High school seniors can compete for a 4-year federal ROTC scholarship by applying online. Federal scholarships cover full tuition and fees OR room and board. The initial deadline is January 10th of the senior year. Updates to your file can be made up to February 28th. Scholarship winners are selected by a centralized board and are selected based on merit. Qualifications include:
As part of this process, a student may either be awarded a 4-year scholarship or a 3-year advance designee scholarship. A 3-year advance designee scholarship involves the student paying for the freshman year on his/her own and then the federal scholarship taking effect at the beginning of the sophomore year. Winners of federal scholarships, either the 4-year or the 3-year advance designee, will not have to contract with the US Army until the beginning of the sophomore year.
Federal scholarships may also be awarded once a student is in the ROTC program. They come in the form of 2, 2.5, 3, and 3.5 year scholarships. These scholarships are submitted to a regional board where candidates compete with cadets from other universities for available scholarships. The number of scholarships available varies each year. in 2010, 4 NIU cadets were awarded campus-based federal scholarships.
The Illinois State ROTC Tuition Waiver is a merit based incentive for those interested in joining the ROTC program. Students participating in the ROTC program at NIU and residing in the campus dorms can compete for the NIU Housing Waiver to cover room costs. There is no military obligation associated with either of the waivers. Students are required to meet minimum attendance, academic and physical fitness standards to earn and retain a waiver from one semester to the next.
SMP is for current Guardsmen, Reservists, or nonscholarship cadets who wish to serve in the reserve components (National Guard or Army Reserves), while participating in ROTC. Benefits include Sergeant (E5) pay during drill, on-the-job officer training, reserve component benefits, and possible education opportunities. Students participating in SMP must be academic sophomores, juniors, seniors, or graduate students. SMP cadets will attend drill with their unit one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer unless there is a conflict with ROTC training events, in which case ROTC training will take priority.
Once a cadet is contracted, he/she will begin receiving a monthly stipend. Freshman receive $300, sophomores $350, juniors $450 and seniors $500. The stipend is only paid during the academic school year.