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Joining USCG for tuition benefits?
Last Post 06 Sep 2019 11:07 PM by GoodOlReliance. 17 Replies.
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HGliniewicz21User is Offline
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HGliniewicz21

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29 Aug 2019 09:09 PM
    I’ll try to keep it as brief as I possibly can. I am a Junior at the University of Maine, studying Conservation Law Enforcement. Unfortunately, due to financial circumstances, am unable to finish my degree. And yes, I have looked at ALL available options. My only option is to work full-time, and slowly but surely complete my degree (which will be quite a while, and involve a great deal of debt despite it). I did start ROTC my sophomore year, and loved every aspect of it. But being unable to continue through with school, did not put enough time in to be eligible for scholarships. Which is why I’ve turned my interest to USCG, as I want to earn my degree with no debt, and still serve and gain experience. A cousin of mine was in the same boat his Junior year of college, decided to join USCG and served his four years, and is now returning to school to finish his degree at a top-notch college for free, with all the benefits. So I am curious if there are others in similar circumstances, who joined the USCG without the intent of making a career out of it, but as a way to gain experience and help with college? Thanks so much in advance, look forward to hearing all of your responses.
    reiss_pieces11User is Offline
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    reiss_pieces11

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    29 Aug 2019 09:43 PM
    I have heard of many people doing this. I'm not sure if you will like my opinion, but I don't love it when I hear that people are just joining for benefits. The reality though is that many do. I think that if you want to join the military (any branch), you should be doing so because you want to serve your country, volunteer, and/or do good for those around you. That's my personal opinion, but like I said, people do join for benefits.

    I will say… my SO was basically "forced" into the military because his parents said to join or pay rent to live at their house (he decided college wasn't for him). It took him a long time before he actually enjoyed being in the Coast Guard, since he wasn't the one wanting to volunteer and serve initially. Yes, he made the best of it and now wants to do twenty years (*happy emoji*).

    I think you just need to weigh out your options (it does seem like you have quite a bit). Decide if you can enjoy this job and want to do it to help your country (and for benefits). If you're going to be miserable, best to find another option.

    I wish you luck, as I am in college right now and understand how expensive things can be!
    Keep Calm and Love a Coastie!
    CCCSDUser is Offline
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    CCCSD

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    29 Aug 2019 10:51 PM
    I’ll go further: how selfish you are. Will your Shipmates be able to depend on you, or will you be too busy trying to game things for benefits..? You have no desire to serve, just a desire to be given something for free.

    When it’s 0200 and ALL HANDS are called, how much can we expect from you?

    HGliniewicz21User is Offline
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    HGliniewicz21

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    30 Aug 2019 04:51 AM
    I do not see it as being selfish when I have a desire to serve? I did JROTC and continued through with it with the intent to serve, but because I lost that opportunity due financial struggles, still have that desire. And learning from my cousin who had such an incredible experience with it, really sparked my interest. I see it as not only an opportunity to selflessly serve, but also as a second chance for me. Living in a camper, working overtime at a crappy job with no purpose is starting to takes its toll on me. CCCSD, you have no right to make such an assumption. Growing up in a military family, I realize someone going just for the benefits is considered greatly offensive. The post gives the impression, but I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Of course I want to serve. One can both have the desire to serve whilst joining to aid in a change, a porspectively better life.
    HGliniewicz21User is Offline
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    HGliniewicz21

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    30 Aug 2019 05:15 AM
    It also does not surprise me that many join for the benefits. I’ve spoken with many recruiters in different branches of military at my university, and they all focus on the highlights of benefits and how they can help you with college. Their recruitment tactic never revolves around serving for your country.
    ACWestUser is Offline
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    ACWest

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    30 Aug 2019 05:51 AM
    Tuition assistance can come and go at any time. You shouldn't plan your education budget around it.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    30 Aug 2019 06:45 AM
    Read her other post. She doesn't want to leave Maine, she has no desire to travel and only wants educational benefits. Sorry life has dealt you a shitty hand financially, we've all been there in one way or another. But not at the expense of having someone else lose a spot that actually wants to be a Coastie, even for only 4 years, not someone that says this is just a means to an end and meh, whatever. Because CCCSD is right. I want to know the guy in the next rack near my son is looking out for him just as much as he is looking out for himself.

    CCCSD - Funny story about my son. He was a nonrate, had mids, crawled into his rack and was half dead to the world. There was apparently a pipe about an upcoming drill but you know how that dead sleep is, you don't hear what you don't have to. Well, all of a sudden the GQ Alarm starts going off. THAT he hears, dead asleep or not. He flies out of the top rack, 3 high, has one boot on, pants on but not zipped, grabs his life jacket, has his shirt on all discombobulated and flies up the ladderwell only to run into his Chief. My son is thinking who the hell is bombing Boston Harbor!!!!! Chief looks at him "What the hell is wrong with you?" He is out of breath, I'm going to GQ, what's happening? Why isn't everyone moving with purpose? HAHAHAHAHA Drill Seaman, it is just a drill! Oh damn it. 0200 or 0930 after mids, doesn't matter, you better be ready to respond with everything. Someone that is just looking for an easy out, I don't know how fast that desire to respond would be other than save my own bacon, not my shipmates.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    stealthtt24User is Offline
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    30 Aug 2019 05:03 PM
    Disagree with some of the people here. Of course some people serve for the benefits and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I'll tell that to anyone to their face any day of the week. Got a problem with it? Too bad. And given something for free? Uh, okay. Don't know what reality you live in.

    Now here's my caveat. If you plan on shitbagging it then yeah, screw you. I'll be the first one to push you out of the way to get the job done and make sure you get sidelined because of your unwillingness to act or put people in danger. The CG does some dangerous missions; from SAR, to LE, to aids to navigation. All of those can, have, and will lead to members getting seriously injured or killed. The CG takes safety seriously and as they should. A lot of units won't put up with incompetence.

    With that being said... if you join for the benefits (that is my current mentality) then use them! There are lots of great ones from tuition assistance, great health care, tons of training, GI bill, free checked bags on airlines, etc... I think you should take full advantage of them when you've earned them. I made it known at my first unit I couldn't care less about the job they tasked me with. I had ZERO interest in it and doing it once I left. However, I was the best damn person at my job, period. I was well compensated for it (awards, time off) because I sacrificed almost 2 years of my life for the good of the mission. But it worked for everyone; I got what I wanted out of it (awards to help me advance fast) and the unit got what it needed out of me so win/win.

    Don't let the people here tell you you're dumb for joining for the benefits. Just make sure you pull your weight and you'll be fine.

    Edit: just to add something. I talked to about 5 people before I joined to get an idea of the service. They did their time for college or just to get away from home for a bit. I haven't found anyone who didn't enjoy it. In fact, one of them tried for years to get back in after he got out. Don't blame him honestly. The CG isn't perfect, but it's still got its shit together more than other branches and even other businesses as far as I'm concerned. Also, yes the other poster is right. Tuition assistance, or TA, comes and goes. You might get a couple classes in a year or you might get zero. So far I've taken about 10 classes in 4 years since I've been in on TA.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    30 Aug 2019 05:33 PM
    Free checked bags! Wins the internet for tonight!!!
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    stealthtt24User is Offline
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    30 Aug 2019 06:51 PM
    Because no AD person jumps at the chance for free stuff...

    They were giving away double digits tickets to a Broadway event and there was so much response they had to do a lottery. Please tell me again how no one does it for the benefits?
    jdhuskerUser is Offline
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    jdhusker

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    30 Aug 2019 08:46 PM
    Recruiters advertise these free benefits in order to get people to join. Enlistment bonuses and A School bonuses are there to get people to join who otherwise wouldn't. It's free stuff with strings attached, do your job and you get your free stuff. Not everyone joins the military to "serve their country" and that doesn't bother me. The Coast Guard is a job to earn money to pay your bills and make a living just like any other. The reason you join doesn't matter as long as you get the job done.
    CCCSDUser is Offline
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    CCCSD

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    30 Aug 2019 11:32 PM
    Nothing wrong with EARNED benefits. EVERYTHING wrong with only joining a service branch in order to get them. I EARNED the right to my opinion by having SERVED for more than 30 years in .MIL and Public Safety. I NEVER served to get a free ride. Free rides are bullshit and I’m betting every free rider was a slug.

    You want college? EARN it.
    USMCtotheUSCGUser is Offline
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    USMCtotheUSCG

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    30 Aug 2019 11:33 PM
    Which ROTC program (branch) were you participating in? I'm assuming Army since you said ROTC instead of NROTC or AFROTC. As opposed to some of the more ridiculous answers you'll probably get giving you a hard time for having the audacity of wanting to take advantage of the education opportunities everyone who has served in the military has, there's actually a lot to consider.

    For starters, if your primary goal is to return to school and finish your education, keep in mind that the Coast Guard is a 4-6 year commitment, with 6 being the more realistic of the two time-frames if you plan on advancing(promoting) any higher than E-3 and gaining a rating(MOS). If you haven't looked too much into the Coast Guard at this point, do some research on how the nonrate system works as opposed to the other branches and what you realistically will be doing until you are able to attend the A-school of your choosing. Keep in mind, both the ME rating and MST rating (the two ratings which are similar to the sound of your degree choice) are two of the longest waits, with the ME rating being nearly impossible to get into at this time on the active duty side. Of course, this is entirely if you plan on using your time in to gain experience in a field that may transfer to your future career. I'm not trying to discourage you from joining by any means, I just think it's important to give you an honest look at the commitment you'll be making by joining.

    Something else to consider as well is that the Coast Guard is vastly different than the Army. I'm not sure how long you spent in ROTC, but if you enjoyed the Army as an organization and your priority is returning to college as soon as possible, you might want to look into what the Army has to offer on the enlisted side. I'm not sure what is available now, but when I was active duty, I spoke with a number of soldiers that enlisted with three year contracts. I imagine you could realistically return to ROTC with a contract that short if an officer career path is what you were primarily interested in.
    mkellyUser is Offline
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    31 Aug 2019 09:05 AM
    Everybody works for the benefits. Your paycheck is a benefit. Your health care is a benefit. The education benefits are offered to entice people and keep them in. Yes I love my job and I would do it without some of the benefits but I wouldn't stick around for too long if I wasn't going to get paid or get health care. I love the United States and I get excited to go to work every day. I have an awesome job. I work hard, show up early, stay late, and let people know what an awesome job I have....but everybody works for the benefits.
    If somebody works hard and is a great person to work with, who cares why they joined?
    I joined the Coast Guard because they are part of the Army's physician's assistant program and my next goal in life was to become a physician's assistant. I wanted to join some branch of the military after college and I liked the Coast Guard and the program. I wouldn't have joined the Coast Guard if the didn't have that program. Once I was in, I changed my mind and went to AST "A" school.
    Its not fair to assume the OP won't show up to a muster because they joined for education benefits. I didn't join to decontaminate helicopters that have been soiled with fecal and blood but I do it because its part of my job now. I'd like to make the assumption that anybody who is joining, is committing to doing all aspects of whatever job they choose.
    Join for whatever reasons you like, but just be a great employee. Be a great co-worker, be a great friend, be committed to being the best at your job while receiving whatever benefits. That goes for all aspects of life though. Be committed. Prefontaine said "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". Give your best at whatever you're doing because its the right thing to do, and enjoy the benefits as well .
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    03 Sep 2019 05:28 PM
    Wow! People jumped off the top rope on this didn't they.

    WHO CARES WHY SOMEONE JOINS? As long as you do the job it doesn't matter. Some of these comments re pretty over the top. If someone joins the service for the benefits and serves then they earned the benefit. It isn't a free ride. They aren't taking someone else's spot. If they get the spot, they earned it. A person who joins for college has the same opportunity to make it a career. Why ding someone for joining the military. They should be encouraged.

    Anyone who joins for college has to do the same work as someone who joined because three generations of their family have. Joining because you are the patriot's patriot doesn't earn you any more benefits. If someone serves, regardless of the reason they are entitled to the same benefits. Unless of course you are a Yeoman, then you didn't earn anything. Of course no Coasties earned anything compared to Infantrymen. Those are just jabs to hammer in the point. People serve for all sorts of reasons in all sorts of ways. They all earned the same benefits.

    People join for all sorts of reasons and people don't join for all sorts of reasons. I have seen people who joined just for college do some of the bravest things and I have seen people who have joined for "duty, honor, country" shirk duty at every chance they could get.

    To the original poster, I wish you luck in whatever you decide but make sure you go in with eyes wide open.

    mtb40User is Offline
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    mtb40

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    05 Sep 2019 01:03 PM
    Disregard the negative feedback from the previous posters. Nothing is a freebie; the GIBILL and all benefits you earn by meeting and completing those service criteria requirements.

    I was in a similar circumstance with a few other driving factors. I was only looking to complete my 3 yr obligation then get out… 17 yrs later still in. You never know, you may change your mind and make it a career. Good luck on your choice and only you know what is best for you.
    GoodOlRelianceUser is Offline
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    GoodOlReliance

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    06 Sep 2019 10:47 PM
    Honstly, there is nothing wrong with joining the CG for the benfits. Just as long as you stick around for the action. We need you to be motiviated to do the job, and just know what it is that we do. I applaud you for your desire to serve, and more so to get your degree. I originally joined because I had no where to go, and was about to be homeless -- I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else.
    GoodOlRelianceUser is Offline
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    06 Sep 2019 11:07 PM
    It's not selfish. The OP will still do their duty. I joined because I was homeless and running out of options. I chose the Coast Guard because I believed in the mission, but don't fool yourself into thinking that every Coastie joins because of 'duty to county'. Most just want a decent paying job with good benfits. The OP is at least looking at services to make up their mind about which service is a better fit for them.
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