Coast Guard Scholarships
If you’re interested in attending college or competing in a graduate program, there are plenty of Coast Guard scholarships to help you achieve your academic and career pursuits. These scholarships exist in addition to financial assistance that you may receive directly from the Coast Guard.
The Montgomery GI Bill is for those who have enlisted in the Armed Forces. Under the program, members of the Armed Forces can enroll in up to 36 months of education benefits. These benefits are payable for up to 10 years upon release from active duty, according to the Montgomery GI Bill.
Active duty members can earn up to $1,360 a month in educational training funds for three years or more of full-time service under the Montgomery GI Bill.
A Supplemental Education Grant for $250 is available to clients and family members of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. To qualify, applicants of a Supplemental Education Grant must be working toward their first undergraduate degree, training program, seeking a GED, degree-planning program, or correspondence course.
Recipients of a Supplemental Education Grant can utilize the funds toward fees, books, study guides, supplies, equipment, and other documented educational costs.
The Imagine America Military Award Program is a $1,000 scholarship open to members of the military branches. To qualify, recipients must be active duty, reservist, honorably discharged, or a veteran. As part of the Imagine America Military Award Program, applicants must also be planning on enrolling and completing postsecondary education and demonstrate financial need.
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Whether you’re a reservist or employed full-time as an Enlisted or Officer in the Coast Guard, there are plenty of tuition assistance programs that help aid you in your educational pursuits. The Coast Guard understands that in order to have the best service men and women, they also need to have the most educated.
There are a variety of financial assistance opportunities for enlistees in the Marines:
Tuition Assistance (TA) – Financial assistance that covers 100% of the cost of high school completion programs and up to $250 per semester hour of undergraduate and graduate programs.
The Post-9/11 Bill – Provides tuition, housing and book financial assistance with just 90 days of qualifying active duty service. Assistance can be transferred to dependents.
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) – Covers up to 100% of tuition and fees for a maximum of 14 years after completion of service. Must serve at least six years in order to be eligible.
Coast Guard Foundation Education Grant (CGFEG) – Grant program provides reimbursement for educational expenses like books and fees. Maximum of $350 is available each year and no time service commitment is necessary for active duty personnel.
Vander Putten Education Grant (VPEG) – Grant program that disperses up to $500 in aid toward textbooks and fees for active duty personnel who have been serving for at least a year.
For more information on education benefits in the Coast Guard, visit military.com.
Life in the Coast Guard
Job Benefits and Family Life
Being part of the Coast Guard is being part of one of the nation’s top industries. The Coast Guard offers competitive benefits to service men and women that include amazing health care benefits as well as opportunities to travel.
Pay: As an enlisted member in the Coast Guard, the expected starting salary is $15,000 a year. Other allowances that are provided by the Coast Guard are sea pay, clothing allowance, family separation allowance and hazardous-duty pay. Pay raises increase with rank.
Housing and Food Allowance: If government living and eating quarters are not available in your area, housing and meal allowances are available.
Retirement: After service of 20 years, Coast Guard service men and women are able to retire with competitive retirement packages.
Insurance: During active duty, you’re eligible for free medical, dental and eye insurance at no cost.
Service men and women are also able to take up to two years, without pay, for leave with a newborn.
Vacation/Travel: Coast Guard service men and women are permitted 30 days vacation every year.
Guardians and their families have access to military space-available flights for free. This service extends to retirees as well. It enables Guardians and their families to fill empty seats on Department of Defense-owned or controlled aircraft.
For more information on life in the Coast Guard, visit military.com.
The Coast Guard admits they are very selective. They are a small military branch with just 38,000 active duty and 12,000 reserve personnel. The Coast Guard is not for everyone and everyone who is interested may not be qualified. Just like you would research colleges online or buying a home, it’s important to research the decision to join the Coast Guard. By becoming a part of the U.S. Coast Guard you can find ways to pay for school, while still finishing school or just starting it. You may even qualify to earn a salary at the same time.
- You must be between the ages of 17-27, prior service up to age 29 and up to age 32 if attending school for Active Duty. If you are 17, you'll need parental consent.
- You must have a high school diploma. GED's are accepted in rare circumstances.
- You can have no more than two dependents.
- Active-duty Guardians serve where the Coast Guard needs them. Assignments could be aboard, at a support station, on a flight crew, or at an air station. Reserve Guardians generally serve at a Coast Guard unit within 100 miles of their residence. A recruiter can provide details of possible reserve opportunities.
- The Coast Guard recommends filling out the “Get More Information” form on gocoastguard.com, from there a local recruiting office will contact you.
Programs Offered by the Coast Guard
- The Coast Guard Academy is one of the five military service academies. Located in New London, Connecticut, the Academy's mission is to produce leaders. About 300 high school graduates enroll annually, leaving four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree. The Academy is tuition free. Cadets also earn a modest paycheck. Graduates are obligated to serve for five years upon graduation.
- The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) program offers college sophomores and juniors the chance to have their junior or senior year of college fully paid for. The CSPI program's goal is to train future officers for success and prepare them for the rigors of Officer Candidate School (OCS).
For more information on getting started in the Coast Guard, visit military.com.