National Guard recruiters say they used a mailing list provided by Anne Arundel Community College to contact 22,000 students and alumni at the school, although AACC officials say they never provided such a list.
The recruiting notices sent to students offer money and a career path as inducements to sign on, but make virtually no mention ofthe required eight-year commitment with the Maryland Air National Guard 175th Tactical Fighter Group.
College officials said they do not sell student lists or provide information to military branches. A recruiter for the National Guard said he did obtain the mailing list from the college, but refused to comment on the specifics of how he received it.
Capt. Mike Milord,a spokesman for the Air National Guard, said recruiters received 22,000 labels with Anne Arundel Community College student addresses six months ago.
"Some school systems provide labels for (recruiters),"Milord said. "Baltimore city and Baltimore County provide mailing addresses of seniors, but Harford and Anne Arundel County (school systems) have elected not to do that."
AACC spokeswoman Theone Relos said student information is released only to other colleges -- with student permission and after a written request has been received.
"Wedon't give out information to military recruiters," Relos said.
"We have a policy of never selling mailing lists. We share lists with four-year colleges in the area only if there is a good reason.
"I understand from the records office that we get requests from the military branches all the time. I can't swear that a list didn't go out."
One former community college student received a letter from the Maryland Air National Guard, located in Baltimore, making promises of on-the-job training through the Community College of the Air Force.
The letter read:
"The BEST technical training available in civilianrelated marketable skills . . . FREE! What's more we will PAY YOU while you're learning your new skill. I like to say You Earn While You Learn."
The letter goes on to promise a free college education, with a commitment of "just two days per month and 15 days per year after your initial training."
One National Guard recruiter contacted explained the eight-year commitment.
"You have two options," he said. "You can serve four years active and four years inactive or six years active and two years inactive."
When asked if this weren't a bad time to be signing up, he added, "Oh, by the time you're processedthe war will be over. It's one of the safest places to be. All of our people on the home front are still intact. If we get involved, the primary mission is to supplement. But none of our folks have been called up."
The Persian Gulf war has triggered a national debate about the fairness of an all-volunteer military. Critics fear unemployment and the high cost of a college education may make those on the lower socio-economic scale more susceptible to the enticements offered by recruiters.