As of 2017, there were over 318 thousand active duty airmen serving in the U.S. Air Force. While active duty airmen make up the majority of the Air Force population, there are many thousands of individuals serving in the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard as well. Participating in an ROTC program is one way to join this highly capable group of men and women in defense of the United States. By doing so, individuals can earn a commission as an officer and begin a rewarding military career.
Traditional Air Force ROTC
Students who participate in Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) will graduate college and commission as second lieutenants. The service commitment incurred by Air Force ROTC graduates (including nurses) is four years on active duty followed by four years in the IRR. Cadets who train as pilots, however, will owe 10 years on active duty and Combat Systems officers and Air Battle Management officers will each owe six years on active duty. There are many career choices for officers. You can learn more here.
During freshman and sophomore year, cadets are required to take Aerospace Studies 101/102 (Foundations of the Air Force) and 201/202 (Evolution of Aerospace Studies) and the associated leadership labs. During labs, cadets will dedicate time to developing communication, learning Air Force and military customs, physical fitness, and learning to command, among other things. Junior and senior years, cadets must take Aerospace Studies 301/302 and 401/402: Leadership Studies, and National Security Studies and Preparation for Active Duty. These classes also have leadership labs that focus on management and preparation for commissioning. Cadets who are interested in a flight career must fulfill additional requirements.
The summer after sophomore year, cadets must attend a 24-day field training course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. There cadets will focus on conditioning, weapons training, and survival training. Unless students have received an AFROTC scholarship, they do not incur a post-graduation service commitment until their junior year begins.
Nationwide, 1,100 colleges and universities have an Air Force ROTC program or are affiliated with an institution that has one. You can learn more about participating institutions here.
- Award amount: Three different scholarships with varying levels of financial aid are available to Air Force ROTC students. To apply, students must fill out an application and meet with an Air Force officer for an in-person interview. A board of Air Force officers will meet to evaluate the student’s performance in all areas and determine whether to offer a scholarship and which of the three scholarships listed below to offer.
- Type 1 Scholarship: This covers full tuition, most fees, and a book allowance for four years. It is given to students majoring in STEM fields needed by the Air Force such as chemistry, engineering, meteorology, etc. Only 5% of Air Force ROTC scholarships are Type 1.
- Type 2 Scholarship: This covers tuition and fees up to $18,000 annually and provides a book allowance for four years. It is most often given to students majoring in STEM fields. The student must pay the cost of tuition that is not covered by the scholarship. Only 15% of Air Force ROTC scholarships are Type 2.
- Type 7 Scholarship: This covers tuition equivalent to a public college or university’s in-state tuition rate and a book allowance for four years. This scholarship can be converted to a three-year Type 2 scholarship at qualifying colleges and universities beginning in the fall of the student’s sophomore year. 80% of Air Force ROTC scholarships are Type 7.
- All scholarship students will receive a monthly living stipend between $300 and $500 depending on their year in school.
- Eligibility: Student must not currently be enrolled full-time at another college or university and cannot be the sole provider for another person. The student must agree to accept a commission as an Air Force officer and serve four years minimum on active duty. There are additional requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 17 years old by the time the application is submitted
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a high school diploma or the equivalent
- Score at least 1240 on the math and evidence-based reading and writing portions of the SAT or get an ACT composite score of 26
- Complete the Air Force Physical Fitness Assessment (crunches, push-ups, 1.5-mile run)
- Graduate college before turning 31 years old
Other financial aid may be granted to Air Force ROTC participants based on where they are attending school. Explore the map below to learn more about opportunities that may be available; these funding opportunities are not guaranteed.
Airforce Scholarships Map
Airforce Scholarships Overlay
Specialized Air Force ROTC Programs and Scholarships
This program is open to enlisted soldiers who are currently serving on active duty but want to return to school to complete their bachelor’s degree and commission as an officer. Chosen applicants will join the Air Force ROTC program at their selected school for the duration of their degree program, and then commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force after graduation. Graduates will incur a service commitment of four years on active duty and four years in the Reserves.
- Award amount: The Air Force scholarship will cover up to $18,000 in tuition and fees and provide both a book allowance and a monthly stipend between $300 and $500. Students can also use Montgomery GI Bill benefits to supplement the scholarship.
- Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens able to pass the Air Force Physical Fitness Test with at least one year in the service and half of an overseas tour who would commission before the age of 31. Enlisted airmen must already have at least 24 credit hours of college coursework; a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; and a minimum ACT score of 25, a minimum SAT score of 1180 (math and evidence-based reading and writing), or a minimum score of 55 on the Academic Aptitude portion of the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test. Applicants must be able to complete their bachelor’s degree and commissioning requirements within two to four years.
This program is applicable only to students interested in becoming a Judge Advocate General with the U.S. Air Force. It is a two-year program that guarantees a position after a student successfully completes an ROTC program, graduates from law school, and completes licensing requirements.
- Award amount: Students are paid during summer field training, completed before their second year of law school, and can receive up to $400 monthly during the last two years of graduate-level education.
- Eligibility: Students must be attending an American Bar Association-approved school with or affiliated with an ROTC program and otherwise eligible to participate in an Air Force ROTC program (in good academic standing, able to pass an Air Force Physical Fitness Test, within height and weight standards, and received a passing score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test).
This program allows active duty enlisted airmen the chance to return to school to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Airmen must be able to complete their degree within two years. While at school, airmen will participate in an ROTC program. After graduating and taking the National Council Licensure Examination, airmen will commission as second lieutenants in the Nurse Corps.
- Award amount: Airmen will remain on active duty while completing their degree, and thus will continue to receive military pay and benefits. Additionally, the Air Force will cover up to $15,000 annually in tuition and fees and up to $600 annually for textbooks.
- Eligibility: Airmen must be U.S citizens on active duty and rank as a senior airman or sergeant (E-4) or higher, and be able to commission by age 42. Airmen must also have completed prerequisite courses at an accredited university and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.
This program gives active duty enlisted airmen the chance to finish their bachelor’s degree and receive a commission as an officer by completing two years of Air Force ROTC at a participating institution. Airmen must have only two years left to complete their degree. Upon acceptance into the program, airmen must separate from the Air Force (and no longer collect military pay and benefits) and join an ROTC program. Following completion, airmen commission as second lieutenants and incur an eight-year service commitment (four years on active duty and four years in the Reserves).
- Award amount: Airmen are provided a monthly stipend. Montgomery GI Bill benefits can be used toward the cost of education.
- Eligibility: Airmen must be U.S. citizens able to pass the Air Force Physical Fitness Test who will commission by the time they turn 30 years old. Airmen must have at least one year of service and have completed at least half of an overseas tour. Additionally, airmen must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, be enrolled as a full-time student, and be able to complete their degree in two years.
These scholarships are available to enlisted, active duty airmen interested in completing their bachelor’s degree and commissioning as an officer. Airmen will return to school as ROTC cadets for between two and four years. After graduating, they will commission as officers with an eight-year service commitment (four years on active duty and four years in the Reserves).
- Award amount: Scholarships are available for between two and four years, depending on how long it will take the airman to finish his or her bachelor’s degree. The scholarships provide up to $18,000 annually for tuition and fees, as well as a textbook allowance and a monthly stipend between $300 and $500. Airmen must be working toward Air Force-desirable degrees to receive a scholarship. Montgomery GI Bill benefits can supplement the scholarship to cover the cost of education.
- Eligibility: Airmen must be enlisted U.S. citizens serving on active duty who will be able to finish their degree and commission by the time they turn 31 years old. Additionally, airmen must have at least one year of service and have completed at least half of an overseas tour. Before acceptance to the program, airmen must have at least 24 hours of college credit and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applicants are required to have a minimum overall ACT score of 25, a minimum SAT score of 1180 (math and evidence-based reading and writing), or a minimum score of 55 on the Academic Aptitude portion of the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test.
- By graduation, airmen must have completed 24 semester hours of math or physical science or at least four semesters of the same foreign language; the minimum accepted grade in each class is a C-.
Page last updated: 09/2017