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
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.
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.