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Coast Guard opens TA funds to civilians

Sep. 25, 2013 - 03:34PM   |  
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The Coast Guard is opening up tuition assistance money to civilians after receiving “lower than anticipated” usage this year from active-duty Coast Guardsmen and reservists.

Civilians have to apply by noon Sept. 30, the last day of fiscal 2013. The TA picture for 2014 remains unclear and this offer may not last, the Coast Guard reports in ALCOAST 401/13, released Tuesday.

“TA funding is anticipated to remain volatile and members should plan accordingly when starting/continuing a degree program,” the message states.

Civilians can only enroll in classes with start dates no later than Oct. 15. Visit your local education services officer for more information.

Before this message, TA was only available to active-duty Coast Guardsmen and reservists on long-term active-duty orders of more than 180 days.

The Coast Guard temporarily canceled its TA program in March in the wake of budget cuts, as did the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. The services were compelled by Congress, however, to quickly reinstate it.

This is the second time the Coast Guard has broadened eligibility criteria. In August, the service opened it up for all ranks and degree levels.

Prior to that, the program was offered only to Coast Guardsmen in paygrades E-6 and below, and only for undergraduate courses.

But officials now say there is enough funding for the fiscal year to expand eligibility to E-7s and above, officers and those reservists who are on long-term active-duty orders of more than 180 days. They also expanded eligibility to include graduate degrees.

Coast Guardsmen can earn up to $250 per credit hour with a $4,500 annual cap.

The Coast Guard averages about 10,000 TA users per year and in the spring had logged about 7,000 participants.

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