FORT MCCOY, Wis. –
With the cost of a four-year degree at a university or college continually rising, now might be a good time to consider applying for a Minuteman Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty scholarship. Five different scholarships of various lengths are offered, from two-year to four-year options.
The scholarship provides students with full in-state tuition and fees or up to $10,000 for room and board at public colleges and universities served by an Army ROTC program. Students also receive an annual $1,200 book allowance, monthly $420 stipend and more than $5,000 per year for serving in an Army Reserve unit under the Simultaneous Membership Program. Cadets can receive low-cost Tricare health and dental care while serving in the SMP.
Tyler Mertes was awarded a four-year Minuteman Scholarship in 2018 to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University, Milwaukee. Mertes joined Army ROTC because “I wanted to be part of a team and have others keep me accountable both physically and mentally,” he said. “I wanted to be in the Reserve because it will allow me to keep a balance between the military and civilian world. It also gives me more flexibility with where I plan to live after graduation.
The Downers Grove, Ill., native applied for the Minuteman Scholarship in 2018.
“This was when college tuition prices started coming up and I soon realized I could not afford many of the schools I applied to. This scholarship gave me the opportunity to not only serve my country but also enable me to study at a university I otherwise would not have been able to attend,” Mertes said.
The Minuteman Scholarship is helping Mertes achieve his career goals.
“It has allowed me to gain experience while drilling at my engineering unit. This has been helpful as it has prepared me for my future responsibilities as an officer and taught me a few things about engineering, too,” he said.
Mertes offers this advice to other young people considering joining Army ROTC and applying for the Minuteman Scholarship: “Think about where you see yourself post-graduation. The Minuteman Scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who wish to serve but also have goals/aspirations in the civilian world too. Personally, this has worked well for me because I desire to work as a mechanical engineer. It also is very convenient having the flexibility to choose where you wish to live and find what fits you and your family's needs.”
Upon completion of the ROTC program, cadets are commissioned in the Army Reserve, giving them the opportunity to serve close to home while still pursuing a civilian career or continuing their academic studies. Army Reserve Soldiers get the best of both worlds.
Army Reserve Soldiers can select from a variety of STEM fields like aviation, medical, engineering and cyber. There’s also law enforcement, human resources, logistics, transportation, finance, military intelligence, ordnance and chemical fields from which to choose.
The skills gained from Army ROTC and as an officer in the Army Reserve are transferrable to the civilian workplace. Besides leadership, problem solving and critical thinking capabilities, Soldiers learn how to be a team player and resolute decision maker, all proficiencies that will make them stand out in the workplace.
There are 275 host programs that cover nearly 3,000 schools across the United States. To find one, go to https://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html.
The deadline for a Minuteman scholarship nomination is Aug. 5.
Full details on the program can be found at https://www.usar.army.mil/MinutemanCampaign/.
If students have questions about the Minuteman Scholarship, they can contact their state Army Reserve Ambassador. That person’s name and contact information can be found at https://www.usar.army.mil/FindAnAmbassador/.