ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. The Army, Air Force, and Navy maintain ROTC programs at colleges and universities around the country.
There are two types of ROTC Cadets or Midshipman: scholarship and non-scholarship. Those “on scholarship” have their education paid for and receive monthly living allowances in exchange for a defined military obligation stated in a contract.
Disenrollment from an ROTC or NROTC program has HUGE life consequences. First, it destroys a Cadet’s or Midshipman’s prospects for immediate commission following graduation. Most Cadets and Mids make decisions and plan futures based on receiving an officer commission. Second, for those “on scholarship,” the U.S. Government will seek reimbursement for the tuition and scholarship payments made on the cadet’s or mid’s behalf. For four-year scholarship recipients who are disenrolled in the final year, the bill is normally over $100,000. Third, the military could seek to impose immediate military service as an enlisted person. THESE ARE HIGH STAKES!
ROTC Disenrollment Actions are governed by military regulations: Army Regulation 145-1, Navy Service Training Command Instruction 1533.2A and Air Force ROTC Instruction 36-2011.
Cadets or Midshipman who are referred for ROTC disenrollment are entitled to due process. They are provided with notice of ROTC disenrollment and afforded the opportunity to attend a disenrollment hearing or board. Cadets or Midshipman may waive or exercise this right. Upon being referred for ROTC disenrollment, the following questions are presented:
- Is there a basis to disenroll or remove the Cadets or Midshipman from ROTC;
- If so, should the Cadets or Midshipman be disenrolled from the program;
- If disenrollment is warranted, should the Cadets or Midshipman be required to repay the scholarship benefits received;
- And/or should the Cadets or Midshipman be ordered to perform a period of active duty service as an enlisted service member.
How can a military lawyer help fight a proposed disenrollment?
An experienced military law attorney can attack proposed disenrolment by identifying procedural errors in the process. A ROTC or NROTC program must follow strict procedures, including affording required notice and due process to the cadet or mid. When the process is violated, the underlying disenrollment action is not valid
An experienced military law attorney can also attack the merits of the basis for the proposed disenrollment. Cadets or Midshipman may be processed for disenrollment for failing to maintain minimum required semester or cumulative grade point averages (G.P.A.); failure to meet weight or physical fitness requirements; for being an approved conscientious objector; personal hardship; if a condition is discovered that will later bar the person from becoming a commissioned officer; inaptitude for military service; undesirable character or unethical conduct; indifferent attitude or lack of interest in military training; criminal or other forms of misconduct; or breach of contract.
How can an attorney help me if the attorney can’t advocate for me during the hearing?
Most regulations do prevent a Cadet or Midshipman from actively being represented by an attorney during the disenrollment board or hearing. However, attorneys are allowed to be present in most cases and, more importantly, play an active and substantial role preparing to present the case at the hearing or board, including:
- Reviewing the proposed disenrollment basis and supporting evidence to identify errors and develop a winning strategy.
- Identifying and requesting witnesses and evidence.
- Preparing statements that will be made by the Cadet or Midshipman to the hearing officer or board.
- Preparing objections to evidence and testimony.
- Being present and conferring with the cadet or midshipman during the board.
- Assisting in drafting a rebuttal to unfavorable recommendations by a hearing officer or board.
Attorney Patrick Korody is a former active duty Navy JAG who was designated by the Judge Advocate General as a Specialist in Military Justice. He represents Cadets and Midshipman across the country who are facing disenrollment from NROTC or ROTC programs. Call now for a free consultation! 904.383.7261.