My Coast Guard
Commentary | Oct. 6, 2021

Tuition assistance guidance for 2022

By MyCG Staff

Tuition assistance (TA) has helped many members – active duty and reserve alike – achieve their higher education goals. The FY22 Coast Guard Tuition Assistance (TA) ALCOAST announced the policies and eligibility criteria for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) effective Oct. 1, 202. 

Active duty military and reserve members affiliated with the Selected Reserves (SELRES) are authorized to use TA. In accordance with the Reserve Duty Status and Participation Manual COMDTINST M1001.2, members of SELRES must be drilling reservists with satisfactory progress in the current anniversary year and have met the participation standards for the previous anniversary year.

How to use TA

You are authorized to use TA for courses leading to your first certificate, associates degree, bachelor’s degree, and master's degree. You are not authorized to use TA in order to pursue additional degrees at the same or lower level regardless of how they received their first degree. For example, if you have earned a bachelor’s degree, you can use TA to pursue your master’s degree. 

However, you cannot use TA to pursue a second bachelor’s degree or an associates degree. These include degrees that were obtained at a service academy, through the Coast Guard advanced education program, via grants or loans, VA benefits, or paid for out of the your own pocket. If you are pursuing a degree above a master’s degree, TA is not authorized in this manner. This includes pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD), doctoral degrees (PhD), and similar terminal degrees.

Funding

The Coast Guard will fund tuition cost up to $250.00 per semester hour, $166.67 per quarter hour, or $16.67 per clock hour. The annual cap for reimbursement of TA is $3,750.00 per member. 

You can find other Coast Guard sources of funding and reimbursement programs for education on the Education and Training Quota Management Command (ETQC) public-facing website.

The Coast Guard Foundation Education Grant (CGFEG) is the only grant ETQC administers. For non-Coast Guard (federal and state) sources for need-based or merit-based financial aid – including Pell grants, scholarships, and loans – visit the federal student aid website.

Federal student aid loans obtained by Coast Guard members for the purpose of funding their education will not be considered as a duplication of benefit and not subtracted when calculating the use of TA.

Authorized programs

You can use your TA benefits to pursue a certificate so long as your highest level of education is a bachelor’s degree. If you have an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or no degree, you may use TA to pursue your first certificate, at any academic level; however if you hold a master's degree, or higher, you are not authorized to use TA to pursue a certificate. 

Earning a certificate does not preclude you from using TA, as authorized, for degrees; however, you should be aware of your lifetime credit hour limits. Certificates earned from completing course requirements, as part of a degree program and indicated on a your degree plan, does not count toward the first certificate.

You can also use TA for an associates degree to master's degree bridge programs. However, if you earn a master's degree in this manner, you cannot use TA to pursue a bachelor's degree, or any lower level academic degree. For more guidance, you are encouraged to speak with your education services officer (ESO) prior to enrolling in this type of program.

If you have an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, master's degree, or no degree, you may use TA to pursue two cultural immersion or language classes when assigned out of country (OCONUS).

TA is not authorized for any fees. Any other college expense not listed as tuition is considered a fee (e.g. lab, graduation, internet usage, etc.). 

The application process

Complete your TA application – to include your degree plan, points for drilling reservist, and command approved – and make sure ETQC has your application no less than 14 day before your class start date. Do not include the date of submission to ETQC or the class start date within the 14-day calculation. There are no exceptions or waivers to this policy. If you self-identify as being eligible for TA and begin a class without an approved TA authorization from ETQC, you will be solely responsible for all costs incurred for the course(s). This timeline is necessary to ensure everyone requesting TA receives an approved TA authorization prior to the start of a course as required by Voluntary Education Programs, DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.25D and in order to ensure schools are meeting the intent of Presidential Executive Order 13607.

Schools authorized to receive TA funding must participate and have a signed MOU with the Department of Defense (DoD). Find the authorized school list here.

It is your responsibility to establish a plan to successfully complete your certificate or degree requirements. It is strongly encouraged to engage your local ESO to assist with this plan. Additionally, you are encouraged to submit you Joint Service Transcript (JST) to your academic institution. The JST translates your military experience into academic credits that have the potential to reduce the number of credits required to complete your certificate or degree program. A copy of your JST can be submitted electronically to your institution by visiting their website

Mandatory degree plans are required after the completion of a second course or six semester hours using TA. Mandatory academic certificate plans are required before enrolling in and attending the first course within a certificate program funded with TA. If you have not uploaded a degree plan in the MyCG Ed portal after the second course or prior to the start of certificate program, TA will not be authorized until this requirement is met. In order to be eligible for TA, you must have a legible certificate or degree plan that is in a PDF format and clearly lists the academic institution, your printed name, and degree or certificate level. The degree or certificate plan must also list all courses required to complete the academic program. Courses not listed on an approved degree or certificate plan are not eligible for TA and ETQC will not be authorize the TA request. ESOs must validate all degree plans by prior to approving the TA application. Degree or certificate plans can typically be found on your student portal page. See the ETQC portal page for specific instructions on uploading degree plans.

As a reservists using TA, you must upload you most recent point statement to the MyCG Ed portal, prior to submitting you TA application. ETQC will use point statements to verify compliance with participation standards for the current and previous anniversary year.

Command/Unit responsibilities

Units are strongly encouraged to build sufficient timelines to ensure applications are completed, degree or certificate plans are uploaded, and member receives command approval well in advance of the class start date. Additionally, units are also strongly encouraged to have at least one alternate ESO, designated in writing, to ensure no single point of failure exists which could prevent the timely approval of TA applications at the unit level.

After completion of a degree or certificate program, you will need to send an official copy of your college transcript to ETQC, in accordance with the FY21 Coast Guard Tuition Assistance (TA) Policy ACN 112/20. Official transcripts must list the type of degree, the date of degree/certificate, and the date of completion/conferment. You will need to send a paper copy in a sealed envelope from the degree-granting academic institution to: 

USCG ETQC
Registrar's Office 300 E. Main Street, STE 1201, 
Norfolk, VA 23510

Or email your transcript securely to ETQC-SMB-RO@uscg.mil.

Reimbursement

You will be required to reimburse any approved TA if you do not successfully complete the course(s). For the purpose of reimbursement, a successful course completion is defined as a grade of a C or higher for undergraduate courses, a B or higher for graduate courses, and a pass for pass/fail grades. 

Lifetime credit hour limits

Lifetime credit hour limits for TA are as follows: 

  • 130 semester hours for undergraduate work (or quarter/clock hours equivalent);
  • 40 semester hours for graduate work. 

Once you have reached your credit hour limits, TA will no longer be authorized regardless if you have obtained a degree or certificate. Coast Guard members may only use TA to fund one vocational/technical program that awards in clock hours.

Afloat Education Program

Deployable units engaging in the Afloat Education Program with an embarked instructor are reminded to follow the guidelines outlined in Article 11.G of Performance, Training, and Education Manual, COMDTINST M1500.10. Commands are reminded to refrain from editing the MOU template posted on ETQC's website to meet their unique needs. Any deviation should be vetted through ETQC for approval prior to starting the course(s).

Eligibility 

Commanding officers, officers in charge, or the first O-6/GS-15 in the chain-of-command will ensure members meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Satisfactory progress toward completion of unit quals,
  • Satisfactory progress toward watch station quals,
  • Satisfactory proficiency of craft,
  • Satisfactory conduct during the six months prior, and
  • Satisfactory progress towards participation standards if member is SELRES.

TA approval authority can be delegated to the local ESO but must not be delegated below GS-9 or E-7 paygrades.

All additional eligibility constraints and requirements listed in Performance, Training, and Education Manual, COMDTINST M1500.10 not addressed in ALCOAST 359/21 still apply.

It is highly encourages that you seek ESO guidance before deciding which college or university to attend in order to maximize your military training, credits-by-exam, and provides the best value for tuition dollars. ESOs can also help identify other sources of funding, if desired.

Questions should be directed to Chief Petty Officer Michelle Bradt, ETQC, (757) 756-5304 or email ETQC-SMB-TAG@uscg.mil.

Resources

  • FY22 Coast Guard Tuition Assistance (TA) Policy ALCOAST 359/21
  • Find the authorized school list that has MOU with  here.
  • Joint Service Transcript (JST) website
  • Federal student aid website.
  • Reserve Duty Status and Participation Manual COMDTINST M1001.2
  • FY21 Coast Guard Tuition Assistance (TA) Policy ACN 112/20