By Debbie Gregory.
Due to a drop in Coast Guard tuition assistance (T.A.) usage during the past year, members of the U.S. Coast Guard can now take advantage of a limited time opportunity to utilize up to $4,500 in T.A. for the remainder of 2014.
Tuition Assistance is a valuable tool offered by each branch of the U.S. military. T.A.s from each service branch vary in benefit offerings and requirements, and some the T.A.s have even fluctuated within their own branch, from year to year or quarter to quarter. Tuition Assistance is intended to be used as a retention tool by the military to provide education benefits for service members who intend to remain in the military, but require further education or degrees to reach their desired pay grade or title. T.A. is often confused with the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills. But T.A. is not intended to replace or supplement those benefits in any way.
The Coast Guard’s budget for fiscal year 2014 includes $7.8 million for tuition assistance. This number is down from the $12 million allotted for T.A. in 2013. Perhaps due to rumors about budget cuts, there has been a severe drop in T.A. usage by Coast Guard sailors. Already aware of the drop in enrollment, the branch, for the first time, opened T.A. to members pursuing their first master’s degree.
For Coast Guard T.A., members are responsible to pay 25% of their tuition and fees. So under the new cap, members enrolled in Coast Guard tuition assistance can receive up to $3,375 from the benefit.
So far this fiscal year, the Coast Guard has paid out only $2.5 million of the $7.8 million in T.A. funds to more than 2,600 members.
The U.S. Coast Guard is a valuable branch of the U.S. military that operates as both a maritime law enforcement agency and federal regulatory agency, under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is a maritime military service with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters.
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Military Connection: Coast Guard Ups Tuition Assistance: By Debbie Gregory