Coast Guard to Cut Tuition Assistance Payment Rates

November 21, 2013 | Terry Howell

The Coast Guard announced that they are reinstating the pre-2001 75/25 cost-share based Tuition Assistance Program for Fiscal Year 2014.

The new 2014 tuition assistance policy will mark the return of the pre-2002 75% coverage formula for tuition assistance. Coast Guardsmen will now have to pay at least 25% of their tuition out-of-pocket. In addition, the Coast Guard will only cover up to $187.50 per credit hour – the member will be responsible for paying any balance above this amount.

Under the new (old) policy, the FY2014 annual per member tuition assistance limit will be set at $2,250, which is a 50% cut from the previous year’s annual tuition cap.

The Coast Guard ‘All Hands’ blog offered the following statement:

“The Coast Guard is committed to supporting its members’ personal and professional educational goals,” said Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Force Readiness Command. “Any changes to the Tuition Assistance Program were made in the best interest of our personnel and mission execution within the constraints of an ever-tightening budget environment.”

Earlier this year the Coast Guard restricted eligibility to junior enlisted active duty members. This new policy reopens tuition assistance to the active duty force, but with “a focus” on serving the education needs of its enlisted and prior-enlisted officers.

To qualify, members will be required to maintain good conduct, satisfactory progress toward watch station qualifications and sufficiency in their rating proficiency.

The Coast Guard also announced that tuition assistance benefits will no longer be extended to civilian employees, Coast Guard Reservists in a drilling status. This officially brings the “Team Coast Guard” focus which allowed reserve and civilians to access to Coast Guard education benefits. Those active duty Coast Guardsmen pursuing a graduate degree or another degree at the same level which they already possess will also be excluded from the tuition assistance program in FY2014.

This new policy will be in place from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014. Read the full story on the Coast Guard’s ‘All Hands’ official blog.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for, 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.


  1. All he is doing is hurting the Coast Guard……..he sure ain't helping them. So much for education being important!!!!

    • Seriously, this is the way it was when I was in. Still a great deal… Between CLEP, TA, CG Institute, CG A School, C schools…and a couple of years of night school at the local community college, I got my bachelors degree fairly inexpensively. Then, when I retired, I still had MGIB which I had never touched. There is no free lunch.

    • jason frank says:
  2. Without TA we wouldn't have gotten our degrees…active duty spouse had no GI bill (his youthful mistake) he used CLEP and C schools to get associates, but we paid dearly for his bachelors degree….as a reservist I used a combo of Clep tests TA and my GI bill. I waited every yr for the new TA $ to become available so it took a bit longer, but I also got my bachelors degree. We are both very grateful that we took advantage of the educational programs. We are deeply saddened that our fellow Coasties won't have the same financial benefits. My military family continues to be hurt by these cut-backs. I know that what the government gives us they can take away…but really they are hurting themselves in the long run.

  3. Wayne Chamberlain says:
  4. Kurt Utich says:

    The USCG is a unique entity, that seems to get the worst of any cuts. Unfortunately it's. Size is what makes it any easy target . The CG has always had the smallest bases with the fewest support facilities, yet they still get the hardest hits. I am from Michigan where the CG does an exceptional job covering everything from ice rescues to drug interdiction. No other branch keeps guard on our shores on a daily 24/7 basis. Funding the tuition assistance program is one of the very few perks the CG has to help keep the motivated enlisted personnel engaged on there off time and pursuing advancement opportunities within the CG. The best and brightest are what make the CG force such a remarkable entity. I am an Army retiree who has had the opportunity to see these guys inaction.

  5. It is sad to know that these cuts are now the law of the land, I am happy that it is not 100% but it is still a heavy hit. The USCG has few exchanges and no real commissaries that I know of, we don't have offices for CLEP and DANTES exams and few bases even have a full time education department, yet almost all the O-4 officers will have the opportunity to attend graduate school…..not worth getting upset about this, just the way it is sometimes.

  6. If people would quit using the for profit colleges to get their degrees, they would actually find that not all colleges charge the maximum ($250/credit) they can to military for tuition. But now many are locked in to these colleges to finish their degrees because their college credits won't transfer to any other school. As an ESO for over 10 years, I saw this and tried to steer them to local community colleges and other online schools.
    Also, with many colleges accepting military experience for credit and if they take advantage of CLEPS and DANTES testing, they can complete their degree with less actual cost for classes. Most members don't take advantage of this (and saying that they don't have it on base is a cop out). Having to work a little for your degree makes you appreciate it even more. It is just a matter of how important it is to you.
    And I agree with those already having a degree not getting TA (this includes the from CGA). I also think you shouldn't get to use TA until you are past your initial enlistment. Most are also forgetting everyone has the GI Bill that can supplement TA to pay for tuition. If you look at the use of TA when it went to 100%, it grew exponentially every year. That was just not sustainable in these budget crunching times. It was a nice ride while it lasted.

  7. Good example of how our nation is using our military members to fix budget problems that were created because our leaders decided to get involved in a multi target war that has take years now to accomplish our objectives. Now here is the CG with the only full time responsibilities to protect our shores of any of the services and yet they are the first to be picked on. Our leaders are failing to follow through on promises made earlier. It is especially irritating that even the reservist are being picked on. So what happen to the One CG Force mentality that started almost twenty years ago?

  8. Michael Collins says:

    This decision makes sense only to a Ivy League number cruncher. I don't believe RADM Buschman really understands the motivations or needs of the workforce. I am a retired enlisted with graduate degrees and if it weren't for the TA program would not have stayed with the Coast Guard. Expect a lot of attrition from this ill advised move.

  9. Wow, so many kids (like my son) join the Coast Guard Reserve with the expectaion they would receive tuition assistance. It has now been eliminated. I love the Guard and appreciate what they do, but come on. If you want to cut, how about cutting on the capital expenses (i.e. newest toys, like cutters and other boats that are not needed, as well as all of the other waste…you know what I mean). Now my son will still serve another 3 years on Reserve and never get a penny for schooling (which he was promised when he joined), but I guess that's the "education first" in America!

  10. The CG made a change to it's TA policy. The CG lifted it's 6 credit per fiscal quarter cap and is allowing those pursuing their first Masters degree to receive TA. Unfortunately they have not raised the annual limit. One can only hope!