The best and longest lasting benefit of being a member of the Regimental Band is the friendships you establish beginning on your very first day. The Corps of Cadets and the Regimental Band produces leaders of character and integrity for the Commonwealth and the Nation in all fields — business, industry, agriculture, and the military. Leadership is forged in an environment that builds teams that live in a world of camaraderie, esprit de corps, and academic excellence. There is no other organization on the campus of Virginia Tech that builds bonds of friendship that last across the decades like the Virginia Tech Regimental Band. By the end of your fist day in the Band you will know at least the forty or so other cadets of your class in the Band. Within a few weeks you will know everybody in the Band by name, and by the end of your first year you will probably know several hundred of your classmates and upperclassmen in other units of the Corps by name. As a cadet in the Band you will never be a number — you as an individual are important and your success at Virginia Tech is important to the leadership of the Band.
All freshmen entering into the Regimental Band receive a $1000 stipend named in memory of Jim Schaeffer. Furthermore, all freshmen entering the Corps of Cadets are eligible for the Emerging Leader Scholarship (ELS). The ELS is awarded on a first come, first served basis and in recent years 100 in-state scholarships of $2,000 per year for four years ($8,000 total) and 100 out-of-state scholarships of $3,000 per year for four years ($12,000 total) have been awarded. These scholarships are proof of the lasting value of your experience as a cadet and as a Highty-Tighty at Virginia Tech, because they are funded by a 27 million dollar endowment raised by cadet alumni.
Virginia Tech recognizes the practical leadership experience that all cadets gain in the Corps. Virginia Tech is the first land grant university in the nation to successfully combine the leadership development elements embedded within a corps experience together with existing ROTC curriculum to produce a program of study so rigorous it has been recognized by the award of a minor in leadership studies. The Rice Center for Leadership's primary mission is to train youth men and women to lead while it fosters the growth of leadership-related programs and initiatives at the university.