Before abolishing the draft, it seemed as though a lot more veterans attended college. They did their mandatory two years and went to school using the GI Bill.
Nowadays, with changes in the GI Bill, many students are able to use their father or mother’s GI Bill benefits to help defray the expense of college. There are other ways, however, that the military will pay for your schooling.
One way that can be very beneficial is through the Army National Guard Scholarship Program. There are two programs: a four-year scholarship program and a two-year program. The programs are similar in some ways to the ROTC scholarship programs, but with different requirements and school-year obligations.
The requirements are definitely less stringent than those required to be competitive for an ROTC scholarship:
- U.S. citizenship
- Minimum high school GPA of 2.5 (with ROTC you need over a 3.5 to be competitive)
- A minimum score of 920 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT (If you don’t have at least 1200+ on your SAT it is unlikely you can get an ROTC scholarship)
- Complete the ROTC Basic Course requirements or Basic Combat Training
- Pass a medical exam
The four-year program, called the DEDNG or Dedicated Army National Guard Scholarship, pays tuition, a book stipend of $1200 per year and monthly stipend or allowance beginning in your sophomore year. The monthly stipends add up. During your sophomore year, you receive $350/month, junior year $450/month and senior year $500.
The catch, so to speak, is that you must enroll in the Simultaneous Membership Program, or SMP, with a National Guard Unit. This means you serve in your local National Guard Unit while attending college. You also must enroll in the ROTC courses at your college.
In addition to the stipend beginning in your sophomore year, you get paid $225 per month drill pay beginning as soon as you join the program. There are other benefits too. The time spent as an undergraduate in the National Guard counts toward your military retirement. There is even a $10,000 bonus, should you choose to get commissioned through ROTC after Basic Officer Leadership Course III or BOLC III.
The second type of Army National Guard Scholarship is called the Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty or GRFD scholarship. The scholarship is basically the same, but geared toward students entering their junior year of college or who are in graduate school.
The service obligation upon graduation for both programs is the same as for ROTC graduates. You can apply for active duty or stay in the National Guard or reserves. However, given that your four years with the National Guard counts toward your retirement, you will be eligible for retirement at the same time as ROTC scholarship cadets, but your retirement will be calculated based on the four extra years of service with the National Guard.
This is a really good deal for college students willing to give up one weekend a month of college parties!
Disclaimer: The content of this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical