiving scholarship benefits, or for enrollment in the ROTC Advanced Course?
Everyone incurs an eight year obligation. Scholarship recipients have the following options, which are dependent on the type of scholarship:
- Four years active duty and the remaining four years in the Army National Guard (ARNG), United States Army Reserve (USAR), or the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR)
- Eight years in the Army National Guard (ARNG)
- Eight years in the United States Army Reserve (USAR)
Non-scholarship students must serve three years active duty and the remaining five years in the Army National Guard (ARNG), United States Army Reserve (USAR), or the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR)
Is there a military obligation during college?
ROTC cadets have no military obligation while attending college.
Can only scholarship winners enroll in ROTC?
Anyone can enroll in ROTC classes. And regardless of whether you are a scholarship winner or not, all ROTC books, supplies and equipment are furnished at no cost to you.
Why should my young adult choose Army ROTC over a different ROTC?
The Army offers a wider range of career opportunities, in more countries around the world, than any other military branch.
Are all college majors compatible with Army ROTC?
Most academic majors at SDSU are compatible with ROTC. Students are enrolled in various majors at SDSU to include history, engineering, nursing, chemistry, computer science, interdisciplinary studies, and economics.
Is ROTC like "boot camp?"
No. ROTC cadets go directly to SDSU where they earn their degree. Students attend their normal classes and participate in ROTC activities. ROTC requires cadets to take a monthly Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), attend the semester field training exercise (FTX), and participate in monthly ROTC labs. Physical training occurs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 0645 to 0745. Juniors and seniors have their ROTC class from 0800 to 0900. These classes review Army history, techniques and principles of leadership and management, and tactical operations. FTX's occur every fall and spring semester at Camp Ripley, MN and Camp Rapid, SD. Here cadets practice the basics of squad training exercises, breaking down and issuing operations orders (OPORDs), and land navigation. Cadets also attend Leader Development and Assessment Course typically between their junior and senior year. This is a four week summer course at Ft Lewis, WA.
How much time does ROTC take up weekly?
ROTC courses take up no more than other college electives. All that is required is a few hours a week. Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college student. A typical week of a cadet consists of physical training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 0645 to 0745. Junior and senior cadets have class from 0800 to 0900 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and leadership labs are every other Tuesday.
What are Army ROTC courses like? How will the class work help my young adult?
Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and a lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on training as well as classroom work, they are standard college courses that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses help students with personal and academic decision making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in life.
What do the ROTC classes consist of?
Freshman and sophomore classes study Army history, organization and structure. The techniques and principles of leadership and management are stressed throughout. Junior and senior classes teach tactical operations and military instruction as well as advanced techniques of management, leadership and command. ROTC trains students to become Officers in the Army, positions of great responsibility.
What can students expect to "get" from ROTC?
ROTC prepares cadets for officership both physically and mentally with classroom work and adventure/leadership training. Possible exercises could include leading cadets while rappelling, white-water rafting or rock climbing.
What good is Army ROTC for a career outside of the Army?
Army ROTC is one of the only college courses that teaches leadership. ROTC training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing, motivating people or fostering teamwork. Young Army Officers are typically responsible for hundreds of Soldiers and millions of dollars of equipment; this kind of management experience can be very attractive to post-Army employers.
What are the chances that my young adult will be deployed to support the Global War on Terrorism?
While in college, cadets are non-deployable. After graduation, the possibility of deployment depends on the Army branch the Cadet chooses and the unit that he/she is assigned. Army missions and challenges are always changing, so there's no way to know in advance what specialties and units will be needed and where they will be needed. All Soldiers recognize the possibility of deployment at some point during their careers.
Can my young adult go into the Army Reserve or National Guard after graduation instead of the regular Army?
Yes. Selected Cadets may choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserves or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.
What is the typical career path for an Army Officer? What careers are available?
Army ROTC graduates are commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants (2LT). They receive specialized training in one of 16 different Army career branches. During their Army careers, they'll receive regular professional training as they advance through the ranks and they'll have many opportunities for advanced leadership positions and post-graduate education.
What kind of salary and benefits will my young adult earn as a commissioned Army Officer?
- 30 days paid vacation each year
- Full medical and dental coverage for self and dependents
- Free on-post housing
- Travel pay
- Inexpensive and tax-free shopping
- The opportunity for early retirement
- Thrift Savings Plan (the Army's 401k)
- Inexpensive life insurance for dependents
- The opportunity to attend graduate school
- Active duty Second Lieutenants earn approximately $46,000 annually (pay and housing allowances; 2006
- Within three years, the ROTC graduate on active duty will be a First Lieutenant earning approximately $54,210 annually
- Second Lieutenants in the Reserve or National Guard earn approximately $5,000 annually working one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Reserve officers can easily quadruple their annual earnings as they progress in rank
- All Army Officers are eligible to receive special pay for flying, parachuting, relocating, hazardous duty, etc