There are several scholarship opportunities for NIU ROTC students, some without a commitment to service. Being a student athlete, or having leadership experience are important factors in decisions to award scholarships and waivers.
Federal ROTC Scholarships
Four-year scholarships and three-year designee scholarships
High school seniors can compete for a four-year federal ROTC scholarship by applying online. Federal scholarships cover full tuition and fees OR room and board. The initial deadline is January 10 of your high school senior year. Updates to your file can be made up to February 28. Scholarship winners are selected by a centralized board and are selected based on merit.
To qualify, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be 17 years old and commissioned under the age of 30.
- Have a high school GPA of at least 2.50.
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Score a minimum of 920 on the SAT (math/verbal) or 19 on the ACT (excluding the required writing test scores).
- Meet physical standards.
- Agree to accept a commission and serve in the Army on Active Duty or in a Reserve Component (Army Reserve or Army National Guard).
As part of this process, a student may either be awarded a four-year scholarship or a three-year advance designee scholarship. A three-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 four-year or the three-year advance designee, will not have to contract with the U.S. Army until the beginning of the sophomore year.
Campus-Based Federal Scholarships
Federal scholarships may also be awarded once a student is in the ROTC program. They are three-and-a-half to two-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.
Illinois State Tuition Waivers and NIU Housing Waivers
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.
Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP)
SMP is for current Guardsmen, Reservists, or non-scholarship 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 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 a summer annual training that lasts approximately two weeks unless there is a conflict with ROTC training events, in which case ROTC training will take priority.
ROTC Monthly Stipend
Once a cadet is contracted, he/she will begin receiving a monthly stipend in the amount of $325. The stipend is only paid during the academic school year.