Tuition is free, and all cadets receive a monthly stipend of approximately $10,000 a year. All graduates must serve at least five years of active duty (beginning as a second lieutenant in the Army) and three years in a Reserve Component, a total of eight years, after graduation. Cadets are expected to pay a fee upon admission to the academy. This $2,000 is not only a commitment to attend, but will be used to defray the costs of uniforms, books, and a computer—essential items for every cadet. The active-duty obligation is the nation’s return on a West Point graduate’s fully funded, four-year college education that is valued in excess of $225,000.