Wicker Introduces Bill to Expand Junior ROTC Units

More Students in Rural, Low-Income Areas Would Benefit From Leadership Program

May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced S. 2867, the “JROTC Opportunities through Transformational Change Act” or the “JROTC Act.” The legislation would increase funding to establish 100 new Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) units and would make reforms to make it easier to establish and retain units in low-income, rural, and underserved areas.

“JROTC units are proven to benefit schools, families, and communities by instilling the values of citizenship, service, and personal responsibility in student participants,” said Wicker. “Too often these programs are out of reach where they are most needed. The ‘JROTC Act’ would change that by authorizing 100 new JROTC units in rural, low-income, and other underserved communities. Other reforms in the bill would help ensure their success.”

A RAND Corporation study found that JROTC consistently improves student outcomes across a wide variety of academic and non-academic data points, including: grade point average, high school graduation and college acceptance rates, standardized test scores, drop-out rates, discipline problems, and leadership skills.

In Mississippi, the Jackson Public School system includes seven high schools that host JROTC units, and for the last decade the school system has maintained roughly 25 percent participation in JROTC. Across these schools, the JROTC students graduating this year have received more than $7.5 million in scholarship offers, and more than 90 percent of the graduating seniors have been formally accepted to institutions of higher learning.

Last year, RAND found that JROTC is significantly underrepresented in rural areas and small schools. There is a waitlist of more than 200 high schools that would like to host JROTC units.

Senator Wicker intends to offer the JROTC Act as an amendment to the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.