A selection board will meet in mid-April to designate candidates for participation in the new Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship program, a fully-funded broadening opportunity for senior NCOs to earn a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University.

The application deadline for the April 13-17 board is March 20. Final selections will be made by the commandant of the Sergeants Major Academy, a command sergeant major.

Successful applicants will make a permanent change of station move to Fort Bliss, Texas in early August before beginning the 12-month regimen of graduate studies Aug. 24.

Upon graduation from this program, soldiers will be assigned to the Sergeants Major Academy where they will serve a three-year tour as an instructor in the Sergeants Major Course.

The utilization assignment can be served concurrently with the 36-month service-remaining obligation incurred for the Army-funded schooling.

The Army's long-term goal for this program is to phase-out contracted instructors for the SMC, and replace them with graduates of the fellowship program, which is expected to produce 20 instructor-qualified NCOs annually.

Applicants for this year's program must:

• Be an active component sergeant major.

• Have served at the 6, 7C or 7S additional skill level. The requirement may be waived to the 6S (initial level sergeant major experience) level by the academy commandant.

• Have a bachelor's degree, and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher from an accredited university.

• Have a mandatory retirement date of June 30, 2020, or later.

For application procedures, consult MilPer Message 15-045, dated Feb. 12.