Coast Guardsmen pursuing degrees can take advantage of up to $4,500 in tuition assistance for the rest of this year, nearly doubling the previous $2,500 cap.
Those members are still responsible for 25 percent of their fees, so the service will chip in $3,375 toward the new cap, according to a recent servicewide message.
A drop in TA usage during fiscal 2014 prompted the service to increase the assistance cap. The service will continue to monitor TA usage and make changes to the policy as the year unfolds, the message said.
The fiscal 2014 budget includes only $7.8 million, down from $12 million in 2013, because of a cut in the service’s training and education budget. However, because of the drop in usage, the service in January was able to open up TA to those seeking their first master’s degree.
The Coast Guard has paid out about $2.5 million to more than 2,600 members in fiscal 2014 so far. The leftover TA money could have been reallocated to other parts of the training and education budget, Force Readiness Command spokeswoman Lt. Heather Bacon-Shone told Navy Times, but the service thought TA was the best place for it.
“We have been carefully monitoring spending rates, and recently determined that sufficient money was available within the original TA budget to fund a certain amount of expansion,” she said.
Full details on the TA expansion are available in ALCOAST 148/14. For information on additional funding sources, including grants, scholarships and the GI Bill, visit the Coast Guard Institute’s website, www.uscg.mil/hq/cg1/cgi/.