(BPT) – College students interested in the Navy can focus on their academic careers while eliminating much of the financial burden of paying for school. With more than 160 colleges and universities across the United States offering Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) programs, students have many opportunities to finish a degree without going into overwhelming debt and have a career as a Navy Officer ready and waiting upon graduation.

Most NROTC units are only a part-time commitment during a student’s course of study at a university or college. NROTC offers up to $180,000 for tuition, with additional educational and lab fees covered. Students who enroll also receive a stipend for text books and living expenses each month, which increases each year the student is in school. With these expenses covered, NROTC students can make the most of their college experience by keeping their focus on academics, hobbies, and having the flexibility to pursue intramurals or spend time with friends rather than having to work to pay for tuition and board.

Students enrolled in NROTC also gain valuable leadership skills. Community service projects, Navy drills, and Naval Science courses are just a few of the activities that help prepare students to become respected Navy Officers. Additionally, Summer Cruise Training gives NROTC students an opportunity to shadow Navy Officers and gain invaluable on-the-job experience. These might include assignments on a nuclear submarine or nuclear surface vessel; training with a Navy aviator, which could include flight time; and training with navies of other countries in foreign exchange.

Upon graduation, careers in the Navy can take Sailors around the world and provide them with opportunities not available anywhere else. A vast array of career opportunities across skill sets are available as a Sailor. Just a few of the skilled professions available include nuclear propulsion, aviation, civil engineering, computer engineering and Nurse Corps. In addition, Sailors have access to Navy-funded continuing education programs to further their training and degrees.

Application to NROTC can begin during the second semester of a student’s junior year of high school. Future Sailors must adhere to strict moral, physical and academic standards, and students who meet the following requirements are encouraged to enroll in NROTC:

* U.S. citizenship

* Willingness to bear arms

* Be a high school graduate or have an equivalent certificate

* Be between the ages of 17 and 23 by enrollment, and under the age of 27 by graduation

* Pass a physical exam

* Have fewer than 30 semester or 45 quarter hours of college credit upon application

* Commit to serve for a minimum of five years (four years for nurses)

Naval ROTC provides students with career options upon graduation and helps make a college education ”“ as well as further training ”“ financially feasible. To learn more, visit navy.com.