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Impact Report: Support for Coast Guard Member Education and Training

Kennedy for the web
Jen Fyke Web
by Jennifer Crowley Fyke
July 19, 2022

The Coast Guard has a robust training system to ensure members are prepared to accomplish their important duties in support of the nation. In addition, tuition and credentialing assistance programs help members pay for education and training by providing a limited amount of funding each year to help pay for college courses and professional certification classes.

The Coast Guard Foundation provides grants to enlisted Coast Guard members to help fill the gap between Coast Guard funding and the cost of classes so they can improve their work-related skills.

Members can use the $500 grant to fund tuition and fees for college courses, as well as professional training such as earning a mariner license or EMT certification. This support helps prepare Coast Guard members to better fulfill their duties and advance during their Coast Guard service, as well as equip them for employment when their Coast Guard time ends.

In 2021–2022, 119 grants were issued totaling more than $48,000 in support. Coast Guard members used their grants to fund a full range of activities, including college tuition, professional course fees, and investment in technology to complete their coursework, including laptops and tablets for distance learning and classroom assignments.

One Coast Guard member, a marine science technician stationed at Sector San Francisco, is taking classes to earn his bachelor’s degree. He used the grant funds to purchase a laptop. “I work over an hour away from my home and typically stay late to complete my schoolwork,” shared Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas. “The time away from my family is tough. With the Coast Guard Foundation grant I purchased a laptop and now I can do schoolwork from home and spend more time with my family.”

“I am honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Coast Guard Foundation grant,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Wylie Swanson. “Thanks to your generosity, I have continued to take courses in pursuit of my degree in aerospace technology management. This degree will aid me in serving the community through my Coast Guard career.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrik Bernasek, a marine science technician stationed in Hawaii but enrolled in online classes at a university in Florida, used a Vice Admiral William Freeland Rea III Marine Safety Education grant to purchase a new tablet and stylus to replace his aging computer.

“Thank you very much for this grant from the Rea Education Fund,” noted Bernasek. “I have been using an 11-year-old laptop that is dysfunctional most of the time to complete online coursework. This new iPad makes school much easier, especially since most meetings and activities are conducted on Zoom. The seamless front-facing camera and microphone have solved most of the technical difficulties. I am very excited and grateful for support.”

Key Supporters: The Coast Guard Foundation thanks First Command Financial Services, Kislak Family Foundation, and the VADM William Freeland Rea, III Marine Safety Education Endowment for their investment in the enlisted education grant program.

2022 enlisted grant season: the 2022 Coast Guard Foundation enlisted grant application season will open on September 1, 2022, and applications will be processed as funds remain available, with a goal of awarding $50,000 in grants across all programs.