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Basketball Courts take XU

By Jake Heath
On June 28, 2011

When America is overcome with economic crisis, it is not only its citizens who feel the shackles of a restricted budget.

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program at Xavier has especially felt this squeeze in their annual budget, creating a race to obtain military scholarships for the cadets of the program.

"If you were in the program about five years ago, it would have been almost guaranteed that you had received a scholarship," Lieutenant Colonel Shane Ousey said. "Now, it's a little bit more of a challenge."

Ousey heads the ROTC program for five of the surrounding schools which include: Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Miami University of Ohio, Thomas Moore and College of Mount Saint Joseph.

According to Ousey, the problem has been a budget constraint much due to the economic crisis in combination with the army's capacity for Officers. "Before, there was high demand for these officers, but the army is getting close to their max population for these officers, so there is less incentive to train more officers," Ousey said.

The annual budget pays for all scholarships for all five schools and also covers all other forms of activities that the program might run that year. For example, Ousey commented that on the way to their annual Field Training Exercise (FTX) in Camp Atterbury, IN, they were able to get Black Hawk helicopters to escort the cadets to the training exercise.

"We were really excited to get the cadets on the Black Hawks this year. We thought that would be a great experience for the cadets and they all enjoyed it."

Despite Ousey's budget constraint , he is still optimistic for his cadets. "There are many other options and plenty of areas that cadets can receive financial aid to pay for either partial amounts of their school payments or in many cases close to all of it," Ousey said.

Cadets can enroll in the United States Army Reserve or the National Guard for this sort of funding.

For all forms of military scholarships, cadets must complete their physical fitness test, be medically qualified, and contract before receiving funding.

A contract commitment usually involves an eight year service in the army, however, this time can be spent in many different ways depending upon the choice of the cadet.

According to Ousey, active duty is often chosen for half of their contract, while the other half can be fulfilled doing National Guard or the Army Reserves.

Other options can be utilized to fulfill their contract commitment.

ROTC scholarships provide financial aid that covers all tuition and fees, as well as a stipend for students. These stipends vary in quantity depending on the number of years the cadet has been in the program.

"These scholarships have not always been so generous," Ousey said. "In 2005, there used to be a cap of $20,000 on tuition payments, but now he have students from all over receiving completely free tuition for their services."

With this financial aid, Ousey says many cadets have academic scholarships which can be applied to the difference not paid for by the army.

Room and Board expenses are often covered and in many cases money is given back to the students if there is left over from their academic scholarship.

Currently, 85 students are enrolled in the program. Of these 85, 68 have contracted, 55 of which have received scholarships.

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