A unique scholarship opportunity for the Corps of Cadets is the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program, or TASSP for short. Created in 2009 by the 81st Texas Legislature, this program provides students with a huge incentive to join one of our nation’s service branches. Currently, over 250 cadets at Texas A&M receive this scholarship.
The TASSP scholarship is awarded based on academic and personal achievement. Any resident of Texas that has been accepted into or is currently attending a Texas university is eligible to receive this scholarship. A commitment to serve in the United States military is required to earn and continue receiving this scholarship, which is renewable for up to four years.
You must be nominated by the Texas Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a state senator, or a state representative. Students can be a member of any class year, and do not need to be a ROTC scholarship recipient to apply. If recipients choose not to serve upon graduation, the scholarship is then converted to a loan that will need to be repaid.
“The Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program is for college students who are looking to join the military after graduation. It is fully funded by the state of Texas, and you can receive up to $10,000 a year depending on the annual state budget,” Kyle Nelson, a sophomore recipient of the TASSP scholarship, said.
In addition to providing students with up to $10,000 per year in funds, this scholarship can also be stacked onto a student’s existing ROTC scholarships.
“The TASSP scholarship has been a great help in that it covers almost everything that my Army ROTC scholarship does not. You can choose to spend it on either tuition and fees or on housing and meal plans, so it is very flexible,” Nelson said.
During the 2021 academic year, a majority of the TASSP scholarship’s funding went to members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Historically, Aggies make up the largest percentage of TASSP recipients.
Unfortunately, many representatives are left without students to nominate for the scholarship, and thousands of dollars go unawarded at the end of the nomination period.
“The application process is pretty simple. In order to apply for the scholarship, you can reach out to any of the state representatives and senators. All you need is a cover letter and a professional resume. My advice would be to apply with every single representative and senator. There is no limit to how many representatives you apply to and you aren’t restricted to your specific local legislator,” he said of the nomination process.
The TASSP scholarship provides an amazing opportunity for recipients to kick off their career in the armed forces, as additional educational funding opens the door for more professional development opportunities. Financial incentives aside, the requirements to maintain a TASSP award offer both financial and academic benefits.
First Lieutenant Carl Ivey, a graduate of Texas A&M and a former TASSP scholarship recipient, spoke of the ways in which the TASSP scholarship set him up for success.
“The TASSP allowed me to focus on my academics and not worry about financial issues. The TASSP also contained academic requirements that helped me stay disciplined and academically focused to keep my scholarship. The TASSP requires that you complete 4 years of ROTC courses regardless of your decision to pay back the loan or join the armed forces. Taking the courses and participating in the ROTC leadership labs allowed me to get ample training and leadership experience before commissioning on top of the training I received from the Corps of Cadets.”
For cadets not awarded the scholarship after their initial application, Ivey encourages them to continue to apply each time the opportunity becomes available.
“Keep applying. The first time I applied for a TASSP I did not receive it. I applied two more times and ultimately received a scholarship from one of our state senators. The TASSP also allows for repayment as a loan, so if you are hesitant to join the Federal Armed Forces, you can pay back the loan, or serve as a commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard, which is our state defense force,” Ivey said.
The TASSP scholarship is only one of the scholarship opportunities that is available to those that are considering military service. Learn more about the TASSP and its requirements by visiting the university’s website here.
Story by: Robin Nelson ’22