The motto of Iowa State University is, “Science with practice”. That being said it is the goal of Iowa State to foster a development and fostering of intellectual development and practical knowledge to all its’ students. The university strives to increase the abilities of its’ students in all areas whether they be moral, academic, or social. Within the realm of the university there lies another program which seeks to edify the same qualities within its populace. The United States Army ROTC at Iowa State University is known throughout the nation as one of the premier programs in the country. This program too lives by a motto, “This we’ll defend”. This signifies to those select few who take an oath to our nation that to the death they will protect this nation, their home, and most of all each other. Army ROTC cadets at ISU have a unique and infinitely challenging set of responsibilities to juggle. After graduation they will not move back home, seek employment, or apply for graduate school. They will move on to serve our nation and risk their lives to keep ours free. Indeed the sacrifice of those who have fallen line the walls of Gold Star Hall. Undoubtedly what they do after graduation is in stark contrast to what most of the student body does. Therefore, it is in my opinion that the university should waive the room and board fee to all scholarship ROTC cadets for the years that their scholarship is in effect. Now you may think that this is a pity request or that the university can not afford to take a loss of revenue at this point, however there are tangible and extremely valid benefits to this proposal. After analyzing empirical evidence and gathering information from major public research universities who utilize this program it became obvious that waiving the room and board fee to scholarship cadets is a distinct advantage to the university as well as the cadets.
Currently, over 150 different universities provide benefits to the contracted Army ROTC cadets. The levels of benefits vary, however, depending on the institution. Some schools only offer a small reduction of the room and board costs, while others completely waive the room and board fees. These institutions range from small, private colleges to large, public universities. Some examples of the schools who waive all the room and board fees for cadets include University of Kentucky, Pennsylvania State University, Tulane University, Louisiana State University, University of Portland and University of Arkansas. Iowa State University does not offer any benefits to its ROTC scholarship cadets.
In order to enact this proposal, Iowa State would simply waive the room and board fees on the scholarship cadets’ university bill. These benefits would only be available for the durations of the scholarship. In most cases, this is either three or four academic years. This option would apply to either Willow or Helser hall. Willow Hall is where the Army ROTC learning community cadets currently live. Helser Hall, on the other hand, would provide an option on the opposite side of campus. This would be of particular benefit to engineering and design students. A standard meal plan would be included for both options. The approval process would start with Dr. Englin, the director of the department of residence at Iowa State. It would then go to Dr. Hill, the vice president of student affairs. Ultimately, the Iowa Board of Regents would most likely need to approve such a policy.
Iowa State has over 10 NCAA Division 1 athletic programs that routinely represent the university in the field of athletic competition throughout the country. Many of these athletes are awarded scholarships that pay for the entirety of their school expenses from tuition and fees to room and board. And that system is fair, the athletes represent the university and bring it large amounts of revenue, therefore they deserve the benefits they receive. However, the Army ROTC department also represents the university in competition and routinely places first in whatever they compete in. Iowa State University Army ROTC consistently ranks first within the 3rd Brigade of U.S. Army Cadet Command. This is an accumulation of over 30 schools in 10 states including The Universities of Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Illinois. The Ranger Challenge team as an annual tradition takes first at the brigade wide competition held every Fall. Finally Iowa State represents the university in a nation wide completion that every cadet that hopes to commission as an officer must attend, LDAC. The Leadership Development and Assessment Course is called, “The NCAA tournament for Army ROTC cadets”. It is a test of all the knowledge that cadets have attained through their junior year of college. Moreover it is a competition to see which universities produce the highest quality cadets that will enter one of the most arduous professions that anyone can enter, the United States Army. It comes as no surprise that Iowa State perennially proves it develops the greatest officers in the nation when its’ students are assessed at LDAC. After all is said and done it is obvious that the Army ROTC participates in a multitude of activities that athletes also participate in, and consistently earns top marks in those events. And yet, the Army ROTC receives little to no funding from the university. Alongside the fact that the program represents the university we must remember that they also represent our nation. Being a Lieutenant fresh out of college and in command of over 40 soldiers for your first job is an arduous task. Leading them into war is even harder. And yet, year after year graduated cadets put down the books, pens, and paper, and take up rifles, maps, and rucksacks to fight for our nation. If for nothing, we as an institution of higher learning which so strongly believes in the freedom of all must use this opportunity to show our gratitude to the American soldier who so willingly lays his life down for his friends.
Naturally, it would seem that providing free room and board to the scholarships cadets would be a very significant expense. However, this could ultimately generate a profit for Iowa State. The Army ROTC program at Iowa State is consistently one of the top five programs in the entire nation. In addition, Iowa State would be one of the only schools in the immediate region to provide free room and board. The combination of these two facts means that there is a significant opportunity to attract a new pool of students, many of whom would be out of state.
The stated rates for the proposed room and board package would be $7,444 per cadet. Tuition for an out of state student is $18,563 while tuition for an in state student is $6,997 (“Rates: ISU Housing”). This means that for every out of state cadet that the university attracts, the net revenue for the university will be $11,119. For in state cadets, the university will only have a net loss of $447. Clearly, the net revenue from out of state students will more than cover the possible loss from the in state students. Also, the tuition revenue would be guaranteed for multiple years because the students have signed a contract and the Army would be paying for the tuition. For the fall 2010 semester, there were 234 available spaces in the on campus housing (“Occupancy: ISU Housing”). These spaces were available despite record enrollment numbers at Iowa State. The university is not collecting any revenue from these unused spaces anyway, so they could be allotted to an ROTC scholarship cadet.
The cadets of Army ROTC deal with a multitude of responsibilities that encompass tasks ranging from scholar to soldier. Unlike any other group on campus cadets must understand that they will move into harms way after graduation. Waiving the fee of room and board would ease the stress on cadets as well as recognize their outstanding efforts. The university would not financially suffer from this waiving of fees, and in the long run would significantly benefit from an enormous net gain in tuition. This would also attract a larger base of students to attend, as well as encourage the truly brilliant to attend ISU. This proposal has outlined numerous amounts of benefits to the busiest students on campus as well as the university that they represent everyday. These cadets represent our school, community, and nation with honor this is the least that we may do.