How the Pittsburgh Army ROTC Turns Diplomas Into Gold Bars
6am and you’re awake. You’re lying in your bed in your college dorm room
listening to the noise outside. This time you decide to get up and find
out what that noise is. Why it’s the
Three Rivers Battalion Army ROTC
cadets, running past the dorms in unison chanting a cadence. You’ve seen
the cadets on campus before. Sometimes they are in uniform, but most of
the time they look just like every other college student. You may even be
curious about the events they have and the benefits you’ve heard of. Once
you’ve taken the time to talk to an Army ROTC cadet, you find out there
are a lot of reasons why cadets are so willing to be up this early. Here’s
how cadets leverage their paper diplomas into the gold bars of an Army
What is ROTC?
Army ROTC is the Army’s “Reserve Officers’ Training Corp”, and was
established when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense Act
of 1916. This college based program offers military science classes and
instruction that enhance one’s college experience and prepares students
for service as officers in the regular Army, Army Reserves, or National
Guard. Cadets who graduate from the program enter the service as second
Three Rivers Battalion includes the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
metropolitan area and the University of Pittsburgh, where
Captain Jamie Bell serves as the Enrollment and Scholarship Officer /Assistant Professor of Military Science for Army ROTC.
She says, “There are some students who have the wrong impression of Army
ROTC. We are not all about yelling or getting ready for war. Our cadets
are still civilians and this is an academic setting. In fact we encourage
students and their parents to both come visit us and see our program for
themselves.” While there is still a degree of military style training on
campus, the overall emphasis is on cadets’ education and career
Who enrolls in
Students who want to serve their country, and at the same time want to
enjoy the educational and career benefits of the Army, find ROTC to be
ideal. Perhaps you’ve heard of these famous Army ROTC graduates: Lou Holtz
(head coach at Notre Dame), General Colin Powell (former U.S Secretary of
State), Samuel Alito (Supreme Court Justice), James Earl Jones (actor),
Frank Wells (former president of Walt Disney), Nancy Currie (astronaut),
and Sam Walton (founder of Wal-Mart).
Why enroll in
1. Military career
Guaranteed, immediate employment with the Army once you graduate. The
opportunity to serve your country. Training
on the world’s most advanced equipment and tools. Employer funded
continuing education opportunities. Structured opportunities for
promotions and pay raises. A military career offers graduates many perks
most civilian employers can’t match.
scholarships are not given based on the financial needs of
cadets, rather they are awarded based on merit, as are most perks in the
military. Army ROTC offers several scholarship options. There are a two,
three, and four year options. These
scholarships will generally cover the
entire cost of your tuition, provide an allowance for books and school
fees, and provide a living stipend based on what level you are at in the
Army ROTC curriculum.
Cadets compete for national and campus based
Scholarships are awarded to those with the best Grade Point Averages, Army Physical
Fitness Test scores, and the Army’s Leadership Development Assessment
Course results. ROTC cadets will be the first to tell you don’t let these
criteria stop you from applying; that ROTC wants you to succeed and is
designed to help you reach your academic goals.
Want an excellent insurance policy against economic downturns? Consider
military service. What other vocation is always hiring through good and
bad economic times?
In the civilian world, having a job waiting for you upon graduation has
become a rarity. Faced with unemployment, and debt to pay back, many
students turn to mom and dad for help. A 2009 CollgeGrad.com study stated,
“Among 2009 U.S. college graduates, 80 percent moved back home with their
parents after graduation, up from 77 percent in 2008, 73 percent in 2007,
and 67 percent in 2006.”
4. Civilian careers
Remember that less than 1% of our population serves in all of the Armed
Forces combined. Being a current or former member of the military
immediately makes you stand out. Military service is a highly respected,
and often sought after, attribute of job seekers. Many ROTC cadets will
graduate and serve in the National Guard or Army Reserves as officers
while maintaining a civilian career.
Do employers really favor soldiers? Captain Bell thinks so. In fact she
points to the Army’s ROTC PaYS Program (Partnership for Youth Success).
This program partners with 400 larger companies who give hiring preference
to Army ROTC cadets who will graduate and serve in the Guard or Reserves.
In Caroline Levchuck's Yahoo HotJobs article Returning Vets: Employers
Want You she quotes Bob Putnam, senior manager of retail HR development
for RadioShack. "At RadioShack, the core values that we hold near and dear
are integrity, pride, trust and teamwork. That's really what people in the
military are all about, and that's what makes candidates with a military
background perfect for RadioShack."
5. Additional benefits
Cadets who sign a contract with the Army are also entitled to additional
benefits. They can achieve the following stipend amounts:
-1st year, $300 per month
-2nd year, $350 per month
-3rd year, $450 per month
-4th year, $500 per month
Cadets who are not on scholarships, but have contracted with the Army will
also be paid the stipend in their third and fourth year.
Your commitment to ROTC.
scholarship puts you under contract with the Army. You are
agreeing to serve in some capacity for a specified period of time. Meeting
with the college’s Military Science department is important so that you
fully understand the benefits you receive and the commitment expected from
Unless you’ve accepted a
scholarship there is no commitment to participate
in ROTC during your first two years of college. Junior years are called
contract years in ROTC because cadets must then make a decision to
continue ROTC or not. Cadets who continue will choose an appropriate
military career path and contract with the Army.
College life as an ROTC cadet.
Lieutenant Michelle Raia, also of
Three Rivers Battalion, feels
enhanced her college experience. “For me it was like belonging to a
family. Of course discipline is expected from the cadets, we have to be up
early for morning PT (physical training), for example, but I still enjoyed
other college activities. I also noticed that people respect you more
because they know ROTC cadets work hard and are very motivated.”
To learn more about
Army ROTC options, contact:
Captain Jamie Bell
Admissions and Enrollment Officer &
Assistant Professor of Military Science
Army ROTC, Three Rivers Battalion
University of Pittsburgh
The academic and financial rewards of rowing
you are a girl in high school and want another college scholarship option,
consider the sport of rowing. The National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) has made women's rowing, along with scholarships and program
funding a priority. Here is what you need to know.
On September 14, 2011 the
Three Rivers Rowing Association in
Washington's Landing, Pittsburgh, will host their 6th annual
Recruiting Night. Executive Director Rick Brown, who first arranged this
annual event 6 years ago, says "Our
College Recruiting Night is a great
opportunity for colleges to meet our athletes, as well as, provide our
athletes an opportunity to learn more about the colleges' programs and
College scholarships for rowing? Yes, says Brown, who has watched the
sport of rowing blossom over the last 10-15 years. In fact, for student
athletes who are also pursuing a college education, rowing has provided a
tremendous opportunity to both participate in competitive sports and pay
Why rowing has gained popularity.
Why has rowing gained such popularity over the last 2 decades? Gregory
Butera writing in the 1997 American Rower's Almanac offered these
suggestions: the basics are easy to pick up, rowing crews can accommodate
many athletes, there are plenty of opportunities for women to compete, and the sport
of rowing can be for all ages and athletic abilities. Another reason
rowing has gained popularity is the fact it has provided many scholarship
opportunities for females; options that didn't exist in the past.
Scholarships for women athletes.
Title IX was enacted by Congress in 1972
with an intent to create equality between males and females within the
realm of academics. However, one may argue that its greatest impact has been on
high school and collegiate sports. In order to comply with the commonly
accepted interpretations of
Title IX, many colleges have actively
promoted rowing as a way of balancing the availability of athletic
scholarships to women. Butera wrote, "These equity rules require a balance
in number of opportunities for male and female athletes in financial
support of sports programs. The NCAA has made only women's crew, an
intercollegiate sport complete with scholarships and funding." For
example, women are generally not going to try out for or compete on a college
football team. That means there is one less opportunity for them to receive
an athletic scholarship. Rowing scholarships for females provide balance.
Three Rivers Rowing Association, Brown
says that College Recruiting Night also creates an awareness about
scholarship opportunities among student athletes that may not have fully
understood how they work. In his experience parents of rowers seem to be more aware of the
scholarships than the students. At this event students and their parents
talk directly to college representatives about their specific questions.
How to get involved.
New seasons for rowing begin in the fall with the start of school and
there are programs for all ages. At Three Rivers Rowing Association, the
Junior Rowing program, for example, offers 13-18 year olds the change to
participate in a competitive sport within the supportive environment of a
nationally recognized rowing club.
do students earn scholarships?
Scholarship awards are performance based. As with all team sports, team
results factor into a recruiting college's criteria. Additionally, there
are individual tests that are completed on ergometer rowing machines,
which provide a good indication of an individual's overall rowing fitness.
Make no mistake. Rowing is a highly competitive sport and student athletes
are expected to follow a practice schedule. Three Rivers Rowing
Association says, "Rowers will be grouped together according to skill
level and coached accordingly. Rowers will earn seats in racing boats.
Priority is to field the fastest boats possible in all categories."
Whether working toward
scholarship offers, fitness goals, or winning races,
rowing typically requires up to 5 days of practice for 2-3 hour sessions
Three Rivers Rowing Association has a
great relationship with many college coaches; many of whom will travel to
the Association's location in order to participate in practices of the
U.S. Rowing Junior National Development Team. The involvement of these
coaches further enhances the access student athletes at the club will have
to programs that provide scholarships.
Three Rivers Rowing Association's Executive Director also notes that
rowing looks good on any college application as an extracurricular
activity. For students competing for a spot in their college of choice,
their success in rowing makes them a more attractive candidate. Their
involvement in the sport demonstrates highly prized work traits colleges
are eager to see in their freshmen.
Three Rivers Rowing Association.
Three Rivers Rowing Association was
founded in 1984 and was named the 2010
USRowing Club of the Year, chosen out
of 1,100 USRowing member organizations. You can learn more about their
club at threeriversrowing.org.
More info on College Recruiting Night.
For: High School Seniors with Rowing Experience,
(only seniors will be allowed to attend because of recruiting rules)
Parents (of seniors) and High School
When: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Three Rivers Rowing Association,
Lambert Boathouse at Washington's Landing
College Recruiting Night
Three Rivers Rowing Association
are a few financial aid programs for college.
The Federal Pell Grant
Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students - PLUS
Direct Stafford Loan
Federal Family Education Stafford Loan
Federal Work Study and Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Remember that grants are gifts that will not have to be paid back. Loans
will have to be paid back and they have fees attached.
4% of your loan amount will be deducted from the amount given to you.
That 4% represents the fee the taken to cover administrative costs of
making the loan.
Direct Stafford Loans are made by the U.S. government. Federal Family
Education Stafford Loans are made by financial institutions.
Subsidized loans means you do not have to pay the interest or the
principal until 6 months after you graduate.
Unsubsidized loans usually means you start paying the interest part of
the loan as soon as the loan amount is dispersed to you. There are cases
when you can let the interest be capitalized. That means your interest
payment is added onto the principal until you are required to start
Source: Personal Financial Planning - Theory and Practice, 2010
Free college tuition for
firefighters are a special group of people that protect us and our
property. Even though they are on call 24 hours every day they never
seem to get the recognition they deserve. Maybe because these men
and women are just always there we forget what would happen if they
were not. Take these fire related statistics into consideration:
1. Most of the career
firefighters (74%) are in communities that
protect 25,000 or more people.
2. Most of the
firefighters (94%) are in departments that
protect fewer than 25,000 people
More than half are located in small, rural departments protecting
fewer than 2,500 people.
3. In 2008, a total of 104 firefighters were fatally injured while
Of these, 42 were career firefighters, 54 were
firefighters, and 8 were
The 2009 U.S.
A fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds.
One structure fire was reported every 66 seconds.
One home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds
One civilian fire injury was reported every 31 minutes.
One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 55 minutes.
One outside fire was reported every 49 seconds.
One vehicle fire was reported every 146 seconds.
Volunteer firefighters are
just that. Volunteers. That means there is no pay for them. In fact
there are relatively few perks to these volunteer positions. That is
why it is nice to hear about a program that will pay for their
college tuition in full in exchange for their volunteer firefighting
The Community College of
Allegheny county offers an incredible free
full scholarship can be awarded to those who serve as a volunteer
firefighter for five years. One of the requirements for the tuition
waiver is that the
volunteer firefighter maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average.
FireVEST scholarship program brochure here.
From the CCAC website:
PITTSBURGH—Residents of Allegheny County can receive full
scholarships to the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) by
committing to serve with a volunteer fire department for the next
five years. The registration deadline for the spring term is Nov.
A partnership between CCAC and Allegheny County, the FireVEST
program provides scholarships to residents of Allegheny County who
are either current volunteers or who join a volunteer fire
department in Allegheny County. Applicants must apply and be
accepted to CCAC; file for federal and state financial aid; and
complete the financial aid process on time and in its entirety.
Applications for the FireVEST program are available on CCAC’s web
site at www.ccac.edu (search keyword “FireVEST”) or by contacting
the Allegheny County Fire Academy at 412-931-3158, ext. 5.
If awarded a scholarship, the
recipient must meet the following obligations:
* Serve as a
volunteer firefighter for five years in Allegheny County;
* Maintain an acceptable level of service as monitored by his or her fire
volunteer fire department;
* Complete two required courses at the Allegheny County Fire Academy and a
course in first aid and CPR;
* Obtain Firefighter I Certification through the Allegheny County Fire
* Maintain a minimum semester grade point average of 2.0 for the duration
of his or her studies; and
* Repay a portion of the scholarship if service or academic requirements
are not met.
Advisory Board will review all applications and other forms to assess
scholarship eligibility and to determine scholarship recipients. Being
accepted into membership of the sponsoring agency (Volunteer
and/or being accepted for enrollment at CCAC does not guarantee the
student will be awarded a scholarship under the FireVEST program, nor does
it guarantee acceptance into limited-enrollment CCAC programs. Instead,
the recruitment needs of the sponsoring agencies are the first priority
when selecting scholarship recipients.
More information can be found about this program online.