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US Military Academy at West Point/Withdraw from a U.S. Service Academy


Mr. Taylor,

  Good evening. My name is Greg, I am e-mailing you from the PG County, MD.  I am emailing you to inquire about a general question. I am hoping you are able to answer my question. First and foremost, this question is not about me, though it has to deal with a friend of the family.  I am going to give you some insight of who I am so you just don't think I'm a random person off the street.

  In 1995, I wasn't blessed enough to be accepted to attend NAVY, which was one of my childhood dreams. When I was a senior in high school, (1994/1995), the Head NAVY Football coach was looking at 5 players, all over 6 ft.  I was only standing at 5'10" and weighed in at 250lbs, well short of what the coach wanted.  My grandmother saved her last favors for me, she reached out to her contacts and obtained the Senatorial Recommendation for me.  However, the NAVY coach informed me he was looking at 5 other student-athletes (I came to learn, only 2 got into the NAPS).  I respectfully turned down my senatorial appointment, ensured it went to deserving candidate.  I wanted to play football for Navy.  West Point accepted me, but informed me I was too small play football and too heavy for the Swift Football team.  I politely turned both appointments down in enough time so a deserving candidate could be selected.

 I opted to go play Division III Football at Frostburg State University in Western MD.  I started for 4 years as the Long Snapper (punts, field goals, and extra points).  I even walked on and took a senior's spot.  After graduation, I enlisted and enjoyed 10 great years in the U.S. Air Force in Special Operations. I got the most out of the military and even had them pay for my Masters, volunteered for 8 deployments to the Middle East, deployed to nearly 90 different countries, and got appointed to  high profile positions such as flying on board the NAOC and PSO duty for the Commander of U.S. STRATCOM. I was truly blessed.  Who knew, I should have applied to the USAFA.  However, after 10 years, injuries caught up to me.  I now work for the federal gov't at the Pentagon.

  I have had friends attend and graduate from every service academy (USAFA, USMA, USNA, USCGA, and USMMA).   I have also had friends depart voluntarily after the completion of their sophomore year and than enrolled at Towson University, UMBC, University of Maryland, etc..and decide to go the ROTC route instead or just go and enjoy college.

I have had a friend or 2 depart after their Junior year or even in the beginning of their senior year, which still makes me wonder.  

  The question I have for you today.  When a Cadet or Midshipmen leaves after their Junior or in the middle of their Senior year.  I recall hearing they owe back an enormous amount of financial payment.  

  Do you know what type of payment programs there are to pay the tuition or government back their money?   Can one opt to Enlist in the Armed Forces?  Can one go work for the U.S. Federal Gov't as a GS Civilian Employee and after so many years, the debt is paid off?   Do you know if their is a payment program such as that.  

  If you could please research this question, it would be greatly appreciated.  

USAF Veteran

It's good to hear from you Greg.  Thanks for your service to our Country and for your interest in Service Academies.

The key date surrounding your question is the first day of classes for their Junior Year.  That is the point before which they may leave with minimal obligation.  On that date or after there is a significant commitment, as you know.  BTW, at West Point they hold an Affirmation Ceremony where the Cadets, on the eve of the day of commitment, affirm their commitment to continue to graduation, from West Point in this case.

The heart of your question comes down to understanding the penalties associated with choosing to leave a Service Academy after that first day of Junior Year classes.  My quick research tonight is not finding the answers you seek.  I am going to take your advice and dig into and research the question.  If you will submit a follow-up question in two days, or alternatively send me your email address ( I will definitely follow-up, one way or the other.

Thanks for asking a great question.

Best Regards,

US Military Academy at West Point

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Bill Taylor


I can answer questions about admissions to West Point; about the history of West Point; about how to travel to West Point, where to eat, where to stay, etc.; and about West Point`s alumni organization, the West Point Association of Graduates.


I am a 1970 Graduate of West Point. I served six years on active duty and another 8 years in the active reserve. I have been actively involved as a Field Admissions Representative for over 20 years and have participated on my Congressman's Academy Selection Panel for over 25 years. I am actively involved in West Point Alumni affairs, serving in roles both with the West Point Association of Graduates and the local alumni chapter in Annapolis, MD. I also have two sons who graduated from West Point in 1995 and 2001. Both are veterans of the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. The 1995 Grad continues to serve on Active Duty in the Army.

Bachelor of Science, US Military Academy, 1970 Master of Science (Computer Science), The Johns Hopkins University, 1980

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