The Military offers some unique educational opportunities for students who plan to pursue a college degree. These options — Service Academies, Senior Military Colleges and Maritime Academies — offer world-class education and a deeper understanding of military culture. Plus, most of these schools grant scholarship money in exchange for a period of service.
These highly competitive schools are virtually free of charge for those accepted. The government pays for each student’s tuition, room and board, uniform and books. Students are sometimes given a living stipend as well to help cover fees, a personal computer and other class supplies. In return, the student commits to serving as an officer for a set period after graduation, usually five years.
For students who would like to experience a military environment while getting a first-class education, the five Service academies — the U.S. Military Academy (Army) in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy/Marine Corps) in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force) in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Coast Guard) in New London, Conn.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. — offer an outstanding education and full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years.
The competition to get in is fierce. Admissions criteria include:
Graduates of all four academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their respective Service branch. In all cases, there is a service obligation of a minimum of five years.
Similarly, the Senior Military Colleges (SMCs) offer a combination of higher education with military instruction. SMCs include:
SMCs are among the most prestigious and famous education institutions in the world and they offer financial aid packages for eligible students. Every cadet must participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, but only those cadets who receive an ROTC scholarship are required to enter military service following graduation.
An additional option for students is Maritime Academies. The United States Merchant Marine is the fleet of civilian-owned merchant ships that transport cargo and passengers on behalf of the United States. In times of war, the Merchant Marine is an auxiliary to the Navy and can be called upon to deliver service members and supplies for the Military.
Maritime Academies also produce shipboard officers for vessels integral to shipping and transportation needs, but a service commitment is not always required. Listed below are the Maritime Acadamies.