The Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC as it's more commonly known, provides training for potential military officers. College students who have an interest in joining the U.S. military following graduation can join the Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy ROTC to get a taste of military life. ROTC students also have access to scholarships that often pay for most or all of a student’s college education. ROTC scholarship recipients must follow certain rules to be eligible to receive the tuition money.

General Eligibility

Each branch’s ROTC program has general rules regarding eligibility for scholarships. The Army ROTC scholarship requires students to be a U.S. citizen and between the ages of 17 and 26. For Navy and Marine ROTC scholarships, candidates must be between the ages of 17 and 23 when applying and must also be U.S. citizens. An applicant for an Air Force ROTC scholarship must be a U.S. citizen.

Educational Requirements

As with most other scholarships, applicants for a ROTC scholarship must fulfill certain educational requirements. Students must have recevied a minimum high-school grade point average of 2.5 for the Army and 3.0 for the Air Force. Scholarship applicants are also required to have minimum ACT and SAT scores that include SAT minimums of 920 for the Army, 1000 for the Marine Corps, 1050 for the Navy and 1100 for the Air Force. Minimum ACT scores must be 19 for the Army, 22 for the Marine Corps and Navy, and 24 for the Air Force.

Physical Standards

Because of the physical nature of a career in the military, ROTC students and scholarship applicants must maintain certain physical standards. Applicants for the Army ROTC scholarship must complete the Presidential Fitness Challenge Physical Fitness Test, which consists of push-ups, curl-ups and a 1-mile run. The minimum number of repetitions and timed run varies depending on the applicant’s gender. Air Force applicants must complete a physical assessment that includes push-ups, crunches and a 1.5 mile run. All applicants for all branches must also pass a physical examination by a doctor and not have any chronic conditions or diseases.


Most ROTC scholarships award full tuition plus extra money to pay for books, fees and other expenses. Scholarship recipients are expected to commit to service in that branch in return for the scholarship money. The Army requires an eight-year commitment, with four years in active duty and four years in reserves. Air Force ROTC scholarship recipients must complete a four-week summer field training course, the professional officer course and commit to four years of active duty service. The Navy and Marine Corps both require a five-year commitment on active duty.

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