Attend a Military Academy

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If you’re seeking an education directly within a military setting — one that combines traditional instruction with military education, drilling, leadership, and service — you might be a good candidate for a military academy. Military or service academies are a great option if you plan to enter into a military career immediately following your formal education. This is especially true if you hope to become an officer or a part of the military’s leadership structure.

These schools are often quite competitive, requiring strong academic performance for admission. But if you qualify, many of these schools do provide generous scholarships or even free admission.

Federal Military Academies

The five major federal military universities are distinguished by a high level of competition for admission and by their academic excellence. In order to gain entrance into the Military Academy in West Point, for instance, an applicant is required, alongside top academic marks, to present a letter of commendation from a Senator or congressperson, or failing that, the President or Vice President of the United States.

If you should gain entrance into one of these institutions, however, you will attend school free of charge. Admission into the U.S. Military, Air Force, Naval, or Coast Guard Academy comes with a full scholarship, funded by the military branch in question. This scholarship covers tuition, housing and, in some cases, provides a stipend for fees, books, and/or living expenses. The Merchant Marine Academy charges no tuition and is largely funded directly by the federal government. In each of these cases, bear in mind that your admission will come with a mandatory service obligation. If you are prepared to make that commitment, admission into one of the following federal military institutions would be entirely free of charge.

In addition to these federal academies, the military maintains affiliations with a fairly broad range of institutions, both public and private, and at the prep and college levels, that provide a wide spectrum of scholarship opportunities for aspiring cadets. To be considered for a scholarship or a free ride, reach out directly to the college or prep school of your choice listed below:

Private College Prep Schools

Public Military Schools

The following public military academies are part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, and are therefore funded directly through the United States Department of Defense.

State-supported maritime colleges and universities

Senior Military Colleges

For more information and resources on getting a quality education, earning a degree or getting a great job, return to the Military Education Headquarters.

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