In the SMP, you participate in unit training with your USAR or ARNG unit one weekend a month while earning your commission through ROTC. Upon college graduation, you will be commissioned as an officer in the Army and have the option of either serving full-time on active duty or part-time in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard.
If you are already serving in the USAR or ARNG:
If you're already enlisted, your benefits already include federal tuition assistance (pays for 15 hours per year, state TA (ARNG only), GI Bill ($384 per month, if MOS qualified), and drill pay. Joining ROTC adds a few things to that:
- Drill pay increase to SGT (E-5) rate ($319.12 per month; this increases annually).
- ROTC stipend ($420 per month).
- GI Bill Kicker ($350 per month) for being in ROTC.
- Non-deployable status - your college education won't be interrupted by deployment.
- Officer training in your unit.
If you are (or will be) a freshman, are currently enlisted, and have completed Basic Combat Training, you are eligible for SMP at the beginning of your freshman spring semester. For your first semester, you can still enroll in ROTC classes and drill with your unit, but are not formally in the SMP. If you are a sophomore or higher and currently enlisted, you must enroll in the SMP to enroll in ROTC.
If You Are Not in the USAR or ARNG:
To get into the SMP, students with no prior military service will enlist and attend Basic Combat Training (BCT) during the summer and will be assigned to a local National Guard or Reserve unit. (Prospective cadets with prior military experience or who have completed the ROTC Basic Course may simply be assigned to a unit.)
When you enlist in the USAR or ARNG, you may choose an enlistment period of up to 6 years. However, as soon as you graduate college and get commissioned through ROTC (usually on the same day as graduation), your enlistment contract is terminated—no matter how much time is left on your enlistment.
Upon commissioning, you start a brand new career as an Army officer. That means that even though you were enlisted in the USAR or ARNG while going to school, you have the option of serving as an officer either full-time on Active Duty, or staying part-time as an officer in the USAR or ARNG.
Also, the job specialty (MOS) you had while enlisted has no bearing on your career options as an officer. If you like the field you were in as an enlisted soldier, you can choose that field as an officer. If not, you can pick any of the other 16 basic branches.
SMP does not lock you into--or out of--any commissioning options. You can still go on Active Duty, or switch from having been enlisted in the USAR to an officer in the ARNG (or vice versa). You can stay in your enlisted career field, or switch to something totally different.
Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD)
Cadets who know that when they graduate they only want to serve in a reserve component (USAR or ARNG) can request a GRFD contract. A GRFD contract means that you will not—either voluntarily or involuntarily—be given an Active Duty assignment after commissioning. By signing a GRFD contract, you agree to pick either a USAR or ARNG assignment upon commissioning.
It is not necessary to sign a GRFD contract in order to get a USAR or ARNG commission; you can request USAR or ARNG at the same time (the end of your junior year) as you request your career branch and other commissioning options. SMP participation is not required for GRFD contracting.
Please contact Mr. Coulter, Recruiting and Enrollment Officer, if you are interested.