Coast Guard Tuition Assistance (TA)
The Tuition Assistance (TA) Program, a Department of Defense (DoD) education financial assistance initiative, is available to all Coast Guard members--both active duty and reserve--for those wanting to further their post-secondary education during their off-duty time. Doing so allows them to work toward their professional and personal self-development goals while serving their country--a win-win for all parties involved.
Even though the Coast Guard technically falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it follows the same basic TA tenets as the service branches falling under the DoD. While the DoD administers the tuition assistance program, they have given each branch the latitude to develop its own rules and application procedures.
Coast Guard Tuition Assistance Guidelines
Using the DoD guidelines, the Coast Guard Tuition Assistance Program pays 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees up to $250 per semester credit hour or $166.67 per quarter credit hour.
Individual Coast Guard TA users are subject to an annual fiscal year funding cap (1 October to 30 September) established by the Coast Guard Commandant. While the cap may be less than the DoD standard of $4,500 per fiscal year, it cannot exceed it.
The Tuition Top-Up program may be used to pay for tuition exceeding Coast Guard TA program limits. Top-Up costs are paid from GI Bill entitlements of Coast Guard members who have a qualifying GI Bill, including the:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
- Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
The Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) may not be used to pay Tuition Top-Up costs.
Courses taken must be through a school having a nationally or regionally-recognized accreditation. Coast Guard members are limited to education programs resulting in either a high school diploma or equivalency, or college courses earning credit toward a stated educational goal, including:
- developmental courses
- undergraduate programs
- graduate programs
Coast Guard Tuition Assistance funds high school completion courses at the 100 percent level, while other courses are subject to program limits. Undergraduate programs require a minimum grade of D before the course counts toward an educational goal; graduate courses require at least a B.
Tuition assistance for Coast Guard members will not fund:
- certification preparatory courses
- certification courses or
- licenses, including a Captain's or Pilot's license
Coast Guard TA Program Eligibility Requirements
Tuition Assistance is available to all active duty and drilling Coast Guard Reserve members, along with funded civilian employees and Public Health Service members working for the Coast Guard. Enlisted members must complete their TA-funded course before reaching the end of their enlistment or reenlist before starting a Coast Guard TA-funded course. Coast Guard Reserve officers incur a 48-month obligation when using tuition assistance.
Tuition Assistance Application Procedures
Courses taken may either be on campus or via a distance learning program. Coast Guard servicemembers at sea are authorized to use the Navy's WebTA program to manage the use of their TA. Before using WebTA, users must create a Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) account.
To apply for the Tuition Assistance Program, Coast Guard members must go through their station or base Education Services Officer (ESO). The application process entails:
- Consulting with an ESO to locate qualifying courses or programs
- Verifying the institution's accreditation
- Verifying that service obligation time-lines are met, or the servicemember must reenlist
- Completing CG Form 4187 Coast Guard TA application
- Reading and signing the Statement of Understanding
- Having an ESO verify CG Form 4187 and signit
- Retaining a copy of CG Form 4187 for personal records
- Submitting a grade report upon course or program completion
Once TA funding is approved, the servicemember will get back a CG Form 1560 which is needed by the school when registering for TA-funded classes. If a servicemember is using multiple sources of financial aid funding, TA funding will be calculated on the remaining amount after the other financial aid sources have paid.
Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement
Undergraduate students using TA, who have less than a 2.0 GPA for the previous 12 semester hours or graduate students with less than a 3.0 GPA, will not be authorized for further TA funding until their respective GPAs are up to the minimum requirements.