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 Navy ROTC units located at the University of California at Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Washington, Harvard University, and Yale University. In June of 1930, 126 midshipmen graduated and received commissions in the United States Navy. At least three of the graduates went on to obtain flag rank.
The Marine Corps entered the Navy ROTC Program in 1932, offering qualified Navy ROTC 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 sixteen women to enroll in the program and attend school at one of four colleges. Women may now participate in the program while attending any Navy ROTC affiliated college or university. In 1990, the Navy ROTC 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 Navy ROTC 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 63 Navy ROTC units/consortiums hosted at 77 schools throughout the United States. The Navy ROTC Program is available at over 160 colleges and universities that either host Navy ROTC 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.