Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 7, 2009

the USNA Race is On

50%! Read this:

a USNA education

a USNA education

Number of USNA Applications Surges 50%

16Apr09 – The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis had a 50 percent jump in applicants this year, eclipsing both the Military Academy at West Point and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, which also experienced significant increases.

The lure of a free education in a difficult economy might be a factor, but Navy spokeswoman Judy Campbell credited the Naval Academy’s two-year-old outreach program to minorities and high school students who live in parts of the country that have been underrepresented for much of the increase. One result of that outreach, she said, is that the current freshman class is the most diverse in the school’s history, with 27 percent of its members counted as minorities.

West Point, with 11,091 applicants, and the Air Force Academy, with 9,812, each reported almost a 10 percent increase in those seeking entrance to the prestigious schools. But Annapolis garnered the most: 15,388 applications. The three schools have generally received about the same number in previous years, although the Air Force usually trails.

“For Hispanics and African Americans, this may not have been the first place they thought of,” Campbell said. “We’ve been doing an awful lot of outreach. Our glee clubs and our gospel choir go out on tour, and they take time to visit schools. And when midshipmen went home over Thanksgiving, they went and gave talks on the academy at their old high schools.”

In the years immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, applications to the service academies de-clined. But any aversion Navy pilotto combat appears to be waning. A quarter of the Naval Academy’s graduat-ing class next month will enter the Marine Corps, with many of those new young officers destined for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Almost as many will be trained as Navy pilots, who also are engaged in combat.

Ben Morris, 17, who will graduate from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville in June, said he was drawn to the Naval Academy because he wants to become a Marine.

“The academy stands out as the best route to get there as an officer,” said Morris, who attended an in-troductory program in Annapolis last summer. “It really showcased things. It was almost like living a day in the life of a plebe.”

Campbell said the academy has expanded the summer program, which is offered by the other acad-emies as well, to accommodate more potential applicants.

A West Point spokesman said the Army has also worked to attract more applicants in general and minority applicants in particular. It used unconventional means such as advertising on airport billboards and working closely with the Congressional Black Caucus, Frank DeMaro said.

“The downturn in the economy probably also has helped,” DeMaro said. “And there has been less negative press about Iraq.”

pentflagIn the Washington region, interest in the Naval Academy far outstrips that shown for the other academies. Aides who handle applications for two area congressmen said that three-quarters of the in-quires they receive are about Navy. That’s primarily because it is a local institution, they say.

“I grew up going to Naval Academy football games,” said Becky Watson, 18, who grew up in Glenn Dale and attended St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis. “My grandparents always sponsored midshipmen. I just love the whole environment.”

Watson is a freshman at Michigan State University this year, but she’s been accepted into the Naval Academy Class of 2013 and has two weeks to make a decision.
“I really want to be a Marine, and this may be the best way to do that,” she said. “My grandpop was a Marine, and the intensity of the Marines attracts me. I like a challenge.”

Each academy will induct a class of 1,200 to 1,300 this summer, so the surfeit of applicants will result in at least 30,000 applicants being turned down. Those who stay commit to a minimum of five years in the military in exchange for a free education.

BYLINE: Ashley Halsey III; Washington Post Staff Writer
April 16, 2009 Thursday


Responses

  1. “Those who stay commit to a minimum of five years in the military in exchange for a free education.”

    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, Ashley.

    Some have paid for that “free education” with their lives.

    Navy. It’s not just a job. It’s an indenture.

    Like

    • Actually, it’s a job, one you can feel good about getting up in the morning to do. You’re paid to protect the nation from the bad guys. When you graduate, at 21 or 22, you are in charge of a budget equaling millions of dollars and oversee a workforce of sailors who expect you to do right by them. A lot more than most college grads do their first year out.

      Like


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