The U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that does not offer an ROTC program. Students who plan to attend, are attending, or attended a minority-serving institution and who are interested in becoming a Coast Guard officer can apply for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative or the Student Loan Repayment Program. Students who don’t fit these criteria but are interested in the Coast Guard may consider attending a service academy or a senior military college. Those with prior education may be able to direct commission or attend Officer Candidate School.


College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative

Students who are accepted into this program will immediately be enlisted into the Coast Guard and proceed through basic training over the course of a summer. While in school, students will participate in Coast Guard activities for at least 16 hours each month and wear their uniform once each week and while participating in Coast Guard activities. During breaks, students will receive some of the further training necessary to become members of the Coast Guard. Following their junior year, students will attend a leadership training course in New London, CT. This is called Officer Candidate Indoctrination and lasts three weeks. Following graduation, students will attend a 17-week Officer Candidate School after which they will receive their commission as an officer in the Coast Guard.

Educational Qualifications:

  • This program is only available to sophomores and juniors who are interested in joining the Coast Guard following the completion of their bachelor’s degree.
  • Student must be attending or planning to attend an accredited minority-serving institution. These include: Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions; Asian American- and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions; Hispanic-serving institutions; Tribal Colleges and Universities; historically Black colleges and universities; Native American-serving, nontribal institutions; and Predominantly Black Institutions.
    • If your school does not fit into one of the above categories but serves at least 50% minority students, you may still qualify for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative; contact a recruiter for more information.
    • If you have transferred to one of these institutions from a community college to complete your bachelor’s degree, you are welcome to apply.
    • If you are attending an online-only degree program, you do not qualify.
  • Student must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.
  • Student must have scored at least an 1100 on the old version of the SAT (reading and math), a 23 overall on the ACT, or a 109 General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

General Eligibility:

  • Student must be a U.S. citizen between 19 and 27 years old (as of September 30 during the year the selection panel meets).
  • Student must be of outstanding moral character.
  • Student must be eligible for Secret Clearance.
  • Student must be able to pass a medical physical; this includes demonstrating normal color vision and meeting height and weight standards.
  • Student must be able to pass a fitness test and a swimming test.
  • Student cannot have more than two dependents, including a spouse. If single, a student cannot have primary custody of any dependents.
  • Students with tattoos, piercings, or other body modifications must comply with the Coast Guard’s body modification policy. All tattoos, piercings, markings, modifications, and mutilations must be disclosed and reviewed by a recruiter to determine if the modifications are allowed by the Coast Guard’s policy.
  • Student must not have a 30% or higher ratio of debt to income or have filed for bankruptcy in the past 10 years. Additionally, the student must disclose the amount and status of any student loans.
  • Student must agree to accept a commission as a Coast Guard officer and serve three years on active duty.

Students who have previously served in the military are eligible, but must meet an additional set of requirements:

  • Applicants may have served no more than six years on active duty in any branch of the military by the time they commission into the Coast Guard.
  • Applicants who currently serve in the Coast Guard and have reached the rank and pay grade of Petty Officer Third Class (E-4) and who have served over four years on active duty are ineligible to apply.
  • Applicants who currently serve in a branch of the military beside the Coast Guard, in the Coast Guard Reserve, or in the Individual Ready Reserve must provide a conditional release form with their application. This form makes it possible for an individual to transfer between military branches and between active duty and non-active duty positions.

Award Amount:

You can receive up to two years of funding to cover full payment of tuition and fees as well as books; this averages $8,000 per semester. The Coast Guard will also pay you a full-time salary, complete with a housing allowance and medical benefits. On average, the total award comes to $75,000 per student.

College Student Pre-Commissioning InitiativeStudent Loan Repayment Program

If you are have student loans, you may qualify for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative—Student Loan Repayment Program. Only federal loans from the Department of Education (the ones offered to you upon completion of the FAFSA) qualify for repayment. If you have private loans of any sort, this program will not contribute toward the repayment of those loans. If you have defaulted on your loans, the Coast Guard will not provide repayment services.

Students who are accepted into this program will immediately be enlisted into the Coast Guard and proceed through basic training over the course of a summer. After graduating from school, students will attend orientation at the Coast Guard Recruiting Command then spend four months with a Coast Guard unit to receive further training. Finally, students will attend a 17-week Officer Candidate School after which they will receive their commission as an officer in the Coast Guard.

Educational Qualifications:

  • This program is available to college seniors, recent graduates (within two years), or graduate students in their last year of school.
  • Students must be attending or have attended an accredited minority-serving institution. These include: Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions; Asian American- and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions; Hispanic-serving institutions; Tribal Colleges and Universities; historically Black colleges and universities; Native American-serving, nontribal institutions; and Predominantly Black Institutions.
    • If your school does not fit into one of the above categories but serves at least 50% minority students, you may still qualify for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative—Student Loan Repayment Program; contact a recruiter for more information.
    • Students attending online-only degree programs do not qualify.
  • Currently enrolled students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and provide an official letter from their college or university certifying their GPA and their expected graduation date. Recent graduates must provide their diploma and transcripts showing their cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Students must have scored at least an 1100 on the old version of the SAT (reading and math), a 23 overall on the ACT, or a 109 General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

General Eligibility:

  • Students who are currently serving or who have previously served in any branch of the military are not eligible for this program.
  • Student must be a U.S. citizen between 19 and 27 years old (as of September 30 during the year the selection panel meets).
  • Student must be of outstanding moral character.
  • Student must be eligible for Secret Clearance.
  • Student must be able to pass a medical physical; this includes demonstrating normal color vision and meeting height and weight standards.
  • Student must be able to pass a fitness test and a swimming test.
  • Student cannot have more than two dependents, including a spouse. If single, a student cannot have primary custody of any dependents.
  • Students with tattoos, piercings, or other body modifications must comply with the Coast Guard’s body modification policy. All tattoos, piercings, markings, modifications, and mutilations must be disclosed and reviewed by a recruiter to determine if the modifications are allowed by the Coast Guard’s policy.
  • Student must not have a 30% or higher ratio of debt to income or have filed for bankruptcy in the past 10 years. Additionally, the student must disclose the amount and status of any student loans.
  • Student must agree to accept a commission as a Coast Guard officer and serve five years on active duty.

Award Amount:

The Coast Guard will repay up to $10,000 of federal student loans each year for up to six years in exchange for the student’s acceptance of a Coast Guard commission.

Page last updated: 08/2017