Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 11:05am

The Red & Black explores a program whereby Army ROTC students are paid to learn a foreign language and study abroad:

The program outlines 10 different languages that are considered to be “critical languages” contracted cadets can take and receive a stipend for upon completion.

“The army wants these students to have some sort of exposure [to the language] just for the potential of having that knowledge in the future where it could be beneficial,” said Kevin Fracassa, the scholarship and enrollment officer for the Army ROTC program at UGA.

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Fracassa said, a three-credit language course will earn a $750 stipend and a four-credit course would earn a $1,000 stipend. The languages that fall into this category of “critical” include Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Swahili. The Cultural Language Incentive Program, CLIP, is the organization within ROTC that is funding these stipends.

Fracassa said he sees most cadets leaning towards Arabic, considering the political climate the students have grown up in.

An incentive program that comes as no surprise and easily could be mimicked by other schools and colleges not traditionally associated with language study. Many such disciplinary studies are a remnant of the past, such is the level of integration of languages with so many fields. The cultural education that comes with language instruction simply cannot be overstated, and then the burnished credentials of whatever discipline or major a foreign language might be paired with makes students all the more ready and capable - to do whatever they want to do.

UGA has robust language instruction programs across several Franklin College units. Like the ROTC, we should continue to help students make the most of them.

Image: Army ROTC students portrait, via the Red&Black