Weekly Column

This month, many Nebraska students will go back to school. August marks the end of summer, but it also marks an exciting time of new beginnings. Students will learn and experience new things this year guided by our great Nebraska teachers. Our high school seniors are nearing the point of adulthood, and they need help from parents, teachers, family members, and friends as they navigate these last years of school.

The coming school year will be especially transitional for our high school seniors as they answer questions that will impact the rest of their lives: Will I go to college? What will I study? What job will I get? Many young Nebraskans will attend one of our wonderful public universities. Many will work on their families’ farms or in their small businesses. Some will travel elsewhere for educational or work opportunities. And many Nebraskans over the years have chosen to attend one of our country’s military service academies.

My office offers resources and counsel to students who are considering applying to a military academy. There are five military service academies across our country: the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, New York), Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland), Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut), and Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, New York).

These academies offer young Americans an exceptional education coupled with military training. The military academies choose applicants based on the “whole person concept” — which means those with exceptional grades, athletic skills, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership potential, and strong moral character. Students may apply to one or more of the five institutions.

Cadets and midshipmen receive a monthly stipend during their time at whichever academy they choose and graduate with no debt. This phenomenal opportunity includes world-class academic and athletic experiences in addition to military training. Each student earns a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the armed forces. Each new officer serves for a minimum of five years, depending on their job specialty.

Four out of five of the academies — all except the Coast Guard Academy — require applicants to secure a nomination from a Member of Congress. Each year, I enjoy learning about the impressive Nebraska students interested in receiving a nomination from my office. My staff and I review nomination applications, and I am proud to nominate many young, highly qualified Nebraskans to attend a service academy.

This year, nomination packages are due no later than October 2. For High School Guidance Counselors who would like to learn more about service academy applications, the nomination process, and how to best prepare students to apply to a service academy, please register for the August 22nd teleconference no later than August 15th. To apply for a nomination or register for the informational event, please contact my Omaha office at (402) 391-3411 or email

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.