TROY - Students interested in entering the U.S. Air Force have expanded options, thanks to the efforts of Troy University's Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps Detachment 17.
For a limited time, virtually any student -- from freshmen through graduate students -- have a potential path toward a career as an Air Force officer. With the Air Force's upgrade of the detachment to four-year status last summer, high school students wishing to enter ROTC at TROY may be eligible for the Air Force's High School Scholarship Program.
Another major enhancement has opened the doors for upperclassmen or even full-time graduate students to commission as second lieutenants through an abbreviated ROTC curriculum, an offer good through 2018 and made possible by manpower requirements within the service branch.
"This change has provided an expanded opportunity for TROY students to experience the Air Force way of life. We are now able to recruit from all levels: freshmen, sophomores, juniors and even seniors and post-graduates, for a limited time," said Lt. Col. Carlos Garcia, the detachment's commanding officer.
Garcia said historically only undergraduates were allowed to participate in ROTC programs, but now being able to recruit any full-time student opened doors for both the Air Force and the students that previously went unopened.
"The opportunity to get in the Air Force is wide open. The standards, however, remain unchanged," he said.
Those standards include meeting a minimum 2.5 grade point average, passing medical and physical fitness tests, completing the Aerospace Studies curriculum, and completing field training. However, AFROTC program criteria have undergone revisions that allow greater flexibility for admission into the program.
"If you can meet the standards, you can be actively involved as a student right away," he said. "I've never seen so many ways to get into the Air Force ROTC program. If someone is interested, they absolutely should come visit our office for a potentially life changing conversation."
In addition to the high school scholarship and Intercollege Scholarship Program for upperclassmen, students who are members of the National Guard or Reserves - or those wanting to join - can combine their Guard or Reserves duty with Air Force ROTC in unique ways that provide further options.
Garcia said the Air Force changes, coupled with TROY's aggressive support for the military, can make college very affordable and attainable for all students.
In addition to financial assistance offered by the Air Force, TROY has a number of programs including the ROTC Housing Scholarship and the Military and Family Scholarship, for active members of the military, Guard or Reserves, among other financial assistance offers.