For many Coast Guard families this year school means computer screens and a commute as short as to their kitchen tables. While for others, it entails facemasks and socially distanced bus rides and classrooms. The needs of our hybrid-learning students are varied, and there are resources available that can help.
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), the official financial relief society for the Coast Guard, offers several support educational programs—two specifically in response to COVID-19 adjustments.
“If you stacked all the tablets and computers that CGMA has purchased for Coast Guard families on top of each other, it would be higher than the Statue of Liberty,” said retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Cari Thomas, chief executive officer of CGMA.
“This year so far, we provided $3.29 million dollars for almost 4,800 Coast Guard families in need of educational supplies because of COVID-19 alone,” she said.
COVID-19 specific support:
- The Supplemental Education Grant, COVID-19 (SEG-C) offers families, with children up to the 12th grade, $500 dollars to cover expenses specifically associated with at-home and virtual learning, like school supplies, computer equipment and related devices. (Receipts dated before 31 Oct 2020)
- In-person tutoring services provides a one-time grant up to $1,000 for parents who decide to hire a tutor for their dependents throughout the school semester. COVID-19 assistance is available to the entire Coast Guard community including: active duty, reserves, retirees, civilian employees and auxiliarists.
These specific, pandemic-relief resources are available only through next month (deadline for applications is 1 DEC). However, Coast Guard families may be eligible to receive both of these short-term resources in addition to the usual ones.
Beyond the pandemic-related support, “we have other long-term educational support services,” explained Erica Chapman, education services specialist at CGMA. She said their overall educational response spiked this year. “So many families were impacted by an unusual school year, and we were glad to be able to make a difference as they navigated challenges for their children,” she explained “And we don’t want them to forget the education programs that are always available.”
The long-term education services include:
- The Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) provides support for expenses of books, study guides, fees and costs directly related to the course of study. This grant is for the degree-seeking student, or those enrolled in a VoTech, or a general equivalency diploma program. It provides $500 per family.
- The Education Loan Program provides recipients who are working toward a degree, or in a VoTech program, up to $3,000 in an interest-free loan, per student—meaning multiple students within one Coast Guard family may be eligible.
“This is a great resource for people who have exhausted their tuition assistance for the year. CGMA is not trying to replace education loans but providing a little bit extra cushion towards tuition and other expenses, like for books or for parking,” said Chapman. The program is also “cyclical,” as she puts it. That means that as you pay off the loan, you are eligible to reapply.
- Access to 24/7 online tutoring services through Tutor.com/military. Tutoring is conducted by vetted tutors in more than 60 subject areas for students in grade school through college.
- The Stafford/PLUS Loan Fee Reimbursement Program offers reimbursements on percentage fees that are charged to those who have taken out Stafford or PLUS education loans. The percentage of fees vary.
If you are interested in applying for any CGMA Educational support services, you must submit your application to your CGMA representative for your location. Both the applications and representatives can be found here. You can also check out resources and updates by visiting their social media pages @cgmutualassist. Email CGMA if you have questions.