In an effort to diversify its ranks, the Air Force announced that it will offer 100 additional scholarships to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps coordinated with leadership within Junior ROTC and its aviation program, the AFJROTC Flight Academy from across the country to find rising college freshmen that demonstrated leadership ability, aviation competencies, a propensity to serve in the U.S. military and an interest in attending an HBCU. Those awarded will receive a Type 1 ROTC scholarship which covers full tuition and fees and provides an annual book stipend.
“Air Force senior leadership wants to drive opportunities for both our Department, in how we embrace a more inclusive culture, and for our ROTC students to rise to an academic challenge,” said Brig. Gen. Leslie Maher, commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development. “Thus, in coordination with the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, the leadership requested something new and bold from ROTC in order to pursue increasing the diversity of accessions through the ROTC program.
Air Force officials say that the scholarships are one in a series of efforts aimed at promoting diversity within the military.
“Although HBCUs make up a small percentage of our nation’s colleges and universities, they have historically graduated a large percentage of Blacks with STEM degrees,” said Col. Christopher Bennett, Air Force ROTC commander. “Additionally, because the student bodies of HBCUs tend to have a higher percentage of racial and ethnic diversity, students at those schools have more opportunities to learn from the valuable insights of their peers that should help them be better leaders to all the diverse Airmen they will be responsible to lead.”