The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Program was established in 1926 to provide a broad base of citizens knowledgeable in the arts and sciences of Naval Warfare. The program provided an opportunity for young men to undertake careers in the naval profession. In the beginning, there were six NROTC units located at the University of California at Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Washington, and Harvard and Yale Universities. In June of 1930, 126 midshipmen graduated from college, and received commissions in the United States Navy. At least 3 of the graduates went on to obtain flag rank.
The Marine Corps entered the NROTC Program in 1932, offering qualified NROTC graduates commissions in the United States Marine Corps. In 1968, Prairie View A&M became the first Historically Black College (HBC) to host the program. In 1972, the Secretary of the Navy authorized 16 women to enroll in the program and attend school at one of four colleges. Women may now participate in the program while attending any NROTC affiliated college or university. In 1990, the NROTC Scholarship Program was expanded to include applicants pursuing a four-year degree in Nursing, leading to a commission in the Navy Nurse Corps.
The mission of the NROTC Program today... is to develop young men and women morally, mentally, and physically, and to instill in them the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment. The program educates and trains young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps. Currently there are 61 NROTC units/consortiums hosted at 75 schools throughout the United States. The NROTC Program is available at over 160 colleges and universities that either host NROTC units or have cross-town enrollment agreements with a host university. Selected applicants for the program are awarded scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process, and receive full tuition and other financial benefits at many of the country's leading colleges and universities.