FORT McCOY, Wis. - With the cost of a four-year degree at a university or college continually rising, and the uncertainty with financial situations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a good time to consider applying for a three- or four-year Army ROTC Minuteman scholarship.The four-year scholarship provides you with as much as $176,256 depending on the institution. This includes $134,656 in tuition and fees; $4,200 stipend, $1,200 book allowance; and $5,000 for serving in an Army Reserve unit under the Simultaneous Membership Program. The scholarship amount will increase each year based on the cost of tuition and fees. Cadets can receive low-cost Tricare health and dental care while serving in the SMP.You have the choice of using the scholarship to cover full tuition and fees or $10,000 for room and board at colleges and universities served by an Army ROTC program.The three-year scholarship provides you with as much as $100,992, again depending on the institution. This includes $33,664 in tuition and fees and the same stipend, book allowance and SMP payment as the four-year scholarship.Lucas Aguilar was awarded a four-year Minuteman Scholarship in 2016 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Portland, Ore. He enlisted in the Army Reserve at 17.“This scholarship seemed like a great opportunity to continue my service while also earning my degree, and by the end of my schooling, earn a commission as a Second Lieutenant,” Aguilar said.“This scholarship allowed me to be a full-time student while also actively participating in my (Army Reserve) unit's Battle Assemblies, which is exactly what I wanted to do.”The Minuteman Scholarship “allowed me to attend a great school with an amazing Army ROTC program. The cadre are all well-versed in what they teach, and are demonstrative of what both officers and non-commissioned officers should aspire to be. They helped me a great deal in my studies, whether it was directly with their Military Science classes, or finding me a tutor for other areas of study,” Aguilar said.The newly commissioned second lieutenant from Vancouver, Wash., went on to say, “One of the key benefits of this scholarship is the routine it helps implement. Army ROTC offers a great taste of what military life looks like, and helps cadets be ready for a career in the military. I would definitely say the routine and disciplined time management skills you learn are very helpful in the academic realm.”During his senior year of high school, Stephen Delplanche from Beaverton, Ore., decided he wanted to go to college to become a nurse.“However, I was also interested in serving my county, something that I had been considering since a young age. The Minuteman Scholarship offered a way to accomplish both of these goals,” he said.“The Minuteman Scholarship allowed me to attend the University of Portland by covering my full tuition and securing me a stipend to help pay for any other possible expenses,” Delplanche said. “I would not have been able to attend this university without the Minuteman Scholarship’s financial coverage.”Jackson Helton applied for the Minuteman Scholarship “so I could go further in my career in the Army and gradate college,” he said. “The scholarship will take a lot of stress off my parents because they will be paying less for me to attend college.”Helton is a Taylorville, Ill., native and is attending the University of Wyoming where he is studying to be a civil engineer.Upon completion of the ROTC program, cadets are commissioned in the Army Reserve, giving you the opportunity to serve close to home while still pursuing a civilian career or continuing your academic studies. You get the best of both worlds.You can select from a variety of STEM fields like aviation, medical, engineering and cyber. There’s also law enforcement, human resources, logistics, transportation, finance, military intelligence, ordnance and chemical fields from which to choose.The skills gained from Army ROTC and as an officer in the Army Reserve are transferrable to the civilian workplace. Besides leadership, problem solving and critical thinking capabilities, you’ll learn how to be a team player and resolute decision maker, all proficiencies that will make you stand out in the workplace.There are 275 host programs that cover nearly 3,000 schools across the United States. To find one, go to https://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html.The deadline for the submission of a packet is Sept. 1 for those students starting college in the fall. The deadline is Dec. 1 for those starting in the spring.To learn more about the Minuteman Scholarship, contact your state Army Reserve Ambassador. That person’s name and contact information can be found at https://www.usar.army.mil/FindAnAmbassador/. Alternately, you can contact Capt. Gregory Bucci, Army Reserve Scholarship Manager, at Gregory.R.Bucci.mil@mil.mil, 502-624-7695.