Air Force ROTC looks to recruit cadets

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    By KRIS BOYLE

    The Air Force is experiencing a shortage of personnel, according to Cpt. Stan Ness with Aerospace Studies.

    One reason for the decline is that people haven’t been drawn to the Air Force like in years past, Ness said. With a booming economy, the Air Force finds the competition with other job markets increasing, Ness said.

    Scholarships through the Air Force ROTC are offered as a way to entice students to the program. Ness said various scholarships are offered to both incoming high school students and college students. Each scholarship covers the costs of tuition and books and provides monthly allowances.

    Those who come into the AFROTC from high school or have no previous college experience can receive different types of four-year scholarships, Ness said.

    Students who become interested in the Air Force after their freshman year can apply for a three-year scholarship, he said. They are required to attend a training camp between their sophomore and junior year.

    The Professional Officer Course Incentives are given to juniors who have attained an officer position. These officers are given up to $3,000 for tuition, $450 for books per year and $150 per calendar month, Ness said.

    Also offered is the Students To Attend ROTC, which is designed specifically for students in their junior year with three or four semesters left, Ness said.

    This scholarship is offered when there are a low number of officers, in order to boost the number to meet the officer quota for a fiscal year, Ness said.

    In order to be eligible for a scholarships, students need to fill out forms through the AFROTC, Ness said. A physical fitness test, along with a medical exam are also required.

    The applicants must be 18-years-old, U.S. citizens, and full-time students with a good academic standing. A 2.35 GPA is necessary to maintain the POCI scholarship, while a 2.65 GPA per term and a 2.5 cumulative GPA is required for other scholarships, Ness said.

    The applicants must commit to the Air Force for a minimum of four years after graduation, Ness said. But students accepting four-year scholarships have the option to discontinue after the first year, if they decide not to commit to the Air Force.

    The funds for the scholarships come from the Air Force, Ness said. Although BYU has no quota on how many scholarships can be given, there is a limit to the amount of money the school is given to use for scholarships, he said.

    According to Ness, nearly half the freshmen and sophomores enrolled with the AFROTC do not have scholarships. Ness said many of these students are still deciding if they want to pursue the Air Force further. The majority of the scholarships given to BYU students are the POCI.

    Darin Wheeler, 23, a senior from Turlock, Calif., majoring in history, is currently on the POCI. He originally recieved a four-year scholarship after finishing high school.

    Wheeler, who has wanted to be in the Air Force since he was a child, said the scholarship is a big help. Wheeler said with much of his time being occupied by school, the program and trying to cover expenses, the scholarship lightens the load.

    “It’s nice to know you’re taken care of,” he said.

    Ness said the AFROTC is particularly interested in students majoring in electrical engineering because there is a high demand in the Air Force for the occupation.

    Ness said if an electrical engineering student is interested in the AFROTC, he could get the student a scholarship by the next semester.

    There are approximately 160 cadets enrolled with the AFROTC. Neal Hinson with the AFROTC said he feels this year is the best the BYU program has had.

    “Traditionally, we’re more conservative, that’s why we’re doing so well,” Hinson said.

    Ness said BYU is a prime place to get good officers.

    “We have a need for people with high morals,” he said.

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