Air Force ROTC Program
Professor of Air Force Aerospace Studies
Lt. Colonel Matthew B. J. Castillo, USAF – MA from U.S. Army Command & General Staff College
The Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC) is an educational program designed to provide the college student an opportunity to earn an Air Force commission as a second lieutenant while completing the university requirements for a bachelor’s degree. The program provides education that will develop the skills and attitudes vital to the professional Air Force officer. Upon successful completion of the program and graduation from the university, students are commissioned as second lieutenants and enter active duty.
AFROTC is designed as a four-year program and students may register at the same time and in the same manner as their enrollment in their other college courses. During their freshman and sophomore years, students enroll in the general military course and there is no military obligation. They then may compete for entry into the professional officer course, which is normally taken during the last two years of college. Selection into the professional officer course is highly competitive and is based on being medical qualifications, physically fitness, term and cumulative grade point averages, scores achieved on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, successful completion of a four-week field training course at an Air Force base, and the recommendation of the Professor of Aerospace Studies. Once enrolled in the professional officer course, cadets begin to receive a non-taxable monthly stipend ranging from $250 to $400 each month, as well as an annual allowance for books, and they also incur a commitment to the US Air Force.
AFROTC develops students under the whole person concept. Cadets must maintain academic standards while taking on the additional responsibilities of AFROTC. These extra responsibilities include being physically fit and demonstrating integrity and good moral character. Cadets normally participate in approximately two hours per week of physical activity outside of class requirements.
Air Force ROTC “In College Scholarships” are available to enrolled, qualified cadets. Not all scholarships are the same, but most cover full in-state tuition, a non-taxable monthly stipend ranging from $250 to $400 each month, and an annual allowance for books. The majority of scholarships are awarded to cadets working toward a technical degree, though scholarships for nursing, foreign languages, and other non-technical degrees are also considered.
High School Students
Competitive four-year scholarships are available to highly qualified high school students. Four-year scholarship application information is available on the AFROTC website at https://www.afrotc.com/.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, AFROTC Leadership Grants are designed to attract and retain high quality students to the Air Force ROTC program by rewarding superior performance as a cadet. Up to $10,000 worth of leadership grants are available each year and are open to scholarship winners and any full-time student enrolled in the AFROTC program. Awarding of these leadership grants will be determined by the Professor of Aerospace Studies and will be based on academic achievement, physical fitness, and overall leadership potential.
Active Duty Commitments
Commissioned graduates going into non-flying duties will be required to serve four years of active duty. Those graduates going into pilot assignments will be required to serve ten years active duty after completion of pilot training. Those graduates going into navigator assignments will be required to serve six years active duty after completion of navigator training. This information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information regarding AFROTC, contact AFROTC Detachment 800, 865-974-3041.
Professional Development Training Programs
To help cadets gain knowledge of the challenges in leadership and human relations encountered by a junior Air Force officer and to motivate them toward an Air Force career, cadets may have the opportunity to participate in a limited number of professional development training programs. These programs are highly competitive and are subject to change based on funding requirements. The largest program for the University of Tennessee is a University funded Base visit opportunity during spring break for cadets enrolled in the professional officer course. On this base visit, cadets will learn about a variety of Air Force career fields as they tour multiple organizations and facilities with diverse mission sets. In most cases, a lucky few will receive incentive flights on Air Force aircraft such as the F-16 or F-15. Other professional development training programs include summer internships with Joint or National Agencies and cultural immersion programs abroad. All programs are subject to change; specifics will be addressed annually with all enrolled cadets.