As a former Army ROTC Professor of Military Science for two “high cost” schools (Claremont McKenna College and the University of Southern California) I am often asked if it is better to take ROTC at a public or private school? In cases where you have an Army, Navy, or certain Air Force ROTC scholarships which pay full tuition, my answer is almost always “a private school.”
Private Schools vs. Public schools often:
1. Give you incentives which pay for room and board and/or tuition for the first year of a 3 year scholarship. The “Gold Standard” for ROTC incentives IMHO is the University of Toledo. Maximizing these incentive benefits can amount to over $100,000 in savings over a four year period.
2. Help you gain admission to the school if you have a scholarship “in hand.” Have seen many examples of scholarship recipients getting admission to “reach schools” where otherwise they would not have gained admission without the help of ROTC
3. Have lower student-faculty ratios—students get more individual attention and often times a better educational experience.
4. Allow you to graduate on time so your scholarship benefits don’t run out. Public schools in a number of states are “impacted”—meaning classes are not available which extends the time to graduation
5. Often have nicer facilities for ROTC and greater support from the college administration
Overall, the decision on where to do ROTC is a personal choice and there are sometimes good reasons to select a state supported college or university over a private school. However, in most cases, the better choice is a private school.