ROTC Options and Scholarships

For those students who wish to become officers in the military, ROTC programs are invaluable. ROTC scholarships can cover up to the cost of full tuition at both liberal arts (private) and state-owned colleges/universities across the country, ROTC allows students to have the typical college experience while making a commitment to service.

ROTC scholarship awardees are obligated to serve four years on active duty after their graduation. Simply enrolling or participating in ROTC programs does not obligate students to military service. 

Local ROTC Programs

IUP: Army

  • Students attending Saint Francis University, Pitt-Johnstown, or Mount Aloysius can participate in IUP’s program.

Penn State: Air Force, Army, and Navy

  • Students attending Penn State Altoona are eligible to participate in Air Force and Army ROTC. Elective courses and labs will be held on-campus at University Park twice per week.
  • Navy ROTC is the exception. All students wishing to participate in Navy ROTC must be enrolled at University Park.

*Be sure to visit each university’s respective websites for more information on eligibility, enrollment, and scholarships.

Scholarship Awards:

Some ROTC scholarships are not full four-year scholarships and some do not pay full tuition. However, some colleges/universities have scholarship opportunities to cover a financial gap. Be sure to ask about these opportunities on a campus tour!

  • All Naval ROTC scholarships cover full tuition at both liberal arts and state-owned universities. 
  • Half of the Army scholarships cover full tuition for four years; the other half cover tuition for three years.
  • The Air Force scholarships fall under three categories:
    • Type 1 - full 4-year tuition coverage (Only 10% of scholarships.)
    • Type 2 - up to $18,000 for 4 years (20% of scholarships.)
    • Type 7 - 4-year in-state tuition (70%)

For those students who receive ROTC scholarships, it is still crucial to attend a college/university that academically and financially matches your capabilities. ROTC is only a small part of your college experience, so you need to feel at home at the college of your choosing.

Application Process:

  • The online application opens each year in April and June and can be found on each Service’s website. Current high school juniors are eligible to apply.
  • Scholarship selection and notification will take place on a rolling basis from September to March of the student’s senior year.

Application Requirements:

  1. A complete list of the student’s scholar, athletic, and leadership accomplishments, including (but not limited to): 
    1. SAT/ACT scores, unweighted GPA, and high school courses
      1. Over 3.0 GPA unweighted; Top 20% of class; SAT over 1200, ACT over 24
    2. High school athletics (Varsity letters) and/or individual or team athletic participation
    3. Leadership positions held in school clubs, at a part-time job, or in volunteer organizations, etc.
  2. Physical fitness test
    1. Applicants must also be free of any medical issues that could prevent them from being deployable worldwide during their active duty.
  3. Official interview at an ROTC program university

Application Tips:

  • The official interview is the most crucial part of the application process, receiving about 40-50% of the total weight.
    • Pro Tip: Practice your interviewing skills with the College and Career Adviser and with parent, trusted friend, or teacher who has Veteran status.
  • Study for the SAT!
    • All Services will super score your exam results, taking the highest Reading and Math scores from any number of exams. It’s to your benefit to take the SAT at least twice!
  • Prepare for the physical fitness test.


Kirkland, Lt. Colonel Robert. “ROTC Scholarships are a great source of funding for many students.” Link for Counselors Vol. 5, Issue 2 (Spring 2020): 18-20.