What is this Scholarship? How do I apply?

NROTC Mission: “To develop future officers mentally, morally, and physically, and to instill in them the highest ideals of duty, loyalty, and the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval Service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government.”

This purpose of this post is to give the very basic information related to the scholarship. In future postings, I will expand on each section of information.

What is NROTC Scholarship Exactly:

The NROTC program is a commissioning program for future military officers in the USMC and USN. In the military, officer serves as a managerial/leadership role and requires a bachelor degree. One can become an officer through various means, the big three being Officer Candidate School, ROTC, and military academies. For more information in the differences in these programs, see (CODEEDIT: Comparing commissioning sources).

What this program IS NOT:

This program is not for you if…

  1. For Navy Options: No restricted line officers or staff corps officers. The only officers commissioned from NROTC are unrestricted line officers. This means unless you want to be A Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, Surface Warfare Officer, Submarine Officer, or Navy Special Warfare (EOD/SEAL) – this scholarship and program isn’t for you. No lawyers, doctors, intelligence, public affairs, cyber, etc.
  2. Undergraduate only – this is not a graduate program. 
  3. Active duty not permitted unless granted a “conditional release” is granted.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Be a United States citizen, naturalized U.S. citizen or have submitted naturalization papers (must be naturalized prior to scholarship activation);
  2. Have no moral obligations or personal convictions that will prevent bearing of arms and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic or to taking an oath to perform such acts;
  3. Be at least 17 years of age on or before 30 September of the year of enrollment and less than 27 years of age on 31 December of the year an applicant expects to graduate, complete all NROTC training requirements, and be commissioned. Those with prior or current active duty in the Armed Forces may be granted age waivers equal to the number of months served. Those granted the maximum age waiver must not have reached their 30th birthday by 31 December of year graduation
    and commissioning are anticipated;
  4. Meet physical requirements for the NROTC Program (CODEEDIT see physical requirements post)
  5. Possess a high school diploma or equivalent certificate
  6. Be accepted for admission as a full-time student at a participating NROTC college or university.  You can not be part of the NROTC program if it has not been approved by big Navy. (CODEEDIT: see list of approved schools)

Program Benefits

  1. Full tuition, including authorized academic fees (lab fees for example).
  2. Textbook stipend ($375/semester)
  3. Monthly stipend during the academic year and while on official summer cruise. $250/mo as a freshman and then increasing $50/mo every year to $400 as a senior.
  4. Uniforms and tailoring

Application Process

  1. Apply online via http://nrotc.navy.mil
  2. Will be assigned a Navy/Marine recruiter of Candidate Guidance Officer who will help coordinate required paperwork, candidate fitness assessment, and scedule and officer interview.


NAVY: A continuous selection board (CSB) holds multiple boards throughout September – April for all Navy option and Nurse selects.

MARINES: Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC, pronounced “MikRik”) hols boards bi-annually in November (early board) and February (primary board).

Medical Exam

Scholarship nominees must meet physical qualification standards. Those selected for the scholarship will be forwarded to DoDMERB (Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board) for scheduling of a physical examination. DoDMERB will determine if the candidate is qualified medically for commissioning. If found disqualified for any reason (asthma, for example, is a big one), the case file will automatically be sent to Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) for waiver recommendation. A waiver denial will result in scholarship denial.

This process can take some time, especially if remedial tests must be conducted. If a student reports to the unit without medical clearance, they will not be placed on scholarship until they are physically qualified or secure a waiver.


The scholarship application requires the candidate to list their top 5 schools of choice. There is some strategy to this that is further explained in the placement post, but placement is based on a few things:

  1. Desire of the candidate
  2. Order of merit compared to other applications
  3. Quotas available at the unit to include the specific cross-town schools of the unit.

NOTE: The scholarship and admission to the school of choice are TWO separate processes. NROTC scholarship will assume you will gain admission to your top 5 desired Universities and assign you to one of these top schools if you are selected for the scholarship. If you do not get admitted to the University that the NROTC scholarship was placed, you must notify your recruiter and they will start the process to place you at another school in which you were admitted. You must be admitted to the school of choice as well as have the NROTC scholarship placed there. *See the Placement post for more information on this.

Deferring Acceptance

This is possible on a case by case basis. I’ve done it for a few students. Contact the NROTC unit you are assigned to start the process. Typically it is due to religious reasons, but I’ve also seen students defer for personal and professional reasons. Typically they are approved but will require you to have a valid excuse.

Other paths:

The above is the typical path that most students will follow to gain admission to the NROTC program. This is a very basic overview, please see the respective sections for more in depth information and advice as you proceed with this process.

This is not the only way, however. There are many paths to gain admission into the NROTC program to include:

  1. Immediate Scholarship Reservation
  2. Alternative Scholarship Reservation
  3. Minority Serving Institution Scholarship Reservations (MSISR)
  4. Frederick C. Branch Marine Leadership Scholarship Program
  5. Pedro Del Valle Marine Leadership Scholarship Program
  6. 2 or 3 Year Scholarship Program
  7. Seaman to Admiral 21 (STA-21) Commissioning Program
  8. Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)

These specific scholarships will be discussed in a separate blog post.