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Graduates of West Point Become Army Officers ... But Not Always in the U.S. Army

I'm Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week, we answer a question from China as part of our series for students who want to study at an American college. Song Bin in Guizhou Province would like to know about the United States Military Academy at West Point.

West Point is the four-year school in New York State that educates future Army officers. The students are called cadets. They do not have to pay for their education. But they do have to agree to serve on active duty in the Army for at least five years after they graduate.

A young man or woman must be nominated to the academy, usually by a federal or state lawmaker. Nominees also must satisfy the entrance requirements. These include excellent physical condition and high marks in school.

About four thousand American cadets are at West Point this year. In addition, there are forty-four cadets who were sent by other countries for a military education.

International students are nominated by their home government. They also must satisfy the physical and educational requirements. In addition, they must do well on the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Home governments may have to pay up to fifty thousand dollars a year per student at West Point.

Among those with cadets at the academy this year are Bulgaria, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Taiwan and Tunisia.

Each year, the United States Defense Department invites countries to nominate students to West Point and other military academies. Last year, one hundred fifty-five countries were invited to do so. Not all countries take part in the program.

We spoke to Captain Robert Romans, head of the international cadet program at West Point. He says up to sixty foreign cadets at any one time can attend the academy. He says students who are interested should seek information at their local American Embassy. The embassy should know where in the home government to go to learn how to be nominated.

The West Point Web site does not have much information about the international program. But it does have a lot of other information. The address is

Our Foreign Student Series is online at voaspecialenglish dot com. To send us e-mail, write to

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Gwen Outen.