Lewis County Schools




Financing a college education can be an auspicious undertaking for many families. Rising costs of college and the ever-decreasing funds to support a four-year degree have made the traditional college experience out of reach for many.

For decades, some patriotic students have turned to the military to help finance their educational endeavors. That option is still viable through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training program.


I am the recruiting operations officer at West Virginia University. As an Army ROTC graduate myself, I am a strong advocate for utilizing military service to help finance an undergraduate education. The benefits and experience are lifetime benefits for students who are considering the military.


Army ROTC is a leadership development class taken in conjunction with general education and major specific classes for both undergraduate and also graduate students. Upon completion of the program, required training events, and graduation, all contracted students are commissioned as second lieutenants in the active Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve.

In addition to serving our country, students also obtain valuable leadership experience and training to build a resume that will allow them to be competitive in corporate America. Contracted students can also receive scholarships, monthly living stipends, and book stipends to help cover college costs.


The ROTC National Scholarship Program (http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/high-school-students/four-year-scholarship.html) provides high-achieving students with both four- and three-year scholarships that pay for full university tuition and fees OR room and board valued at $10,000/year. Contracted scholarship students also receive $600/semester for books and a monthly ROTC tax-free stipend that ranges from $350 (sophomore year) to $450 (junior year) and $500 (senior year). The application portal is open from June through early January for high school seniors to start an application. Minuteman Scholarships are also available that will allow students to complete their service obligation in the Army Reserve or National Guard while receiving full tuition assistance and living stipends.


At West Virginia University, more than half of our cadets are enlisted in the West Virginia Army National Guard through the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP). After completing initial entry training, all students are eligible for 100% tuition assistance, monthly drill pay, and the Reserve Component G.I. Bill ($369/month, tax-free), in addition to the ROTC stipend (mentioned above) once they are contracted. That is a total cash benefit of approximately $900-$1,100/month to help with room and board while the National Guard covers the costs of tuition and fees (approximately $24,000 for out-of-state students).

ROTC makes college dreams possible. If you have students who demonstrate good academics, leadership ability, athletic ability and a desire to serve our country, I am ready and available to discuss how to make those dreams become reality. It’s important to act soon as the National Scholarship portal requires students to have at least created an account by early January if they want to be considered for a national scholarship opportunity for next fall.


Please contact me at john.dowling@mail.wvu.edu or (304) 293-7546 if you’d like to discuss this opportunity.




John Dowling

Recruiting Operations Officer, West Virginia University

O: 304.293.7546

C: 304.894.6641