The Air Force ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps], a program that prepares cadets for a possible career path through the U.S. Air Force, is offering new scholarships to students wishing to take part in the program.
According to Captain Jack Miller, admissions officer for the Air Force ROTC, freshmen majoring in electrical engineering and meteorology are eligible for scholarships of $15,000 a year.
Sophomores and juniors are eligible for the same amount of money, but the scholarships are offered in a wider variety of majors.
“These scholarships require commitment, but is rewarded with 80 percent tuition or about $21,000 a year if you maintain a 3.5 G.P.A. as a freshmen and a 3.0 as a sophomores,” Miller said.
For those who do not fall under the select technical degree scholarships, there are two-year scholarships available for all academic majors, which are valued in the amount of $3,000 per year.
In addition to the scholarship money, the program also provides cadets with $500 for books each year and a $300-400 monthly stipend that is non-taxable.
All applicants must meet certain criteria which include proving U.S. citizenship, having good academic standing, meeting physical fitness standards and meeting medical requirements.
Miller emphasizes that the program is diverse and is open to all who wish to join.
“Many students may be under the impression that this is a male-dominated program, but that is not the case. 40 percent of the enrolled program is female,” he said.
According to Miller, ROTC cadets also have the advantage of combining their scholarships provided through the U.S. Air Force program with the scholarships provided to them by the University.
“If these scholarships combined are equal to the total cost of tuition, they can use the excess amount given to them towards room and board,” said Capt. Miller.
Currently, the ROTC program is active in many colleges and universities in South Florida such as Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Memorial College, Embry-Riddle Miami, Lynn University and both Broward and Miami-Dade Community Colleges.
“Being an electrical engineering major, there is no emphasis on people skills, but being in the program helps me get the leadership skills I need,” said Peter Hernandez, a senior at FIU and a cadet at the ROTC program.
“Through the program I have been able to learn important time-management skills, and I have learned to use the people under me in order to get things done,” said Kathy Falino, a senior at FIU and also a cadet in the program.
Many believe that the Air Force ROTC offers more than just Air Force training.
“In addition to earning their degree, cadets are also instilled with self confidence, better values, and they leave a stronger person, both mentally and physically,” Capt. Miller said.
“At graduation, cadets become second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force and will earn $37,500 starting salary per year. Graduates also are entitled to 30 days vacation, full medical benefits and the instillment of pride for serving their country,” he said.
Officers in the Air Force ROTC stress the fact that enrollment in the program will benefit students regardless of which career path they choose.
“Private industry loves cadets from the ROTC program because the industry that is hiring knows that they are getting people who are not only experienced but also loyal and efficient in their field,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ronald A. Kosobucki, commander and professor of aerospace studies.
“After four years of service in the United States Air Force, a person can come out of the force with so many technical skills and experience in their field that they can just about pick any job they would like,” Miller said.
The Air Force ROTC office is located in the Rhodes House, room 37W.
For more information on the program or on how to enroll in the courses, contact Capt. Miller at 305-284-2870 or visit the ROTC web site at http://www.afrotc.com