ROTC makes college happen

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Hannah Hartline
Staff Writer

With the costs of attending college rising, some students are turning to alternate methods to pay for school. While some choose to take federal aid through Pell Grants and student loans, some of Troy’s students are looking for other means of paying for college.
Troy University’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs offer multiple opportunities for students looking to go to college and start careers in the military.
Jarrod Mack, a senior political science major from Robertsdale, said that joining the Army ROTC was not initially the plan. He intended to directly enlist within the Army, but a push from his dad set him on the path to joining the ROTC instead.
“I got in because originally, I wanted to enlist out of high school but decided it was best to go to college,” Mack said. “My dad found out about the Army ROTC scholarship, which I applied for and received.”
ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and offers two-, three- and four-year scholarships to students who would be open to serving up to four years in the Army after graduating from college.
Students receiving the scholarships from the Army ROTC are given a monthly stipend dependent upon class rank, and may also receive one of 15 housing scholarships that Troy University donates to the program.
Students can receive between $300-$500 for a monthly stipend in both Air Force and Army ROTC, depending upon class rank.
The program has high demands of potential cadets. Mack said his process began during high school.
“I had to apply during my junior year of high school, and it required a physical (medical) examination, a physical fitness test administered by my high school JROTC instructor, a GPA of 3.0 and an interview with a college ROTC instructor,” Mack said.
The requirements are similar for students interested in the Air Force ROTC, which offers similar benefits.
Air Force ROTC offers three different types of scholarships, with special consideration given to those in technical or science majors.
The scholarships are not activated until the student enlists in the Obligated Reserve Section of the United States Air Force Reserve, signs a contract and passes the medical, moral, fitness and physical qualifications required to be a cadet.
Students who are interested in learning more about these programs can visit the respective ROTC offices. The Army ROTC office is located at 720 Elm St. and available online at trojan.troy.edu/armyrotc.
The Air Force ROTC office is located in McCartha Hall, Suite 1, on Troy’s main campus.
With all of the effort and strict requirements to apply and to keep the scholarships provided by the ROTC offices, I believe that they are well worth the effort put into them.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success, 7 in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,400 per borrower.
Fifty-four percent of Alabama students from those institutions have student loan debts, with the average amount owned slightly higher than the national average, of $28,895.
The ROTC offices do a good job in producing disciplined, well-rounded students who have determination to succeed. I believe that this marks another plus in the column for the effectiveness of ROTC, while reducing the amount of student loan debt taken out by students.

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