Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC)

On May 18, 1917, Congress approved what was commonly known as the Selective Service Act, authorizing the President to increase the military to prepare for entrance into WWI. All men between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register on June 5, 1917.

On June 5, 1918, those men who had reached age 21 since the previous registration were required to register. This occurred again on August 24, 1918.

A final registration was set for September 12, 1918, increasing the age range to include men between the ages of 18 and 45. This meant that for the first time, any man enrolled or about to be enrolled in college would be eligible for the draft. The Students’ Army Training Corps was a solution to allow men to remain or enroll in college but also begin preparation for military service. The men became privates in the US Army. Tuition, room and board, and possible uniforms and supplies were paid for by the government. The men received $30 each month.

The Students’ Army Training Corps was volunteer only, for men who met requirements. More details will be included in the following weeks.

“The President directs that for the period of the existing emergency there shall be raised and maintained by voluntary induction and draft a Students’ Army Training Corps. Units of this corps will be authorized by the Secretary of War at educational institutions that meet the requirements laid down in special regulations.”

“The primary purpose of the Students Army Training Corps is to utilize the executive and teaching personnel and the physical equipment of the educational institutions to assist in the training of our new armies.”

The training was available in about 600 colleges, universities, professional, technical, and trade schools of the country. There were four sections: Collegiate, Vocational, and limited Marine and Naval sections.

“Students of authorized institutions join the Students Army Training Corps by voluntary induction into the service. They then become members of the Army on active duty, receiving pay and subsistence, subject to military orders, and living in barracks under military discipline in exactly the same manner as any other soldier.”

These 12 institutions in North Carolina were authorized to create the corps.

Institution Name Location Section
Atlantic Christian College
(now Barton College)
Wilson Collegiate
Biddle University
(now Johnson C. Smith University)
Charlotte Collegiate
Catawba College Newton Collegiate
Davidson College Davidson Collegiate
Elon College Elon Collegiate
Lenoir College Hickory Collegiate
Negro Agricultural & Technical College
(now NC A&T State University)
Greensboro Vocational
NC State College of Agriculture and Engineering Raleigh Collegiate, Naval
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Collegiate, Naval, Marine
Shaw University Raleigh Collegiate
Trinity College
(now Duke University)
Durham Collegiate
Wake Forest College Wake Forest Collegiate


The following Brunswick County men volunteered and were accepted into the Students’ Army Training Corps. It is assumed that they felt the same excitement at their acceptance as the young women and men of today feel when receiving full college scholarships. Those serving in the SATC were also more likely to serve in leadership positions in the military.

These men had to meet educational as well as physical requirements; all were literate. This was not always the case.

It is estimated that 25% of the WWI draftees in this country were found to be illiterate. The percentage in Brunswick County is unknown. While inspecting the WWI Draft Registrations of Brunswick County veterans, it is rewarding when they include an actual signature. Many men could sign only with an “X.” The WWI Profile for David Elton Lewis includes details of him learning to read and write in order to improve his employment prospects.

According to historical documents, one goal of the Army was to teach the men to sign their names when receiving their pay.

More information will be shared in their WWI Snapshots, which will be posted in the coming weeks.

Name Institution
Oliver Banks Negro Agricultural & Technical College
Commodore Clarence Chinnis University of North Carolina
Harry Churchhill Corlette, Jr Davidson College
Elmer Davis Negro Agricultural & Technical College
Joseph Clyde Knox Trinity College
Francis Dillard Price Clemson College
Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr Davidson College
William Asbury Rourk, Jr University of North Carolina
John Rivers Smith Negro Agricultural & Technical College


The Armistice of November 11, 1918 ended their training. The SATC was demobilized in December.

Students Army Training Corps, Descriptive Circular, October 18, 1918.

United States. War Dept. (1918). Students’ army training corps regulations, 1918. Washington: Govt. print. off..

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