The United States Air Force Academy (also known as USAFA, the Air Force Academy, or the Academy), is a military academy for officer cadets of the United States Air Force. Its campus is located in the western United States in Colorado, immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County.
The Academy’s stated mission is “to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become leaders of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.” It is the youngest of the five U.S. service academies, having graduated its first class 58 years ago in 1959. Graduates of the Academy’s four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force. The Academy is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado, attracting approximately a million visitors each year.
Admission is extremely competitive, with nominations divided equally among Congressional districts. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,200 cadets; historically, just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the Air Force. Cadets receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve a number of years of military service after graduation.
To be eligible to enter the Academy, a candidate must:
Be a citizen of the United States (unless nominated by an official of a country invited by the Department of Defense)
Be unmarried with no dependents
Be of good moral character
Be at least 17, but less than 23 years of age by 1 July of the year of entry
Meet high leadership, academic, physical and medical standards