What is the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative?

The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative is a scholarship program affiliated with the United States Coast Guard that provides financial assistance and other benefits to academically inclined students. According to the Coast Guard’s official website, the program is designed for college students who wish to join the Coast Guard and want to become an officer.

Eligibility for the CSCI Program

To qualify for the CSCI program, a student must demonstrate excellent dedication to studies, as well as show interest in becoming an officer with the United States Coast Guard. Applicants should be currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program or have an acceptance letter from a program in which the student plans to enter.

Applicants may also apply if they are enrolled in an associate’s degree program at community college and plan to enter a four-year program at another school. Acceptance into the program for community college students is contingent on the student’s acceptance into a qualifying school.

The program also requires that the student meet a variety of other conditions, such as having a grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and a good financial history without a history of bankruptcy or a high debt-to-income ratio.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

How the CSCI Program Works

A student accepted into the CSCI program will enlist in the United States Coast Guard and undergo basic training during the summer before school starts. The student will receive funding for college for up to two years of school. One of the unique benefits of the program is that the student’s tuition is covered, as well as costs like books and fees.

Since the student will be an enlisted member of the Coast Guard during his or her time in the program, the student will also receive a housing allowance, a standard Coast Guard salary, and medical benefits. This full range of funding means students of virtually all financial backgrounds may apply for the program and have the opportunity to focus on their studies.

Participating in Coast Guard Activities

In exchange for receiving funding for school, students in the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative participate in at least 16 hours of Coast Guard activities each month under the supervision of their Recruiter in Charge. Once a week, students will also wear the official Coast Guard uniform.

While on break from school, students will participate in Coast Guard activities such as training and experience on Coast Guard missions. Students will learn about the daily life and responsibilities of members of the Coast Guard, as well as gain experiences in a variety of different sectors.

Some of the places a student may be able to work include a Coast Guard Small Boat Station or a Coast Guard Air Station. In some cases, a student may also be able to work on a Coast Guard Cutter. These experiences and others can help the student complete the watchstander qualifications, which will help when the student graduates from school and becomes an officer.

In addition to experiences on Coast Guard vessels, students will also participate in a three-week leadership course in Connecticut during the summer. After graduation, students will participate in another course, which is a 17-week officer candidate school. Officer candidate school is also located in Connecticut. After successfully graduating from officer school, the student will receive an assignment, as well as be given a commission as an ensign.

The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative is an excellent option for students who are set upon entering the Coast Guard upon graduation, and the program offers a wealth of experience and financial assistance for completing college and becoming an officer.