Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Captain Hixson sits at his desk working on grades and ready for the semester to be over. He teaches many of the Air Force ROTC classes required for this program.

AFROTC Scholarships Pay For School

OU students can sign up for the Air Force ROTC and get scholarships to help pay for school and, in some cases, pay for all of it.

"Getting my bachelor's degree paid for and now getting my medical school paid for is probably the best part of this program," Cadet James Gentry said. 

The Air Force ROTC has been on campus since 1952 and has helped a number of students pay for school.

For more information on how to get started or on the eligibility of the scholarships please go to www.ou.edu/rotc/air-force.

As many people have experienced, college is difficult to pay for and scholarships are even harder to get. Students and parents are especially in a state of worry due to the economy and all of its repercussions. 

Many scholarships are available but are usually based on need and merit. The Air Force ROTC has several scholarships but most have nothing to do with how much money students' parents make or how much volunteer work they have done.

Some of the minimum requirements to apply for an Air Force ROTC scholarship is applicants must be a U.S. citizen, pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, pass the AFROTC Physical Fitness Test, have at least a 2.5 GPA, not be a contracted scholarship cadet and be under the age of 31 according to the In-College Scholarship Program information page in the AFROTC packet.

All Air Force ROTC scholarships recipients receive a nontaxable monthly allowance ranging from $300 to $500, and an annual textbook allowance of $900, according to the ROTC information packet. Many of these scholarships pay for the full amount of tuition and fees plus can help if not cover the entire costs of textbooks.

The Air Force ROTC has no limitations on who can sign up and, when in the Air Force ROTC, cadets are not required to join the military and can drop out any time they want. All OU students enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program have to take a one hour a week class per semester with a lab and do field training for four to five weeks in between the student's sophomore and junior year. 

The AFROTC accepts all majors in to their program. They do have special programs for students who want to be a pilot or navigator, nurse, attorney, people already enlisted in the Air Force, non-OU students, and juniors, seniors, and graduate students according to OU's Air Force ROTC website.

"I really wish I had known about this program before I got in [to the military]," Senior Airman James Brown said. Senior Airman Brown joined the Air Force three years ago and recently discovered that he could have joined the Air Force ROTC straight out of high school and possibly had all of his school paid for. 

"Now I am just going to have to wait until I get out to go to school," he said.

Cadet Gentry graduated last semester and had his entire school paid for. " I would definitely recommend this to people outside of the military, I mean what is better than getting your school paid for," Cadet Gentry exclaimed. 

Cadet Gentry believes that the increase in applicants this year is due to the economy. "I mean it is a guaranteed job, and with the economy the way it is with layoffs and all, you don't know if you are going to have a job from one day to the next."

Captain Hixson also believes that the increase in applicants is due to the economy. "I really think the increase is due to the economy, I mean we have doubled the amount of people entering in this program in a year," Captain Hixson said.

Many OU students believe the military ties them down but Cadet Gentry had some words to share from experience. "Even though we don't always get to decide what we want to do and where we want to go, there are a lot of good things here besides just having your school paid for. I mean if you want to be a pilot, where else would you want to go to get your training," Cadet Gentry said.

Cadet Gentry would recommend the military to anyone, especially those how are unsure about what they want to do in life. "[The Air Force ROTC] gives people who don't have a path going anywhere... direction. I mean the military is a good thing. You get to meet people, see the world, and you grow up and learn responsibility so I would definitely recommend it to anyone."

"Anyone can sign up. There are tons of packets and information they can come and get in the office on any questions they have." Commander John Berry said. He teaches the upper division AFROTC courses for the seniors in the program. 

Enrollment for the fall semester has already begun but different classes apply for different grade levels. 

OU entering freshman should look for AERO 1011 on enroll.ou.edu to get started in the AFROTC. OU sophomores or above should contact the Unit Admissions Officer Captain Don Ricci at 405-325-3211 to find out how to get jump started into the program. 

OU students can also stop by Craddock Hall off of Felgar and Jenkins near the Union to get more information.

For more on Cadet Gentry's interview, please click play.



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