Application | Eligibility | Benefits | Schooling | Miscellaneous
Q: When is the earliest/latest that I can submit my application?
A: Complete and qualified applications (must include ACT/SAT scores) can be submitted as early as possible (within the calendar year), but not later than 1 July. Personnel submitting applications early will have an advantage over those submitting late, because they will be able to review for any discrepancies, and will have sufficient time to correct their discrepancies.
Q: What can I do to improve my package?
A: Click here
Q:When is the latest I can take the SAT/ACT exam?
A: The SAT/ACT test must be taken within the (3) years preceding the current year application deadline. If you are applying for FY18 STA-21, the test must have been taken between 1 Jul 2014 and 1 Jul 2017.
Q:What is the minimum SAT score I need to apply?
A: In order to be considered for the STA-21 Commissioning Program, applicants must have minimum SAT test scores of 500 Math and 500 Critical Reading (or ACT test scores of 21 Math and 20 English). Note: Applicants for the Nuclear Option must have minimum of 1140 SAT (combined) or 50 ACT (combined Math/English). These scores are not waiverable.
Q: Should I include my Enlisted Evaluations (evals) with my application?
A: Submit the previous (5) evaluations (to include any LOEs, NOBs, and Special Evaluations).
Q: Why do I need SAT/ACT scores when I am already enrolled in a college?
A: SAT/ACT scores are used to assist in determining a student's ability to complete a baccalaureate degree. Additionally, scores may be used to assess an individual's ability to successfully complete calculus and calculus-based physics.
Q: How can I obtain a waiver for an eligibility requirement?
A: You should address any requests for waivers in your personal statement. Your Commanding Officer must address your waiver request in his/her endorsement and make a recommendation for approval. NSTC, and in some cases, option community managers will determine whether a waiver may be granted.
Q: Does my Commanding Officer have to complete the Commanding Officer's Recommendation Form in addition to his/her First Endorsement?
A: Yes, the Commanding Officer's Recommendation Form is a required document for your application.
Q: Can my CO utilize officers from other branch of service on my Interview boards?
A: Yes. When insufficient naval officers exist at the command, your CO can request a waiver for board composition in his/her First Endorsement. The officers must be O3 or above and at the bottom of their Appraisal sheet, in addition to their signature, must include RANK, Branch of Service, and Job/Billet Title.
Q: When will the selection board convene?
A: The selection board will be conducted at NSTC Pensacola in September of the application year.
Q: Can I have Limited Duty Officers on my interview board?
A: Limited Duty Officers in the appropriate restricted line community may serve as board members for applicants to the Target option communities.
Q: When should I submit my physical forms?
A: You will be required to submit the appropriate physical after you are notified of selection to the program..
Q: If I am selected for the STA-21 Core option, what does that mean?
A: Qualified STA-21 CORE Option selectees are not assigned to a specific officer community upon entering the program. CORE Option selectees will compete for an Unrestricted Line Community (URL) designator in their senior year of college. The URL includes communities of Aviation warfare (Pilot or NFO), Submarine and Surface warfare, EOD, and SEALS.
Q: Will the time I spend in school count towards my retirement?
A. No, it no longer counts toward retirement. However, it does count for pay purposes. For example, suppose you have five years of active duty service prior to selection for STA-21. The clock stops once you check into school. The clock starts again once you commission. You now have to serve a minimum of 15 years of active duty service in order to be eligible for retirement. When you do retire, your retirement pay will be calculated based off of your rank at retirement and 23 total years of service (unless you stay in longer). Regardless of how much active duty service you have going into the program, all officers are required to serve at least 10 years of active duty service as an officer to be eligible to retire as an officer.
Q: What PFA results do I need to include in my selection package?
A: Cycles 1 and 2 of the previous year and cycle 1 of the current year. Minimum scores required are "GOOD LOW" for the most recent two cycles. No minimum score required for cycle-1 of the previous year. If your command has not yet completed cycle-1 of the current year, you can do a special PFA or simply send us your cycle-1 scores after your command completes the PFA.
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Q: How many years in service do I need to have to apply to STA-21?
A: Generally speaking, STA-21 has no minimum time in service requirement. Some options have specific requirements regarding the type of time in service (training vs fleet time). It is imperative to review the PA (Program Authorization) for the option that you are applying for to ensure that you meet the eligibility for that option. Program Authorizations can be downloaded from the "apply" page.
Q: What happens if I am selected for an option, but after my physical I am found not physically qualified?
A: You must be found physically qualified for the option in which you are selected. If you are not found physically qualified, your selection must be withdrawn.
Q: Suppose I want to get laser surgery done on my eyes in order to be found physically qualified for aviation, how will that affect my selection status?
A: You must be found fit for duty and physically qualified by NMOTC before you can receive orders to participate in the program.
Q: What if I become pregnant after I am selected for STA-21 program?
A: Pregnancy does not restrict a selected STA-21 applicant from school matriculation. Units follow the guidance of the “Guidelines concerning Pregnant Servicewomen” Instruction OPNAVINST 6000.1(series) which states:
c. General Limitations
(1) After confirmation of pregnancy, a pregnant servicewoman shall be exempt from: (a) Physical readiness program (PRP) during pregnancy & for 6 months following delivery. However, if the servicewoman desires, she may participate in an exercise program approved by her OB health care provider. In addition, students who are unable to meet program requirements due to medical condition may request Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA).
Q: Can a single parent apply for STA-21?
A: Yes they can, as long as they have complied with the requirements specified in OPNAVINST 1740.4(series), “Family Care Plan”. STA-21 selectees will reside in BEQ while attending an eight week course at the Naval Science Institute (NSI), Newport, RI. Dependents are not allowed at NSI.
Q: Am I eligible to apply for STA-21 if I already have a Baccalaureate Degree?
A: No. As stated in OPNAVINST 1420.1(series), individuals who have already obtained their baccalaureate degree are not eligible for STA-21 and should apply directly for OCS. OCS application procedures are found in Chapter 4 of 1420.1(series).
Q: I am over the Graduated Body Fat limit for my age group, but less than the DoD BCA limit of 26% for males (or 36% for females). I have passed the previous two PFAs with an overall score of GOOD LOW or better. Am I eligible to apply?
A: No. All STA-21 applicants must be BELOW both the Graduated Body Fat limit and the DoD BCA limit.
Q: I am a CO/XO/ESO/CCC/LCPO/LPO and have a sailor who meets the minimum eligibility requirements and wants to apply for STA-21, but is not yet qualified in his/her rating and is an average performer. I do not believe that this sailor is competitive for the program. What should I do?
A: The STA-21 office cannot direct you on what to do in this case. However, the chain of command should determine applicants eligibility for the program and their ability to complete a degree in 36 months or less. As sailors get older, their window of opportunity gets more narrow. The STA-21 office encourages commands to assess a sailor's level of officer potential and ability to complete the degree requirements - that include one year of calculus and one year of calculus-based physics. COs should choose to either endorse the sailor, or not endorse the sailor based off of their own assessment.
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Q: Am I eligible for advancement while in the program?
A: Yes, while participating in the STA-21 Commissioning Program, all Sailors are eligible for normal enlisted advancement.
Q: Will I qualify for base housing?
A: Yes, students in the STA-21 Program will remain on active duty, so they will maintain all associated benefits. This includes base housing, health care, exchange/commissary privileges, etc. Living in base housing is not a guarantee, as it depends on availability and other unique aspects of the area near the university selected.
Q: Can I use Tuition Assistance or the Navy College Fund while participating in STA-21?
A: No, STA-21 students are not eligible for TA, or NCF while participating in STA-21. However, you do not lose the benefits. They can be used for higher education after commissioning. In addition, the VA has authorized the use of the benefits (Chapter 30 of Title 38) to pay for courses after the service member's STA-21 funds are exhausted, as long as payment is for different courses and not combined to pay for the same course (please call 1-888 GI Bill 1 for additional info).
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Q: What colleges can I attend?
A: Participants in the STA-21 Program can attend any NROTC affiliated university (including cross-town schools). Exceptions to this rule are Nurse, Nuclear, and Civil Engineer Corps Options, which must attend specific schools (see Education). NSTC determines university assignments for STA-21 Sailors based on a number of factors including their application request, NROTC Unit openings, etc.
Q: What is my affiliation with the NROTC Unit while I'm in school?
A: Participants in the STA-21 Program are members of the NROTC Unit associated with the university they attend. They are strongly encouraged to hold positions within the Unit, will drill with the Unit, and will participate in all NROTC Unit activities. The only exceptions to this rule are (1) the Naval Science courses already completed at the Naval Science Institute (NSI) will not be taken while attending college, and (2) STA-21 officer candidates will not participate in midshipman summer cruises.
Q: Do I participate in midshipmen summer cruises?
A: No, because of the year-round studies, summer cruises will not be available for STA-21 Sailors.
Q: Are application fees refundable?
A: Yes, your application fees to the school to which you are assigned can be considered a reimbursable expense. Receipts must be shown in order to liquidate your claim. However, if you apply to more than one university, you may only claim one application fee.
Q: Will I be eligible for grants and other scholarships offered by the schools?
A: Yes, you may apply and receive grants, scholarships and student loans offered to you by other sources. You should contact the university financial aid office for eligibility requirements.
Q: Will the STA-21 program provide me with a personal desktop computer?
A: No, any computer needs may be provided by the university or ROTC unit.
Q: When will I be issued orders to begin the program?
A: You will receive orders once you have submitted an acceptance letter, valid degree plan, HIV results, and been determined physically qualified by BUMED.
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Q: How does my CO rank the STA-21 applicants?
A: Rank is required for both the general program as well as the target option. If there is only one applicant at the command, both ranks will be 1 of 1. If multiple applicants are applying to the STA-21 program they need to be ranked according to general program competitiveness and then grouped/ranked per target option competitiveness.
Q: Can my OIC endorse my application?
A: Yes. However, the OIC must have written authorization from the "Reporting Senior or CO". This authorization must be included as an enclosure to the OIC's First Endorsement.
Q: What is my service obligation for STA-21?
A: Upon receipt of PCS orders to STA-21, each selectee will be required to acquire a six (6) year active service obligation by extending or reenlisting. Upon commissioning, five (5) years of active commissioned service are required of all STA-21 officer candidates except Pilot and Naval Flight Officer option participants (see Program Options). Additional obligated service may be incurred as a result of special training received following commissioning.
Q: What if I fail out of the program?
A: If disenrolled from STA-21 at any time (including Drop on Request), students will be issued Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to new assignments to complete five years of enlisted service from the date of program disenrollment or the remainder of their current enlistment, whichever is longer. Those who complete degree requirements but fail to be commissioned will be obligated for five (5) years of enlisted service from the date of program disenrollment.
Q: When will I receive my officer candidate uniforms?
A: You will be issued officer candidate uniforms during NSI orientation.
Q: Can my dependents accompany me to NSI?
A: Members attending NSI will be required to stay in the barracks during training and are not authorized to bring dependents.
Q: If I am selected for the STA-21 Core option, can I compete for any officer community during my junior year of college?
A: No, STA-21 Core option selectees can compete for Unrestricted Line (URL) communities only in their senior year.
Q: I want to be a SEAL, but was not chosen for the STA-21 Special Warfare Option. Is there any other way, I can become a SEAL?
A: Yes, if you are selected for the STA-21 Core Option, you can apply for Special Warfare during your senior year. If not selected for Special Warfare, you will be placed in one of the other URL communities.
Q: I want to become a doctor/dentist; can I get a medical degree through STA-21?
A: Yes, you are allowed to pursue a Medical Degree through STA-21 by completing a Baccalaureate Degree (Bachelor of Science), acceptance to Medical school, and completion of a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy Degree. Specific information is provided under Program Options (Medical Corps).
At this time, STA-21 does not allow you to pursue a Dental Degree. However, you can get your degree on your own, and then apply for a commission through OCS.
Q: Can you please advise the Tattoo and Piercing Policies for STA-21?
A: Tattoos should not be visible while in military uniform; however, if visible, they will not convey any racial epithets, gang symbolism, drug preferences, political statements, or other statements contrary to good order and discipline. Tattoos will not be positioned on the body as to detract from military appearance. i.e., on the face, ears, or head. The number and size of tattoos shall conform to appropriate Navy Regulations. For further guidance, refer to NAVADMIN 110/06 or Uniform Regulations. Piercing policies are governed by the piercing provisions of the Navy Uniform Regulations.
Q: Can I apply for STA-21 if I have an approved shaving waiver for PSEUDOFOLLICULITIS BARBAE (PFB), by my Commanding Officer, per BUPERSINST 1000.22(series)?
A: Yes, as long as you comply with Uniform Regulations and Enclosure (2) of BUPERSINST 1000.22(series), is properly completed and approved by your Medical and Commanding Officer.
Q: What does ADSD mean?
A: It is your Active Duty Service Date and it is entered as MM/DD/YYYY. See your Personnel Office for the correct date.
Q: I have never registered on line, what do I do?
A: Go to the STA-21 homepage click the down arrow on "Application Process" located at the top of the page and select "Apply", go toward the bottom of the page and click on "LOGIN". The next screen click <Register> located on the right side of the page, insert your Common Access Card (CAC), then click <CAC User>. Enter your email address, First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name, etc. Confirmation email will be sent to you with instructions to complete the registration process. If you are still experiencing problems, please call the help desk (850) 452-1001, 4 for assistance.
Q: Can a member execute PCS orders after submission of STA-21 application and beforeselection results are published?
A: Even though OPNAVINST 1420.1 states candidates for STA-21 who receive PCS orders on or after the STA-21 application deadline shall not be transferred until officially notified of selection or non-selection to STA-21, it is the applicant’s responsibility to notify his/her detailer that they have applied for STA-21, and the detailer will make decision whether to execute orders or not.
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For all of these reasons and more, the Navy combined most of these current commissioning paths into one consolidated program that preserves the Seaman to Admiral name made popular by Admiral Boorda: Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21). The STA-21 Commissioning Program is designed to meet the goals of the Navy in the 21st Century, while at the same time creating a fair and equitable system for outstanding active duty Sailors to receive a top-notch college education and become commissioned officers in the Unrestricted Line ((URL); Restricted Line in Human Resources; Special Duty Officer in Intelligence, Warfare (formerly Cryptologic) and Oceanography; Staff Corps in Civil Engineering (CEC), Medical Corps (MC), Nurse Corps (NC), or Supply Corps (SC).
The following fleet commissioning programs were combined to create the STA-21 Program:
•Seaman to Admiral
•Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)
•Aviation Enlisted Commissioning Program (AECP)
•Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP)
•Civil Engineer Corps Enlisted Commissioning Program (CECECP)
•Fleet Accession to Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)
◦(Includes Nurse Option)
•Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST)
What makes the STA-21 Program so different from most of the other commissioning programs is its fairness to the Sailor. Some of the previous enlisted commissioning programs required Sailors to pay their college tuition by themselves. Others removed the student from active duty status, thus taking away any source of income. The STA-21 Program will keep all participants on active duty at their current enlisted pay grade. This means they will receive all the pay, allowances, benefits, and privileges they currently enjoy and will still be eligible for enlisted advancement while in the program: Time spent in school will not count towards retirement, however, it will count towards pay purposes. Sailors will receive up to $10,000 per year to cover tuition, books, and fees. The Sailor will pay any costs above $10,000 per year. Participants attending inexpensive universities that do not require use of the entire $10,000 for any year will not be able to keep the difference.
Although the applicant's history of fleet performance will receive consideration during the selection process, emphasis will be placed on the identification of those applicants who possess the academic and leadership potential necessary to become outstanding Naval officers.