The National Guard SMP Program is a program for R.O.T.C Cadets who are willing to serve in the National Guard while they are a college student. It’s basically a two-year program where you serve simultaneously in the National Guard and R.O.T.C. Normally it’s reserved for Cadets in their Junior and Senior year of college.
To qualify for the program, you must have prior Active Duty experience (completed Basic Training and AIT) and you must be a member of the National Guard. Obviously, most Cadets won’t qualify for this program, but a few will.
As a member of the SMP Program you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- State and Federal Tuition Assistance
- The Montgomery GI Bill and GI Bill Kicker
- Drill Pay as an E-5
- R.O.T.C. stipend of $350 to $500 per month
When you attend your National Guard training once a month you will normally serve as an Assistant Platoon Leader. Typically, you will work closely with the Platoon Leader while they mentor and train you. If there are unit personnel shortages, you might even serve as Platoon Leader or Company XO.
When you graduate college and earn your commission, you normally have a choice to serve on Active Duty or in the National Guard/Army Reserves. It really depends upon what your contract says.
I was part of the National Guard SMP Program while I was a R.O.T.C. Cadet at Clarkson University in upstate New York from 1999-2000. I spent 1.5 years in college (entered as a second semester Junior) and served with the New York Army National Guard during that time. I was a full time student and did National Guard training one weekend a month and two weeks a year.
I got to serve in an Infantry unit (2/108th Infantry) and really had a great experience. I spent some time as a Platoon Leader and Company XO. I was paid as an E-5 and learned a lot about leadership.
What I liked most about the program was that I earned a nice income and got some real world military and leadership experience prior to earning my commission. Between my stipend and drill pay and GI Bill I had an EXCELLENT income and could afford to do a lot of fun things while in college. Add in the military and leadership experience and it was a one-two combination!
I would HIGHLY suggest the National Guard SMP Program to anyone who qualifies. It is a great way to get a cutting edge over your peers who don’t qualify for the program.
In summary, the National Guard Simultaneous Membership Program is designed for R.O.T.C. Cadets with prior military experience, who are willing to serve in the National Guard WHILE they are enrolled in college. The program is by no means perfect, but it is a GREAT deal for anyone looking for some extra spending cash and some real world military experience, while they are still a student.
I’d love to hear what you think. If you participated in the National Guard Simultaneous Membership Program, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below to share your story.
***** I should also note that this program is also for the Army Reserves, not just the National Guard.