All four U.S. military academies have seen a drop in the number of applications this year compared with last year. At some of the academies those applicant numbers have been thinning for some time and are nearing pre-9/11 numbers.
Number of Applicants for the Class of 2009 vs. 2008
Air Force Academy — declined 23 percent
Coast Guard Academy — declined 12 percent
U.S. Military Academy — declined 9 percent
Naval Academy — declined 20 percent
Applications and Enrollment, Class of 2009
Air Force Academy — Colorado Springs, Colo.
Applications — 9,604
Enrollment — 1,390
Coast Guard Academy — New London, Conn.
Applications — 1628
Enrollment — 307
U.S. Military Academy — West Point, N.Y.
Applications — 10,773
Enrollment — 1,266
Naval Academy — Annapolis, Md.
Applications — 11,257
Enrollment — 1,220
About the Academies
Every military branch except for the Marine Corps (which has a program at the Naval Academy) has their own academy. The academies provide a four-year university education and a commission as an officer in the military upon graduation.
All of the military academies are highly competitive and tuition-free to those admitted. The Air Force even pays their students a stipend.
Each academy supplies expertly trained troops to the armed services because they require a minimum nine-year commitment to the military — meaning at least five years of active-duty after graduating.
Compiled by FOX News' Molly Bernhart