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Scholarships for Outstanding Airman to ROTC (SOAR)

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The Scholarships for Outstanding Airman to ROTC (SOAR) offers active duty enlisted personnel the opportunity to earn a commission while completing their bachelor's degree as an Air Force ROTC cadet.

Unlike the other enlisted commissioning programs, SOAR is basically a commander's program, which allows commanders to nominate outstanding enlisted personnel for a commission.

A selection board is held once a year. Selections are made at the MAJCOM (Major Command) level for most airmen (those assigned to AFSOC, AFSPC or FOAs/DRUs other than AIA are selected from a Small Units selection board that meets at HQ AFROTC at Maxwell).

Four allocations are set aside for enlisted recruiters selected by the Air Force Recruiting Service (AETC/RS). Applicants must be nominated by their wing commander (or equivalent).

There are 54 SOAR allocations and they are divided among the MAJCOMs/FOAs/DRUs based upon MAJCOM enlisted strength.

  • Air Combat Command (ACC) -- 16 allocations per year
  • Air Education & Training Command (AETC) -- 7 allocations per year
  • Air Force Material Command (AFMC) -- 4 allocations per year
  • Air Mobility Command (AMC) -- 9 allocations per year
  • Pacific Air Force (PACAF) -- 5 allocations per year
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) -- 4 allocations per year
  • Recruiting -- 4 allocations per year
  • Small Units (Forward Operating Agencies, Direct Reporting Units, etc) -- 5 allocations per year
The MAJCOM/FOA/DRU/Small Units boards utilize the "whole person" concept to evaluate applicants. While selection boards consider all documents in an application package, they typically focus on the commander's recommendation, the airman's duty performance history, and the applicant's academic performance to determine the applicant's eligibility. Airmen selected for SOAR will begin classes the following fall term. Airmen who will be too old to qualify for a scholarship if they must wait until the following fall term to begin their commissioning program may apply for a waiver to begin classes during the spring term. Application procedures are determined by the individual MAJCOMs/FOAs/DRUs and the MAJCOM application deadline is 15 October. MAJCOMs/FOAs/DRUs forward their nominations to HQ AFROTC by 1 Dec.

Each MAJCOMs/FOAs/DRUs (and the Small Units board) submits the nomination packages for their SOAR winners to a follow-on board at Maxwell by 1 December. This follow-on board selects the top 10% of the SOAR winners to receive a Type 1 (uncapped tuition) scholarship. This board will also evaluate any qualified nonselects forwarded by the MAJCOMs/FOAs/DRUs and the Small Units board. If any allocations are unfilled, or if HQ AFROTC awards additional SOAR allocations (depending on officer production at the time), this board may award additional SOAR scholarship offers to these nominees.

Those selected separate from the active duty Air Force, join an Air Force ROTC detachment and become a full-time college student. The Air Force provides them with a tuition/fees scholarship of up to $15,000 per year, an annual textbook allowance of $510, and a monthly nontaxable stipend of $200-$400. This scholarship will be awarded for two to four years, depending on how many years the selectee has remaining in their bachelor's degree program. Airmen with some or no college credit may be selected for the program. A limited number of SOAR selects will be offered a scholarship with no tuition cap.

This program is open to students in ANY MAJOR.

Upon graduation and completion of the program, participants are commissioned as a second lieutenant and then returned to active duty (typically within 60 days of commissioning) for at least four years.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this program you must:

  • Be a United States citizen.

  • Be under age 31 on December 31 of the year you will graduate and earn your commission. Note: For applicants applying for Nursing: Title 10, United States Code (USC), Section 12201 authorizes the appointment of fully qualified health professions officers (Nurses) beyond age 31. Nurse applicants may be commissioned prior to their 47th birthday, pending the needs of the Air Force.

  • Have between one and six years Time-In-Service.

  • Have at least one year Time-On-Station (Waiverable--Note that waivers are not guaranteed).

  • Be recommended by your immediate commander.

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