Active Duty Degrees: Coast Guard Volunteer Education
Volunteer Education Opportunities in the Coast Guard
Members of the United States Coast Guard who are interested in obtaining a college degree while in the service should check out the Volunteer Education Services department. For many of the resources that follow, you will need your Coast Guard login credentials to proceed.
Volunteer Education Services
The VOLED services portal brings together a number of resources that aid Coast Guard members in the pursuit of their education goals. These are the four main sections of the VOLED portal:
- Tuition Assistance & Grants
- Student Resources
- Registrar Services
- Course Support & Testing
Each of these sections presents targeted assistance for any issues that students face.
Tuition Assistance & Grants
This is one of the first sections that future students visit. Within this department are resources about Tuition Assistance (TA) Procedures. Like other TA programs, the Coast Guard TA program seeks to aid Coast Guard personnel who are taking off-duty education courses.
Be advised that TA is NOT authorized for courses that are at a lower level than the degree you may currently have. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree then you cannot use TA to cover any other bachelor’s level courses, even if they’re required for acceptance into a Master’s program.
For specific policy information, carefully read the latest Coast Guard TA Policy before applying.
There is also the Coast Guard Foundation Education Grant (CGFEG) that grants recipients funding for tuition, fees, and other expenses resulting from their education.
The Student Resources Section is another high-traffic area for current and future students. It offers some programs specific to the Coast Guard, and others that are generally available to military students. Some of the resources include:
- Coast Guard Student Toolkit (Coast Guard login required)
- Earn College Credits (login required)
- GI Bill Information Portal
- Navy MWR Digital Library
- Scholarship Information (login required)
- The Department of Defense’s TA Decide
- No Coast Tutoring (login required)
- College Navigator
- United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP)
Additionally, students use these services to access the DANTES Exam Reimbursement Center to recoup money they’ve spent on exam fees.
SEE ALSO: Coast Guard College Education Programs
Course Support & Testing
The support and testing department provides all the information and resources Coast Guard personnel may need as they pursue their professional and education goals. Some of these resources include information on:
- AFCT and ASVAB Policy and Resources (login required)
- ASVAB/AFCT Waiver Requests (login required)
- Deck Watch Officer (DWO) Exam Program (login required)
- Defense Foreign Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) (login required)
- Guidance on the 21 Day Retesting Policy
In addition to these resources, Training Materials (login required) are also available for students to use in preparation for a variety of tests and exams.
Additional Education Resources
In addition to the items above, the Coast Guard also has a credentialing assistance program called Coast Guard Credential Opportunities On-Line (CG COOL). With CG COOL, service members can earn the official recognition they deserve for the professional and technical standards required for many Coast Guard job fields.
The Coast Guard also offers the USCG Skillport website that allows Coast Guard personnel access to books, videos, and courses to expand their professional development. A login is required for this resource.
Get That Degree
The Coast Guard is often overlooked as a sister service to the others, I think, because it is housed under the Department of Homeland Security instead of the Department of Defense. My oldest son recently joined the Coast Guard, so addressing the programs and benefits is personal.
The Coast Guard has tailored its assistance offering to the specific needs of its personnel. It is entirely possible to complete your college degree while serving in the United States Coast Guard.