For high school seniors or college freshman interested in a career in the armed forces, a great first step is to enroll in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. An ROTC student, called a 'cadet', will take classes on military science and leadership to prepare for life as an officer in the armed forces after graduation. Students in Indiana have a lot of options for an ROTC program; whether they're interested in serving in the Army, Navy, or Air Force, there's a school that's right for them.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||Tuition 2016-2017 (in-state)*||Tuition Assistance/Military Benefits|
|Indiana University - Bloomington||4-year, public||Bloomington, IN||$10,388||Army/Air Force ROTC, ROTC scholarship, CULP program|
|Purdue University||4-year, public||West Lafayette, IN||$10,002||Army/Navy/Air Force ROTC, cadet clubs|
|Ball State University||4-year, public||Muncie, IN||$9,654||Army ROTC, nursing ROTC partnership, Ranger Challenge|
|Valparaiso University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Valparaiso, IN||$37,450||Army/Air Force ROTC, specialized coursework, ROTC scholarship|
|Vincennes University||4-year, public||Vincennes, IN||$5,575||Army ROTC, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps coursework, nursing ROTC scholarship|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Indiana Colleges with ROTC Programs
There are a lot of options to consider when picking a school with a good ROTC program. Does the school have a good ROTC scholarship? What about extracurricular activities? Any special programs available? We've compiled a list of five different Indiana schools with different ROTC programs, so a student can find that perfect college or university to start their training.
Indiana University - Bloomington
Located in the heart of Indiana, with a student body about 50,000 strong, Indiana University - Bloomington (IU) is a large school with a strong Army ROTC program, with plenty of benefits for its cadets. Cadets at IU can apply for an ROTC scholarship that will pay for full tuition, in addition to a book allowance and a monthly stipend; all told, a lucky recipient can save around $60,000 over four years of school. In addition to the usual military science courses, IU cadets can sign up for advanced training missions such as the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program (CULP), a summer program in which students will travel to a foreign country to immerse themselves in a different language and culture. IU also has an ROTC program for those interested in the Air Force, in which students can take classes on leadership and aerospace studies to get a feel for life in the Air Force.
For a student looking for more options in an ROTC program, Purdue University could be worth considering. Located in the northwest of the state, with about 40,000 students, Purdue has ROTC options for all three branches of the military: Army, Navy, and Air Force. Each offers differing military science courses and leadership labs tailored to the branch they're attending, and each offers regular physical fitness drills so that the cadet keeps their body as well trained as their mind. There are also many ROTC clubs and organizations that a student can join on campus to build camaraderie with fellow cadets and boost their resume. These include the Color Guard, Pathfinder CrossFit, the Tactics Club, and more.
Ball State University
A student interested in military nursing would do well to look up Ball State University (BSU), located in eastern Indiana with about 22,000 students, as they have a program that specializes in just that. Cadets at BSU can sign up for an ROTC nursing curriculum, which combines the standard coursework for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with the military science and leadership courses normally associated with an ROTC program. After graduation, members are commissioned as officers in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and will have a set of skills that will serve them well no matter where they end up in life. BSU also offers several ROTC competitions; cadets can sign up for the Ranger Challenge, a physical fitness gauntlet against other competing colleges and universities that involves activities like marksmanship, land navigation, and a 10-kilometer road march.
Located in far northern Indiana, right by the state line, Valparaiso University (Valpo) is a private, not-for-profit Lutheran college with about 4,500 students. Valpo offers ROTC programs for both Army and Air Force cadets, and in addition to the general military science and leadership courses, the school will help in guiding cadets through a military-friendly field. For instance, a degree in medicine or foreign languages for the Army, and engineering or navigation for the Air Force. Valpo also offers an ROTC scholarship worth mentioning; like many ROTC scholarships, it pays for all or a large amount of tuition -- in this case, full tuition for Army, $15,000 a semester for Air Force -- in addition to a book allowance and a monthly stipend. Since Valpo is a prestigious private university, this means that a cadet could get a well-regarded private school education for a tremendous discount.
Vincennes University (VU), located in the far south of the state with around 19,000 students, is an inexpensive choice for a university with a strong military education program. Like BSU, VU has special incentives for nursing students looking to get into the ROTC program; in this case the incentive is a chance at a nursing ROTC scholarship that will pay for tuition, books, fees, plus free training, meaning a nearly free ride to a fulfilling and lucrative military nursing career. For students looking to join the Navy, Coast Guard or Marine Corps, VU also offers specialized associate's degrees that can be obtained while serving. These degrees include Yeoman business studies, maritime law enforcement, and more.