TA Returns for Some Coast Guard Members

April 25, 2013 | Terry Howell

The U.S. Coast Guard announced that tuition assistance is reinstated for the remainder of Fiscal 2013, which ends September 31, 2013. However, the Coast Guard made some significant changes to the eligibility requirements that will impact chief petty officers and officers.

Under the new policy active duty Coast Guardsman E-6 and above and drilling Coast Guard reservists will no longer be eligible to use TA. Activated reserve members E-6 and below will be able to use TA. In addition, TA may no longer be used for post-graduate studies and eligible members will only be allowed to take up to 6 credit hours per fiscal quarter.

According to ALCOAST 175/13 (below), the Coast Guard has yet to determine if the new eligibility requirements will carry over into FY2014.

The official ALCOAST message:

UNCLAS //N01560//

ALCOAST 175/13

COMDTNOTE 1560

SUBJ: RESUMPTION OF COAST GUARD TUITION ASSISTANCE (TA) FUNDING A. Performance, Training, and Education Manual, COMDTINST M1500.10 (series) B. COMDT COGARD Washington DC 090550ZMAR 13 / ALCOAST 099/13 1. Tuition Assistance (TA) funding has resumed for the remainder of FY13, with new eligibility and internal controls.

2. In addition to the criteria described in Ref (A), the following additional eligibility constraints apply:

A.  Active Duty,

B.  E-6 or below at the beginning of the academic course,

C.  Undergraduate courses only, and

D.  Limited to six credit hours per fiscal quarter per member.

The limit of six credit hours applies to course start dates (i.e., 6 credit hours for courses starting between 1 April 2013 and 30 June

2013 and 6 credit hours for courses starting next quarter from 1 July

2013 to 30 September 2013).

E.  TA is not available for Reservists in a drilling status.  TA is available for Reservists on long-term ADOS or EAD that meet the rest of the criteria.

3. Commands shall apply the following additional controls to ensure members meet the following criteria before approving TA:

A.  Satisfactory progress toward completion of unit qualifications,

B.  Satisfactory progress toward watch station qualifications,

C.  Satisfactory proficiency of craft, and

D.  Satisfactory conduct during the previous six months prior to TA application.

4. COs, OICs or first O-6/GS-15 in the chain-of-command are expected to ensure individuals meet the newly imposed eligibility criteria. TA approval shall not be delegated below the Executive Officer, Executive Petty Officer, or Deputy level.

5.  The pre-sequestration credit hour limit of 250 dollars and 4500 dollar annual cap and all other policies found in Ref (A) remain in effect for the remainder of FY13 for those that meet the revised eligibility requirements.

6. Effective the Date-Time Group (DTG) of this message, the Coast Guard Institute (CGI) is accepting TA applications based on these new eligibility criteria and internal controls for future courses.

Applications that were submitted after the DTG of Ref (B) have been removed from the queue and must be resubmitted under these revised eligibility and internal control measures. TA is not available retroactively to cover courses taken during the suspension of TA as directed in Ref (B). Members are reminded that TA is not approved until they have received TA Authorization, Form CGI-1560, from the CGI. Members should take care when registering for courses to ensure they have alternate means of payment unless they have an approved Form CGI-1560 from CGI.

7. Policy for TA based on available funding beyond FY13 is under development and will be released later this year.

8. For field level questions please refer to your local ESO.

Questions from unit ESOs should be directed to CWO4 Tex Collier (CGI) at (405) 954-7233, email Devale.J.Collier(at)uscg.mil. Commanding Officers and Officers-in-Charge may direct questions to the Voluntary Education Program Manager, Mr. David Padley (FC-Tepd) at (202) 475-5475, email David.M.Padley(at)uscg.mil.

9. RADM S. E. Mehling, Commander, Force Readiness Command, sends.

10. Internet release authorized.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. K johnson says:

    As a Drilling Reserve this is BS….. Way to go CG !!! Funny the CG recommends that junior PO and non rates work on promotion, then school once CPO is obtained since school has NO bearing on advancement.
    As a E-5 to Officer guy, I’m semi stuck with 80 credit hours unless I pay out of pocket, for our promotions education is counted but how fair is that when I have ZERO support from the source requiring it ???

    • tlawrenceva says:

      I know. It's a bitter pill to swallow. Civilian employees in the CG used to be able to apply for TA, but no longer. Your choices look like they are to either volunteer for active duty (where there are pretty much NO avail billets) or use your GI bill benefits. So it's not a total loss…..

  2. AFPerling says:

    How is it not a total loss?

    Consider the thousands of dollars of lost benefits a Reservist will experience for using their GI Bill early before reaching their full entitlement… an AD member is able to use TA and leave their GI Bill alone until after their first enlistment. Then its even more money for school. But Reservists and AD members are expected to train, deploy, and perform to the same standard, and advance at nearly the same rate. So why should the opportunity for an AD member be any more than a Reservist to reach those goals?

    Perhaps put a restriction on it… as an example, Reservists cannot use TA until they have 3 years of service. But to cut it entirely is just ludicrous.