For Coast Guard members who are pursuing or who are interested in pursuing higher education, this message is for you.
As the Commandant announced in his State of the Coast Guard address, changes are being implemented in the Coast Guard's tuition assistance (TA) program, supporting professional development and life-long learning through education.
What are the changes?
There are major changes coming to the TA program:
- TA annual cap has increased by 20%
- You may use TA for courses leading to a second academic certificate or a second undergraduate degree
- Beginning summer 2022, Coast Guard civilians will be able to use TA. Exact date to be determined.
“These changes are very exciting,” said Steve Keck, the Coast Guard’s, FORCECOM Career Investment Division chief. “With these changes, we do, in fact have the largest budget ever for TA, going back to where we were a decade ago. And this time, civilians are eligible to use TA, which has not been the case in the recent past.”
TA increase, degree change
Prior to these changes, TA was capped at $3,750 annually for each participant. This cap has now increased to $4,500 annually. If you have reached the previous TA cap of $3,750 during fiscal year 2022 and would like to take additional classes this year, you should contact your education services officer (ESO) or the Education and Training Quota Management Command (ETQC). Please keep in mind the Coast Guard will not be able to reimburse you for any classes that you have already paid for.
Another significant change is that TA will now pay for courses toward a second academic certificate or second undergraduate degree, regardless of how you earned the first one. Please keep in mind this does not apply for a second graduate degree – master's nor doctorate. However, you can use TA toward your first graduate degree.
The system the Coast Guard uses to process TA transactions (MyCGEd) requires updates to support the recent changes. Once completed – the service anticipates summer 2022 – more TA policy changes are expected to take place. The first change is lifting the TA annual semester-hour cap of 15 semester hours or quarter/clock hour equivalent. The TA annual cap of $4,500 is what will determine the maximum number of classes you can take. Although the $250 per semester hour cap remains, you may take more than 18 semester hours per year if the courses you select are less than $250 per semester hour.
With a focus on lifelong learning, the second change is lifting the TA lifetime caps, which were previously 130 semester hours for undergraduate work and 40 semester hours for graduate work.
Also expected this summer, civilian Coast Guard members will be eligible to use TA as reference in the Performance, Training, and Education Manual.
Keck says members can expect these changes to be permanent since they are being worked into the budget.
“Congress has listened to our senior leaders,” he said. “Dual [undergraduate] degrees are now allowed, civilians will be using TA, and some lifetime caps are being completely lifted. These are exciting times for sure.”
Members should keep in mind that you should continue to talk with your command and supervisors when pursuing additional professional development and higher education. Your command has the ability to limit the number of courses members take due to operations, first time TA users, or if your grades are below average.
“Education remains one of the top reasons why people join the military,” Keck said. “With the Coast Guard’s commitment to lifelong learning, we’re excited about the expansion of important education and professional development programs such as TA, credentialing assistance (CA), and the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP). Collectively, these programs improve Coast Guard readiness right now. With thousands of participants working on apprenticeships and earning degrees, certificates, licenses, and credentials, the enhanced critical thinking skills, subject matter expertise, improved time management and project management skills, resiliency, and confidence gained will undoubtedly make us a stronger Coast Guard team. At the same time, these programs enable members to chart the course for their future aspirations.”
For more information and to submit TA applications, please visit the MyCGEd portal.
If you have any questions regarding TA, please contact your ESO. All ESOs who have questions, please email Chief Warrant Officer Jaimee Richter, ETQC, or call at (757) 756-5338.
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Tuition assistance guidance for 2022