HBCUs With Air Force ROTC

Oct 28, 2018

This article explores Historically Black Colleges and Universities with Air Force ROTC programs, including scholarship details, tuition, and what each AFROTC program offers its cadets.

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There are numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the U.S., particularly in the eastern half of the country. Learn about HBCUs with Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AFROTC) programs, including each school's history and current offerings, as well as AFROTC scholarship information and other program details.

School Comparison

School Name Institution Type Location 2017-2018 Tuition (in-state)* Scholarship Options
Fayetteville State University 4-year, Public Fayetteville, NC $5,183 3- and 4-year scholarships with monthly stipend
Spelman College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Atlanta, GA $28,181 4-year and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipend
Tennessee State University 4-year, Public Nashville, TN $7,776 4-year and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipend
Howard University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Washington, D.C. $25,697 4-year and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipend
Jackson State University 4-year, Public Jackson, MS $7,621 4-year and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipend

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Overview of HBCUs with Air Force ROTC

Many HBCUs have rich and distinguished histories and work hard today to diversify and grow while preserving the traditions and cultures on which they were founded. At the schools described below, students can participate in Air Force ROTC as an elective or complete the full program to compete for scholarships and earn a commission into the U.S. Air Force after graduation. Most are home to their own, in-house AFROTC program, but simultaneously participate in cross-town partnerships to host other institutions in the surrounding area as well, increasing the size and diversity of the detachment.

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University has a student population in 2017 of approximately 6,500, says NCES, and offers more than 60 degree programs. It particularly prides itself on its teaching program, as well as the cultural resources like distinguished speaker, community outreach and art programs it cultivates for students and the surrounding community. Air Force ROTC students at Fayetteville participate in academic coursework, leadership laboratories and physical fitness training with cadets from Fayetteville State as well as three other nearby schools. At first, the program focuses on introducing cadets to the Air Force and general military skills like communication, officership and military customs. By the end of the program, students are preparing for active-duty military service, studying national security and other high-level topics of interest, and gaining advanced leadership and management experience.

Spelman College

Spelman College is an all-female school, as well as a Historically Black College, specializing in the education of women of African descent. It is a small school, with approximately 2,100 undergraduate students in 2017, according to NCES, but has a geographically diverse student body. Spelman College also provides the opportunity for its students to participate in any ROTC branch--Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps--through cross-town partnerships. Spelman Air Force ROTC cadets will be enrolled as full-time Spelman students, but participate in ROTC activities on Georgia Institute of Technology's campus. The program focuses on personal and professional character development and provides scholarship opportunities for graduating high school students as well as those already enrolled at Spelman.

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University is situated in the heart of Nashville, where students have easy access to the city's central business and government districts as well as the music and arts scenes. Air Force ROTC at Tennessee State includes leadership, academic and physical fitness components for its diverse cadet wing, and comprising students from many other surrounding schools. In addition to these standard components, cadets have many opportunities to participate in AFROTC extracurricular activities. These include the Color Guard and the Arnold Air Society, a nation-wide mentorship organization. There is also Operation Air Force, a two-week shadowing experience, the Army Air Assault Course for seniors aiming for a career in special operations, and more. NCES lists about 8,200 students for this university in 2017.

Howard University

Howard University is committed to maintaining its legacy as a Historically Black University by providing higher education to diverse, underrepresented groups. As a school in Washington D.C., many students have the chance to intern or work in the capital in legislation, policy, law and other political sectors. The Air Force detachment at Howard services a number of other schools in the D.C. area as well, and cadets typically spend 6-7 hours per week engaged in formal AFROTC activities on the Howard campus. While AFROTC at Howard is open to every student, the Air Force does have some preferred majors, including nursing, foreign language and STEM subjects. Students within these major programs are particularly well-positioned to compete for Air Force scholarships. According to NCES, this school's student population is about 9,400 in 2017.

Jackson State University

Jackson State University in the Mississippi capital has a 2017 total student body of approximately 8,500, says NCES, 90% of whom are African-American and come from across the U.S. and numerous foreign countries. The university's historical and current mission is centered on leadership development and technological advancement. One leadership training opportunity is the Air Force ROTC detachment for the greater Jackson area, which is based in the aerospace studies department at Jackson State University. The program offers the AFROTC General Military Course and Professional Officer Course, together making up the full four-year curriculum that must be completed to earn a commission as officer into the Air Force. Both include aerospace studies classes and leadership training, as well as twice-weekly physical fitness training and additional summer training programs.

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