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In the past, there were over a dozen different paths for Sailors to become commissioned officers, Seaman to Admiral being just one of them. This wide array of programs lacked uniformity in benefits, selection procedures, educational opportunities, and program requirements. This created a very confusing web of program applications, deadlines, and choices for fleet applicants and, quite frankly, is very cumbersome for the Navy to manage and administer. Consequently, there were countless Sailors in the fleet who would make outstanding commissioned officers, but due to program restrictions, educational background, or financial concerns, they did not apply.

For all of these reasons and more, the Navy combined most of these current commissioning paths into one consolidated program that preserves the Seaman to Admiral name made popular by Admiral Boorda: Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21). The STA-21 Commissioning Program is designed to meet the goals of the Navy in the 21st Century, while at the same time creating a fair and equitable system for outstanding active duty Sailors to receive a top-notch college education and become commissioned officers.


The following fleet commissioning programs were combined to create the STA-21 Program:

  • Seaman to Admiral
  • Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)
  • Aviation Enlisted Commissioning Program (AECP)
  • Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP)
  • Civil Engineer Corps Enlisted Commissioning Program (CECECP)
  • Fleet Accession to Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)
    • (Includes Nurse Option)

What makes the STA-21 Program so different from most of the other commissioning programs is its fairness to the Sailor. Some of the previous enlisted commissioning programs required Sailors to pay their college tuition by themselves. Others removed the student from active duty status, thus taking away any source of income. The STA-21 Program will keep all participants on active duty at their current enlisted pay grade. This means they will receive all the pay, allowances, benefits, and privileges they currently enjoy and will still be eligible for enlisted advancement while in the program: Time spent in school will not count towards retirement, however, it will count towards pay purposes.  Sailors will receive up to $10,000 per year to cover tuition, books, and fees. The Sailor will pay any costs above $10,000 per year. Participants attending inexpensive universities that do not require use of the entire $10,000 for any year will not be able to keep the difference.

Although the applicant's history of fleet performance will receive consideration during the selection process, emphasis will be placed on the identification of those applicants who possess the academic and leadership potential necessary to become outstanding Naval officers.




The STA-21 Commissioning Program allows Sailors to apply to the Core Program or a Target group option. The Core Program allows participants the most flexibility in selecting a major and requesting schools to attend. STA-21 students in the Core Program will be assigned an Unrestricted Line (URL) Navy officer designator upon commissioning. (Students will request which officer community they desire during their final year of academic study, but assignment is controlled by NSTC in accordance with annual community goals set by BUPERS). Sailors selected into a Target group option will, upon commissioning, be assigned to that option's officer community. These Target group options each have specific requirements related to them as seen with the dropdown menu below.

Changes have been made, read the requirements for these options carefully.

Click the drop down for Program Authorization













Participants in the STA-21 program will:

  • The VA has authorized the use of the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits (Chapter 30 of Title 38) to pay for courses after the service member's STA-21 funds are exhausted, as long as payment is for different courses and not combined to pay for the same course.
  • Receive full pay and allowances including BAH and BAS for their enlisted pay grades.
  • Be eligible for enlisted advancement.
  • Receive up to $10,000 per year, paid to the university to supplement the costs of tuition, fees, and books.
  • Upon successful degree completion, be commissioned as active duty Ensigns in the United States Navy (USN). ( View current officer and enlisted pay tables from DFAS web site.)
  • Maintain medical care and commissary/exchange privileges.
  • Be eligible for base housing (area permitting).

STA-21 participants will not:

  • Be eligible for Tuition Assistance (TA) under the Navy's Tuition Assistance Program, Navy College Fund (NCF), or Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) benefits.
  • Be eligible for special duty assignment pay (SDAP).
  • Be eligible for accrual of years of service:
    • From 10 U.S. Code § 6328 - Computation of years of service: voluntary retirement ©
      Time Spent in Seaman to Admiral Program.-The months of active service in pursuit of a baccalaureate-level degree under the Seaman to Admiral (STA-21) program of the Navy of officer candidates selected for the program on or after October 28, 2009, shall be excluded in computing the years of service of an officer who was appointed to the grade of ensign in the Navy upon completion of the program to determine the eligibility of the officer for retirement, unless the officer becomes subject to involuntary separation or retirement due to physical disability. Such active service shall be counted in computing the years of active service of the officer for all other purposes.

- Note: Some Special Pays may continue for participants in the STA-21 Special Warfare and Explosive Ordinance Disposal options as directed by the Officer Community Manager (BUPERS - 311D and BUPERS - 311E respectively).

External Hyperlinks:
The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Navy of non-U.S. Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. Although the U.S. Navy may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense information, it does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website. You are about to leave an official Navy website.



To be eligible to apply to the STA-21 Commissioning Program, a Sailor must:
  • Be a citizen of the United States. No waivers.
  • Be recommended by the Commanding Officer. Applicants must have good moral character, officer potential, and unquestionable loyalty to the United States.
  • Be serving on active duty with an Active Duty Service Date (ADSD) in the U.S. Navy or Full Time Support (FTS). Selected Reservist (SELRES) must be on ADSW orders. SELRES on ACDUTRA, AT, or I-ACDUTRA orders are not eligible. Individual Program Options may have additional requirements and specific restrictions. (See the "Program Options/Authorization" Tab on this page.)
  • Be a high school graduate. High school diploma or equivalency certificates based upon military education experience and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test results are acceptable to meet the educational requirements if issued by the Department of Education of a state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States of America or the District of Columbia.
  • Be able to complete requirements for a baccalaureate degree in 36 months or less.
  • Be able to complete degree requirements and be commissioned prior to the birthday specified in the Program Options Tab on this page. Waivers of this requirement may be considered by Program Managers for the specific options.
  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in STA-21. Certain Program Options may have different requirements.
  • Qualifying ACT or SAT scores MUST come from the same test and be included in the application when submitting to the Commanding Officer. If multiple tests were taken, we will take your BEST scores within five (5) years of application deadline (i.e., applicants that are applying in 2024 for FY25 must submit scores from a test taken after 1 July 2019 but before 1 July 2024). To be eligible we require a minimum of 1000 SAT (500 Math and 500 EBRW) or ACT test minimums score of 41 (21 Math and 20 English). Applicants for the Nuclear Option must have a minimum of 1140 SAT (combined Math/EBRW) or 50 ACT (combined Math/English) but meeting individual test score minimums SAT – 500M/500 EBRW or ACT – 21M/20E).
DANTES no longer provides or funds SAT/ACT exams. Fees must be paid for by the service member at the time of testing. If the exam is taken at a National/International Test Center, the quickest way to receive your exam score report is to create an account at the appropriate testing agency website (ACT or SAT). Use release code 0493. Your scores will then be automatically entered into NETFOCUS.
  • Meet physical commissioning standards for appointment in the Unrestricted Line (URL); Restricted Line (RL) for the current Fiscal Year open STA-21 Officer Target Options.
  • Have no record of courts-martial convictions or civilian felony convictions.
  • Have no record of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) within the three (3) years preceding 01 July of application year. Substantiated alcohol or drug-related incidents while in an enlisted status are considered an aspect of an individual's performance and judgment and will be considered when assessing future leadership potential. Applicants who are alcohol dependent must have successfully completed the appropriate regimen of treatment and education in accordance with OPNAVINST 5350.4C and have remained alcohol free for the period of three (3) years preceding 01 July of application year.
  • Have no record of disciplinary action under Article 15, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), or conviction by civil court for misdemeanors (except minor offenses that impose a fine of $300 or less, exclusive of court charges) during the three (3) years preceding 01 July of application year.
  • Must submit scores for the previous three (3) PFA cycles.  Must have passed the most recent PFA completed with a minimum overall score of "GOOD/LOW" or better (unless waived).  For applicants who received a waiver on the most current PFA(s), the score from the previous PFA will be accepted.  A grade of SATISFACTORY or FAILURE on the most recent PFA cycle will make the applicant ineligible.  If needed, command should administer a special PRT to meet the PFA Good/Low or better requirement.
  • Have submitted all documentation listed in OPNAVINST 1420.1B  (Chapter 8) paragraph 6 (Application Procedures). Omission of documentation may be disqualifying for this program.
  • Maintain eligibility requirements during the application period and during participation in the program.
  • Meet additional requirements as described in Program Options(See the "Program Options/Authorization" Tab on this page.)
  • Students presently enrolled in other officer accession programs are not eligible for the STA-21 Program.
  • Individuals who have already obtained their baccalaureate degree are not eligible for STA-21 and should apply directly for Officer Candidate School (OCS). OCS application procedures can be found in OPNAVINST 1420.1B (Chapter 4).
  • The Aviation OCM has changed to BUPERS 313 at:
Assistant, Aviation OCM
Ms. Jo Statser
Aviation Probationary Officer Continuation Redesignation (POCR) Board Action Officer
DSN 882-3875, (901) 874-3875
External Hyperlinks:
The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Navy of non-U.S. Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. Although the U.S. Navy may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense information, it does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website. You are about to leave an official Navy website.





Selection into the STA-21 Program will occur in the fall of each year. Selectees will be notified several months in advance of the assigned date they will begin the STA-21 Program during the following year. NSTC will determine reporting dates to NSI.


The Naval Science Institute (NSI) portion of the STA-21 Program is designed to teach each officer candidate the fundamental core concepts of being a Naval officer. This program provides competency in such areas as navigation, engineering, weapons, military history and justice, etc. NSI is located at OTC-N Newport, RI and lasts 6 weeks. NSI is a very specific curriculum that was designed to build upon the naval experience of highly trained enlisted Sailors and help them transition into their future careers as Naval officers. All STA-21 selectees will attend NSI en route to their assigned university.  View NSI Welcome Aboard Package.


Upon successful completion of NSI, STA-21 officer candidates will report to an NROTC affiliated college or university for their summer term to pursue their college degree.

Selection and Placement

Each STA-21 applicant selects up to three school choices during the application process, and NSTC conducts actual student placement to the schools after selection into the program. This placement is based on several factors including available NROTC Unit openings, program option*, etc.

* Note:

  • STA-21 Nurse Option participants may only attend the NROTC-affiliated universities designated as NSTC approved Nursing Programs. These schools are denoted with an 'RN' on the NSTC NROTC Colleges and Universities web page.
  • Selectees for STA-21 Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Option must enroll in and complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) engineering degree or National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) architecture degree at an NROTC-affiliated university.
  • For Sailors selected into the STA-21 Nuclear Option, there are currently only 24 schools they are eligible to attend. These schools are listed below.

Participants in the STA-21 Nurse Option, CEC Option, or Nuclear Option may only attend colleges or universities listed as approved institutions. No waivers of this requirement will be granted.

For a complete list of all NROTC affiliated universities, visit the NSTC NROTC Colleges and Universities web page:

Course of Study

While selectees are strongly encouraged to pursue technical degree programs, participants are free to choose their major areas of study. Certain STA-21 program options have specific degree requirements (Nuclear, Nurse, CEC, etc). However, all STA-21 officer candidates (with the exception of Nurse Corps Option) must successfully complete two semesters each of calculus and calculus-based physics prior to graduation, regardless of their major. While attending college, all STA-21 officer candidates are required to participate in all NROTC Unit functions except for summer cruise/activities and completion of the Naval Science course content not covered during NSI.

Academic Calendars

Students in the STA-21 Program will attend school full-time year-round. All students are required to complete degree requirements in not more than 36 calendar months. STA-21 officer candidates will not participate in summer cruises or any other summer activities that the NROTC Unit midshipmen must complete. STA-21 members are required to be enrolled in every academic semester, quarter, trimester, or minimester offered by the university. Not all STA-21 students will begin their college education at the same time of year due to planned phasing of the program. Many selectees will begin in the summer and a few (i.e. Nurse) in the fall.


After successfully earning a college degree and graduating from his or her respective university, the officer candidate will be commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy. Following graduation from the university, newly commissioned Ensigns are sent to initial training for their officer community.


External Hyperlinks:
The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Navy of non-U.S. Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. Although the U.S. Navy may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense information, it does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website. You are about to leave an official Navy website.

Go To:  Physical Fitness Standards

( Click on the link above to visit the "NSI Program Requirements" tabbed section of the "NSI" webpage. )
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