Congressman Blum’s Military Academy Nominations

Members of Congress may nominate candidates for appointment to four of the five U.S. service academies: the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, MD; the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, CO; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, NY. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), New London, CT, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

These academies provide young women and men a world class education and unlimited career opportunities. Each offer full scholarships that include education, room and board, pay, exclusive benefits and training at some of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the nation. The honor of attending a service academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. For more information, please review the page of Frequently Asked Questions for those seeking a Military Academy Nomination.

Congressman Blum may only nominate up to ten individuals for each vacant academy slot allotted to the first district of Iowa. Because of the limited number of nominations each Member of Congress can make, I encourage you to also contact Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst’s office about their nomination process.

How to Apply

To apply for a nomination from Congressman Blum, please complete and return the full application packet, which can be found below. In this packet you will find: application forms, general information, and my application checklist. Should you have any questions, please contact my office at 319-364-2288 or email

NOTE: Applicants must apply directly to the U.S. Service Academies in addition to seeking a Congressional nomination. **

Nomination Timeline

July 30, 2018: Congressman Blum’s application period opens

October 30, 2018: Application submission deadline (Originally, October 9)

December 2018: Nominations finalized

January 2019: Nomination notification letters sent to applicants


To be eligible for appointment, you must be an American citizen, at least 17 years old and not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year you enter an academy (25 years old for United States Merchant Marine Academy).

Further, you must not be married or pregnant, and you must not have any legal obligation to support children or other dependents. To apply for a nomination through my office, you must also be a legal resident of Iowa’s 1st congressional district. If you are not certain that your legal domicile is in the 1st district of Iowa, call my office and request an address verification.

Evaluation Criteria

The academies consider evidence of character, scholarship, leadership, physical aptitude, medical fitness, personal goals, and motivation in performing each nominee’s “whole-person” evaluation. These are also the criteria I use to determine nominations. Specific criteria in the “whole person” evaluation include character, scholarship, leadership, physical aptitude, medical fitness, and motivation.

  • Character. Absolutely critical in the course of evaluating a candidate is a positive determination of the candidate’s character. Absence of good moral character is cause for disqualification. Candidates are considered to have good moral character unless evidence exists to suggest otherwise.

  • Scholarship. Each element of a candidate’s academic record is carefully evaluated by a service academy’s admissions board. The elements evaluated include a complete high school record (and college record, when applicable), class standing, and either the SAT or ACT scores. All strengths and weaknesses in a candidate’s academic background are taken into account.

  • Leadership. Participation and achievement in organized athletics, student body and class government, clubs and class extracurricular activities, scouting, boys or girls state, and church or other community-related activities demonstrate evidence of leadership potential. Candidates who have found it necessary to work to provide family support are considered to have demonstrated desirable leadership potential.

  • Physical Aptitude. Measuring strength, endurance, agility, and coordination, the academies’ fitness tests are designed to determine each candidate’s readiness to undertake the rigorous athletic and physical education program at one of the academies. Each academy has its own test requirements. Results of the examination are evaluated, assigned a numerical score, and included in the whole-person evaluation by West Point. The Air Force, Naval, and Merchant Marine academies evaluate the results on a pass-or-fail basis.

  • Medical Fitness. A candidate who meets minimum scholastic standards will be scheduled to take a service academy qualifying medical examination at a military or civilian contract facility near the candidate’s home. Although medical qualification standards vary among the academies, only one exam is required. Different tests may be necessary, however, depending upon the academy. Scheduling and evaluation of the exam are arranged by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB). Candidates who have questions about their medical exam results should direct them to:


8034 Edgerton Drive

Suite 132

USAF Academy, Colorado 80840-2200

(719) 333-3562

Medical scheduling and evaluation are time-consuming processes, especially if consultation, re-testing, or corrective action is required. The process may take from six weeks to four months.

  • Motivation. Motivation is an intangible quality and difficult to evaluate; however, since it is most frequently the factor that determines an appointee’s success or failure at a service academy, I make every effort to gauge a candidate’s motivation. An attempt to measure motivation may be made through observation of the candidate’s interest level in attending an academy and serving as an officer in the armed forces. Motivation may also be measured through an evaluation of correspondence, personal contacts, and care with which application materials are prepared.

Applicant Evaluation by Service Academies

Each academy uses a questionnaire to make an initial assessment of an applicant’s potential for appointment. The results of this evaluation are provided by each academy to Members of Congress to assist them in screening their applicants. Soon after the applicant returns the questionnaire, the admissions office will provide the applicant with an evaluation of the applicant’s demonstrated ability to meet admissions standards. An applicant who meets the standards is declared a candidate; those who do not meet the standards at that point may later submit additional test scores or information to the academy for re-evaluation. The applicant must provide the following information: academic standardized test scores (ACT, SAT-I), rank in class and grade point average, Social Security number, and participation in high school extracurricular activities. Be sure to complete a pre-candidate questionnaire for each academy in which you are interested.

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