Reservist

ISS2 2013

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Deckplate Soundings Master Chief Mark H. Allen, Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief s the proverbial glass half empty or half full? When it comes to Coast Guard Reserve educational benefits, the glass is nearly full. Yet, reservists regularly ask me why Tuition Assistance (TA) has been reinstated for only certain members. They also express concern that reservists who have become dependent on TA will be unable to continue their education. As you likely know, the Coast Guard has reinstated TA, which had been suspended due to sequestration. You may not know that the Coast Guard Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) receive monies for TA from separate funding streams, and that those streams are spent at different rates. The Reserve has less TA funding left for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013 than does the AC. The RC does have enough funding left to cover TA for reservists on long-term orders but not enough for all reservists. Here's the tradeoff: to accommodate the 12 percent of reservists who use TA (FY12 data), the question becomes, which other RC expenditure should we cut or end? For example, should we reduce the size of the Reserve, or reduce number of drills or annual training (AT) days to pay for reinstating TA for all reservists? As Vice Admiral Parker and Vice Admiral Zukunft note in The View from the Bridge, "a well-prepared Reserve Component will prove crucial when our service and nation require an agile response to unimaginable catastrophes which eclipse our deliberate planning capabilities." Given this reality we must remain focused on personal readiness, obtaining and maintaining competency and proficiency, and being ready to mobilize in support of Coast Guard operations. The Master Chief of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) Mike Leavitt has advised Gold Badge Command Master Chiefs, "Many believe that Tuition Assistance is an entitlement but it's not, it is a benefit." The MCPOCG has further stated in the Navy Times, "We recognize that Tuition Assistance is an important benefit for the professional and personal growth of our active duty, reserve and civilian members. . . . sequestration impacts virtually all federal agencies and programs and each agency, including the Coast Guard, must make tough decisions based on their individual operational and personnel needs. Our goals are to preserve the Coast Guard's ability to conduct its most critical mission activities; mitigate impacts to our workforce; avoid long term impacts and mitigate major disruptions to maintenance activities, workforce training, and operational proficiency." ALCOAST 175/13 reinstated TA for AC members and for RC members on long-term orders (ADOS and EAD), but not for reservists in a drilling status. ALCOAST 257/13 added RC members on involuntary Title 10 orders to the eligibility criteria. TA remains available to only members E-6 and below and only for undergraduate study. I strongly encourage you to review these messages and to engage your Education Services Officer (ESO) with any questions about how the new guidance affects you. I So what about this glass that is nearly full? Our robust set of Coast Guard Reserve educational benefits includes the Post 9/11 GI Bill; Coast Guard Mutual Assistance grants and loans; Coast Guard Reserve National Awards and Scholarships; Coast Guard Foundation scholarships and grants; and various Military Service Organizations' scholarships. Also available are Federal Student Aid grants, loans, and scholarships for military members and their families. For military members, the application is on line at www.fafsa.gov; there is no age limit; and, there is no application fee. For military families (www.studentaid.gov/military), the offer includes Federal grants, loans, and work-study. An overview of Coast Guard Reserve educational benefits appears in the Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor training available in the Coast Guard Learning Management System (https:// elearning.uscg.mil; search for "SERA"). Additional resource links are provided below. Again, be sure to consult your unit ESO for more information or assistance with applications. So, are you thirsty for more education? Then take a big gulp of your Coast Guard Reserve educational benefits, as the glass truly is nearly full. Education benefts available to reservists: Post 9/11 GI Bill www.uscg.mil/reserve/docs/member_resources/ Education/Chapter_33_Update_SEP2010.pdf http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/index.html Coast Guard Mutual Assistance www.cgmahq.org/Assistance/Programs/edu.html Stafford/PLUS Loan Fee Reimbursement Supplemental Education Grants (SEG) Education Loan Program Coast Guard Reserve national Awards and Scholarships Guidance www.uscg.mil/reserve/awards/ Coast Guard Foundation Scholarships and Grants www.coastguardfoundation.org/how/scholarships Military Service Organizations: The Military Coalition www.themilitarycoalition.org/members.htm Issue 2 • 2013 � RESERVIST 7

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