College seekers interested in applying to an ROTC program in Illinois may want to consider five universities that have commissioning opportunities in the Navy/Marines, Army, and Air Force. Most of these schools offer a combination of two or more of these military branches. Whether the school is a 4-year public or private institution, supportive resources are made available to all ROTC students.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||In-State Tuition (2022-2023)*||Tuition Assistance/Military Benefits|
|Southern Illinois University-Carbondale||4-year, public||Carbondale, Illinois||$15,416||AROTC scholarships/monthly living allowance/tuition waiver/2-year program stipends, AFROTC scholarships/monthly allowance/tuition waiver/travel payment/college credit/graduate degree options|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||4-year, public||Champaign, Illinois||$15,714||AROTC scholarships/troop training/tuition waiver, AFROTC scholarships/tuition waiver/service organization, NROTC scholarships/tuition waiver/orientation training program/enlisted program options|
|Lewis University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Romeoville, Illinois||$36,530||AFROTC scholarships/tuition waiver/professional development organization, AROTC scholarships/non-scholarship option/active duty options|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||4-year, private not-for-profit||Chicago, Illinois||50,640||AFROTC scholarships/tuition waiver/professional development organization, NROTC scholarships, AROTC scholarships/tuition waiver, ROTC housing scholarship/room and board scholarship|
|Northwestern University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Evanston, Illinois||$63,468||NROTC scholarships/active duty option/mentorship|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Overview of ROTC Programs in Illinois
The colleges detailed below offer ROTC scholarship awards to student trainees. However, there are other financial options to consider, especially for cadets who are enlisted soldiers returning to school. Supportive services tend to differ based on school and program of choice. These aspects should be reviewed before pursuing one of these ROTC programs in Illinois, some of which share the same unit or detachment with other nearby universities.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale currently has 11,266 students attending its school, according to 2021-2022 NCES College Navigator data. Within its ROTC program option, students have the choice to engage in training as an Army or Air Force cadet. As part of the Saluki Strike Battalion, AROTC applicants have access to 2- to 4-year scholarships offering full tuition, free room and board, a monthly living allowance, and a book allowance. The school's AFROTC Detachment 205 offer similar benefits to recent high school graduates and current college students, but also pays students who travel to various Air Force bases around the world. When necessary, the unit also allows commissioned cadets to delay any active duty requirements while enrolled in graduate school. Both programs offer a 100% tuition waiver to qualifying cadets who reside in the state of Illinois.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to choose among several ROTC training programs. Each option gives out scholarship assistance in addition to an in-state tuition waiver. The Navy and Marine Corp program offers commissioning opportunities to enlisted soldiers through various programs as well as optional training to incoming cadets through the New Student Orientation Program. The Army ROTC also provides leadership training to students through its Cadet Troop Leader Training experience. AFROTC students can learn leadership and professional skills by joining the Jake Schaefer Squadron, which is a chapter of the Arnold Air Society service organization. As reported by NCES, in the 2021-2022 school year, more than 56,607 learners were enrolled at this college.
Lewis University's private institute teaches a total of 6,183 students, including those who make up the college's ROTC community. The Rolling Thunder Battalion is associated with Wheaton College's AROTC. Scholarship students can receive full or partial scholarships for tuition as well as a monthly stipend. Non-scholarship can receive a tuition reduction. Active duty students are typically eligible to receive 2-3 years of financial help from programs like the Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarship. AFROTC trainees can receive similar financial help. AFROTC students can also participate in service opportunities through the school's chapter of Arnold Air Society. The school's AFROTC program is in partnership with Detachment 195 at Illinois Institute of Technology, but classes may be taken at either school.
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology offers Navy, Army, and Air Force ROTC programs. According to the NCES, 6,486 students attend the school, pursuing degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctorate level. First-time cadets at this school can find a variety of ROTC scholarships. NROTC and AFROTC training is made available on campus while the AROTC's Fire Battalion is experienced at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Student cadets in all three programs are eligible to receive either a housing scholarship or room and board scholarship throughout their time at IIT.
Northwestern University provides a Navy ROTC option that features several different resources for students who want to become Navy or Marine Corp officers after college. Students can find 2- to 4-year scholarships when applying for the Navy or Marine Corps option. Enlisted Navy cadets are supported financially by the STA-21 Program while active duty Marines can utilize the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. Current college students who didn't receive a scholarship are given the chance to join the team and apply for later scholarships after acceptance into the College Program. The NROTC program provides students with mentorship opportunities and career services. Navy students can expect to join a school population of 23,409 students when applying to Northwestern University.