In an opportunity unique to the University of North Georgia (UNG), full-time students who commit to serve four years in the Georgia Army National Guard after graduation can earn a full, four-year scholarship worth approximately $70,000.
Cadet Sgt. Maj. Eric Gleason of Marietta, Georgia, is one of many UNG cadets who has earned the Georgia Military Scholarship (GMS). Funded by the state of Georgia, 42 GMS are offered each year only to full-time UNG students serving as enlisted members of the Georgia Army National Guard.
"If it wasn't for GMS I wouldn't be in college. It literally was the only way I was going to go to college," said Gleason, a graduate of Cherokee Christian Academy. "GMS definitely gives you a leg up because once you get to school, all you have to worry about is your GPA and your performance in the Corps of Cadets."
Gleason is a third-year cadet majoring in Spanish with a business emphasis and is pursuing a Russian minor. He is a cadet intern in the Georgia National Guard and has a leadership role in the corps that entails helping plan and conduct corps operations and events. He plans to use the foreign language and culture skills he's polished at UNG to work in a foreign service role.
Each GMS scholarship pays for tuition, books, fees, room, board, and uniforms. Recipients agree to repay the scholarship by serving part-time in the Georgia Army National Guard as commissioned second lieutenants for at least four years after receiving their bachelor's degrees.
Cadets attending UNG on the scholarship receive National Guard weekend drill pay, GI Bill funds, pay for attending Army basic and advanced training, and, starting at the beginning of sophomore year, Army ROTC contract pay. Cadets may also be eligible for an enlistment bonus. Since 2005, GMS recipients are non-deployable as long as they are enrolled and remain in good standing with UNG and the Georgia Army National Guard.
To be eligible, a high school senior must:
- Be a resident of Georgia.
- Receive a nomination from a state legislator.
- Meet the academic requirements and gain regular admission to UNG.
- Meet Army National Guard medical and physical standards.
- Agree to serve as an enlisted member in the Georgia Army National Guard while a cadet at UNG.
- Agree to accept a commission upon graduation from UNG and serve four years as a commissioned officer in the Georgia Army National Guard.
UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the country. The others are the Citadel, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech. The university's ROTC program, housed on the university's Dahlonega Campus, consistently ranks among the best in the country. UNG, with more than 130 years of experience educating future leaders, is designated as a University System of Georgia leadership institution and as The Military College of Georgia.
With more than 16,000 students, UNG is the state's sixth-largest public university. The regional, multi-campus university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to professional and doctoral programs.