The Airman Education and Commissioning Program (AECP) offers active duty Air Force enlisted personnel the opportunity to earn a commission while completing their bachelor's degree. The student must attend AFROTC courses and earn their baccalaureate degree before being commissioned.
The Air Force administratively assigns the selected applicant to the Air Force ROTC detachment at the institution they choose where they become AECP ROTC cadet. The applicant’s job is to go to school as a full-time college student. AECP ROTC cadets may participate in the program from one to three years, depending on their major, prior academic preparation, and age limitations.
During the program, they attend school year-round to include summer terms, except when the AECP ROTC Cadet attends summer field training. The AECP is not an avenue for undergraduate flying training. In other words, you cannot become a pilot or navigator under this program.
AECP cadets are provided with a tuition/fees scholarship of up to $15,000 per year and an annual textbook allowance of $510. Students may not pay the difference to attend higher-cost schools.
Application packages are usually due in January of each year. Airmen should check with their local Education Offices for specific application deadline criteria for the year they wish to apply.
AECP is open to students in the following fields:
- Foreign languages (limited to Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Russian, Hindi, Pashto, Armenian, Georgian, Azeri, Kazakh, Indonesian, Swahili, Hebrew, French, Turkish). All other languages will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on the needs of the Air Force.
- Foreign area studies (limited to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Russia/Eurasia). Area studies degree programs must include a requirement for foreign language courses in the region of study.
- Computer Science
- Engineering. Any ABET-accredited engineering major (note: not ABET Technology majors)
All technical majors must be AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology) approved at the university the applicant plans to attend. Nursing degrees must be accredited by the National League of Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
AECP cadets will complete their commissioning training through Air Force ROTC (including completion of Aerospace Studies courses, Leadership Laboratory, and Field Training).
- Be a United States citizen.
- Meet the age requirements (Under 30 by board date) or have obtained an age waiver (available if you can commission before 35).
- Have at least one-year Time-In-Service (Can receive a waiver—except for pipeline technical school students).
- Have at least one-year Time-On-Station (Can receive a waiver).
- Be recommended by your immediate commander.
- Meet the minimum college grade point averages and have completed the required coursework for your major (typically a minimum of 45 semester hours is required). Math/Science/Engineering majors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, nontechnical and Nursing applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.
- Be admitted to a school offering Air Force ROTC (including crosstown schools) and the academic major you desire to study. The annual tuition at this school may not exceed $15,000 per year.
- Earn Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) scores of 15 or more on the Verbal scale and 10 or more on the Quantitative scale.
AFOQT scores can receive a waiver for those who have taken the test twice and failed both times.
- Pass the Air Force ROTC Physical Fitness Test.
- Meet all the requirements for commissioning (physical, moral, fitness, etc.) listed in AFI 36-2013, chapter 1, and AFI 36-2005.
- Meet the requirement for overseas retainability. For individuals at an OCONUS (overseas assignment) location, IAW AFI 36-2013, Table 1.2, rule 10, the applicant may not apply if the applicant does not apply before the 25th day of the 8th month before the date eligible for return from overseas (DEROS) month....translated: applicants must have approximately 8 months left on station by the package due date. The Military Personnel Flight (MPF) can help the applicant determine what the new DEROS will need to be eligible to apply. If the applicant does not, they must request an extension through their normal base channels. If the applicant does not have enough time remaining on their assignment, they will be ineligible to apply for a commissioning program.
Special rules apply for members with an Enlistment Bonus or Selective Reenlistment Bonus or for those who need a TOS or DEROS waiver.
Applicants with a bachelor's degree in another field may apply to participate in AECP to earn a second bachelor's degree in one of the above-listed fields.
The AECP application process consists of two parts...the AFIT evaluation and the AECP Selection Board.
The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) evaluates the applicant's academic credentials to ensure they meet the minimum academic eligibility criteria for their desired major.
The AECP Selection board meets in April each year. The board utilizes the "whole person" concept to evaluate applicants. As part of the selection board process, applicants will be evaluated on their ability to put their package together in the proper format in accordance with the ECP Package Checklist and directions. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the package is complete. While the board considers all documents in an application package, they typically focus on the commander's recommendation, the airman's duty performance history, and the applicant's academic performance to determine the applicant's eligibility. Airmen selected by the board will begin classes the following fall term. In rare cases, an airman may apply for a waiver to begin classes during the following spring term.
Above information courtesy of AFROTC