One of the benefits of joining the military is the opportunity to have the military pay for all or most of the enlistee's college bill. Usually this involves a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) enrollment while in college. Although the United States Coast Guard does not offer a ROTC program, there are several opportunities for scholarships and grants. Most involve a commitment for enlistment in the Coast Guard, but others are available to dependents of active-duty or retired Coast Guard personnel.
Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)
While there is no official Coast Guard ROTC program, they do offer something very similar - the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI). Under this program, college sophomores can receive enlistment level (E-3) pay, as well as scholarships for their last two years of college. Upon graduation, CSPI enlistees can attend Officer Candidacy School (OCS) and receive a commission as an ensign upon completion of OCS. To be eligible for this program, students must complete Coast Guard basic training, attend a school with at least 25 percent minority student enrollment (although they do not have to be minorities themselves), have scored at least a 1000 on their SAT or a 23 on their ACT, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and graduate within 24 months of entering the program. Students must also maintain Coast Guard physical fitness standards and adhere to the riles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. After graduation from college and OCS, CSPI enlistees owe the Coast Guard a three-year active duty commitment.
U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve 877-NOW-USCG, ext. 205 gocoastguard.com
Coast Guard Foundation Grants
With funding from the Coast Guard Foundation and the Vander Putten family, the Coast Guard offers two education grants - the Coast Guard Foundation Education Grant (CGFEG) and the Vander Putten Education Grant (VPEG) to qualified applicants. As of September, 2010, the CGFEG provides up to $350 a year for "text books and miscellaneous educational expenses." It is open to all active duty E-3 to E-9 personnel, or reservists who have been on active duty orders for at least a year. The VPEG acts as as supplemental grant to the CGFEG; as of September, 2010, the VPEG provides up to an additional $500 a year for applicants who have already received the full amount of reimbursement from the CGFEG. The active duty and reservist requirements are the same as the CGFEG.
U.S. Coast Guard Foundation 405-954-0376 uscg.mil
Coast Guard Scholarships
The Coast Guard also provides scholarships in addition to the CSPI, CGFEG, and VPEG. These scholarships include the CG Office of Work Life Scholarship Program, Military Officer Association of America Base/Post Scholarships, Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely Scholarship, and various scholarships for military children.
U.S. Coast Guard - Military Scholarships 202-475-5159 uscg.mil
Adam Johnson has been writing for online publications since 2008 and in his capacity as a Freedom of Information Act professional since 2002. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in international commerce and policy from George Mason University.