Simultaneous Membership Program
"Simultaneous" means students who are at the same time:
- full-time college students (sophomore, junior, senior, or grad students)
- currently serving (or willing to enlist) in the USAR or ARNG
- enrolled in Army ROTC
In the SMP you participate in unit training with your USAR or ARNG unit one weekend a month, while earning your commission through ROTC. Upon college graduation, you will be commissioned as an officer in the Army, and have the option of either serving full-time on Active Duty, or part-time in the Army Reserves or Army National Guard.
If You Are Already Serving in the USAR or ARNG
If you're already enlisted, your benefits already include tuition assistance (up to $4500 per year), 100% tuition waiver (ARNG only), GI Bill ($309 per month, if MOS qualified), and drill pay. Joining ROTC adds a few things to that:
- Drill pay increase to SGT (E-5) rate ($274.84 per month)
- ROTC stipend ($350-$500 per month)
- GI Bill Kicker ($350 per month) for being in ROTC
- Non-deployable status—your college education won't be interrupted by deployment
- Officer training in your unit
If you are (or will be) a freshman and are currently enlisted, you are eligible for SMP at the beginning of your sophomore year. For your first year you can still enroll in ROTC classes, and drill with your unit, but are not formally in the SMP. If you are a sophomore or higher and currently enlisted, you must enroll in the SMP to enroll in ROTC.
If You Are Not in the USAR or ARNG
To get into the SMP, students with no prior military service will attend Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) during the summer and will be assigned to a local National Guard or Reserve unit upon completion of training. (Prospective cadets with prior military experience may simply be assigned to a unit.)
- It is possible to join the ARNG and enroll in ROTC without going to Basic Training, but without Basic Training and AIT you are only eligible for a fraction of the tuition benefits available.
- In most cases, completing BCT and AIT will take longer than the summer break and cause you to skip a semester, or half semester of classes. However, many students see this as a good bargain for the amount of financial aid it makes you eligible for.
Simultaneous Membership Program Benefits:
- Up to 100% tuition and fees paid
- Cash enlistment bonus, depending on MOS
- $300-$500 monthly ROTC stipend
- $274.84 monthly drill pay
- $309/month GI Bill (requires completion of BCT and AIT)
- $350/month GI Bill Kicker (requires completion of BCT and AIT)
- Basic soldier skills (BCT) and job skills (AIT)
- Hands-on military experience by participating in your unit training
When you enlist in the USAR or ARNG you may choose an enlistment period of up to 6 years. However, as soon as you graduate college and get commissioned through ROTC (usually on the same day as graduation), your enlistment contract is terminated—no matter how much time is left on your enlistment.
Upon commissioning, you start a brand new career as an Army officer. That means that even though you were enlisted in the USAR or ARNG while going to school, you have the option of serving as an officer either full-time on Active Duty, or staying part-time as an officer in the USAR or ARNG.
Also, the job specialty (MOS) you had while enlisted has no bearing on your career options as an officer. If you like the field you were in as an enlisted soldier, you can choose that field as an officer. If not, you can pick any of the other 16 basic branches.
SMP does not lock you into--or out of--any commissioning options. You can still go on Active Duty, or switch from having been enlisted in the USAR to an officer in the ARNG (or vice versa). You can stay in your enlisted career field, or switch to something totally different.
Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD)
Cadets who know that when they graduate they only want to serve in a reserve component (USAR or ARNG) can request a GRFD contract. A GRFD contract means that you will not—either voluntarily or involuntarily—be given an Active Duty assignment after commissioning. By signing a GRFD contract, you agree to pick either a USAR or ARNG assignment upon commissioning.
It is not necessary to sign a GRFD contract in order to get a USAR or ARNG commission; you can request USAR or ARNG at the same time (the end of your junior year) as you request your career branch and other commissioning options. SMP participation is not required for GRFD contracting.