'SOAR' to commission with ROTC

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Airmen who want to advance their military career should consider Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC, or SOAR. 

"The SOAR program is a tremendous opportunity for our Airmen today," said Col. Thomas Feldhausen, 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander. "It is an opportunity to receive a commission in the Air Force. It is an opportunity that is not being taken advantage of and I would highly encourage anyone who is interested in a college degree and a commission in the Air Force to seriously consider this program." 

The ROTC SOAR program is an opportunity for Airmen to earn a commission and a degree with the help of ROTC. Selected Airmen will receive a tuition/fees scholarship of up to $15,000 per year, $600 per year for books and a monthly stipend of $200 - $400. Airmen with only one year to the completion of a bachelor's degree or seeking a graduate degree are ineligible. 

There are allotments for four Airmen throughout US Air Forces in Europe. That may not seem like many available spaces, but only one slot was filled for academic year 2007. Three scholarships were not used. 

Squadron commanders should recommend qualified airmen for the SOAR scholarship. While squadron commanders have a direct influence, the application packet must be completed by the applying airman. Airmen must be sure to prepare packets according to guidelines as they will be judged on their ability to put their applications together correctly. The education center can help with questions and application preparation.
"We are only allowed to assist in an advisory capacity," said Jacqueline DeRocco, education center counselor. "Part of the board score is on how well you completed the application and followed the checklist. If you need clarification on the application procedures we can help with that. We also figure your GPA for you because we sign the GPA sheet on the form 56. When you get your forms together, which should be about 30 days from the 'due to MAJCOM' date, we will review your package and help you put the folder together." 

Applicants should be under 31 by Dec. 31 of the year they will graduate and earn their commission. If you think you may be too old to apply, you may be wrong. Special circumstances, could permit the request for a waiver. Waiver requests should be submitted at the discretion of the commander to Headquarters AFROTC/RRUE no later than Sept.1. 

Bear in mind that Airmen will be expected to separate from active duty and become an AFROTC cadet. Cadets will no longer receive their military pay or benefits. Applicants should be able to live on the civilian economy like an average college student.
For more information, visit www.afoats.af.mil/AFROTC/
EnlistedComm/EnlistedCommisioning.asp.