Air Force ROTC programs (AFROTC) are offered at many 4-year civilian colleges around the country. People wanting to enlist should consider various universities as well as their respective tuition costs and military benefits. Additionally, academic military schools may be a more suitable route for some prospective applicants.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||In-State Tuition (2016-2017)*||Tuition Assistance/Military Benefits|
|California State University-Fresno||4-year public||Fresno, California||$6,313||Military credit, AFROTC scholarships, monthly stipend, Cadet Organizations|
|North Carolina A & T State University||4-year public||Greensboro, North Carolina||$6,372||Military credit, academic credits, monthly cash allowance for scholars, AFROTC scholarships|
|Florida State University||4-year public||Tallahassee, Florida||$6,507||Military credit, AFROTC scholarship, In-College Scholarship Program|
|Texas A&M University-College Station||4-year public||College Station, Texas||$11,036||Military credit, AFROTC scholarships, Corps of Cadets Scholarships, Leadership Learning Centers, The Hollingsworth Leadership Excellence Program|
|New Jersey Institute of Technology||4-year public||Newark, New Jersey||$16,430||Military credit, AFROTC scholarships, In-College Scholarship, NJIT Scholarships|
|Virginia Military Institute||4-year public||Lexington, Virginia||$17,492||Military credit, AFROTC scholarships, Institute Scholarship Program, counseling, cadet organizations|
|United States Air Force Academy||4-year public||USAFA, Colorado||none applicable||Cadet clubs, counseling, Falcon Foundation scholarships, Cadet Sponsor Program|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Overview of Air Force-Friendly Colleges
While most of the schools listed support aspiring servicemen and women through an AFROTC program, others provide educational options at a military institute. Undergrads who are interested in joining the branch at the officer level can start off as a cadet at a civilian university. Another option is enrolling into an air force academy to pursue an undergrad or graduate degree. Depending on personal preference, one of these higher-learning schools may provide a fitting college experience.
California State University-Fresno
California State University allows prospective students to join an air force ROTC detachment located at the Fresno campus. This air force-friendly program, under the Craig School of Business, gives lessons on leadership skills, common customs, and the history of the branch. Sophomores are expected to participate in field training (pre-basic training) while seniors are prepared for active duty. In order to become and stay a member, undergrads must be age 31 and younger, enrolled full-time, willing to pass physical field training tests, and keep a 2.5 GPA or higher. Future students should seek financial funding by applying for an AFROTC scholarship, which typically covers a full two to four years in tuition costs and fees.
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina A&T's air force-friendly features can be found in a 4-year AFROTC program, which is designed to mold trainees into Second Lieutenants upon graduation. In addition to completing a bachelor's degree, enlistees should leave the program understanding all the core values of an air force servicemember. Full-time undergrad students only qualify if they meet academic and physical prerequisites. If tuition assistance is desired, then applying to one of the air force ROTC scholarships may help most students with admission into the school.
Florida State University
Florida State University's ROTC program makes it an air force-friendly college for future airmen and women. To qualify, prospective students must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate with at least a 2.0 GPA and meet physical requirements. From the 2016-2017 school year, in-state tuition costs for undergraduate students at FSU were $6,507. Potential candidates not yet enrolled can submit an AFROTC high school scholarship to help cover fees. After enrollment, the In-College Scholarship Program may also be an ideal option for full-time students needing financial assistance.
Texas A&M University-College Station
Texas A&M has five different locations throughout the state. However, the College Station campus is recognized for its air force-friendly learning environment. These qualities can be obtained with the help of The Hollingsworth Leadership Excellence Program, which also assists third-year air force trainees with internships and career choices. Additionally, four Leadership Learning Centers on campus gives students a quiet place to study, collaborate with classmates, work on projects, and unwind after a long day. College seekers planning to attend Texas A&M University should consider AFROTC scholarships and Corps of Cadets Scholarships as a way to accommodate financial needs.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
The New Jersey Institute of Technology allows students to seek an undergrad degree while learning the necessary tools to become an active member of the air force. The institution's AFROTC program incorporates leadership coaching, physical training, and aerospace studies into one package. Cadets are expected to participate in character-building activities that include working in the community. For incoming students, financial needs can be met through a high school scholarship. Current cadets can seek tuition assistance with the help of an In-College Scholarship or an NJIT Scholarship funded directly by the university.
Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute costs $17,492 for in-state undergraduates, but merits to be an air force-friendly educational experience. Approved candidates are expected to enroll into the school as a navy, marines, army, or air force ROTC member. Specifically, the AFROTC program teaches young cadets the significance of the branch while pursuing a bachelor's degree. First-year students with prior academic achievements can apply to the Institute Scholarship Program to help supplement financial expenses. Commissioning is always optional for air force trainees attending VMI, but deciding not to join will require an automatic transfer into the Army ROTC program.
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is a 4-year public institution that offers a military-style college experience for men and women -- between ages 17 and 23 years old -- wanting to enlist. Providing both military and educational needs, the air force-friendly academy prepares trainees for leadership roles. Cadets can pursue a bachelor's degree through programs such as engineering, history, and physical science. Interested applicants will have to go through an extensive eligibility process involving high school teacher evaluations, a fitness and medical assessment, an admissions interview, and a background check. Once approved, future cadets can then plan financially by applying for a scholarship through the Falcon Foundation, which could help with academic preparations, room and board, and tuition costs.