U.S. Coast Guard Offers Two Years' Tuition at Hampton College

Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of Force Readiness Command, meets with Officer Trainees Jonathan Rogers (senior) and Camarie Clark (junior) at Hampton University

By U.S. Coast Guard News 02-07-2018 09:20:00

How can the Coast Guard recruit and maintain a proficient, self-motivated and adaptable workforce in today’s world? “It is simple: we build a diverse workforce,” explained Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. “Why? Because diversity adds value. Cultivating a workforce that reflects the demographics of the society we serve enables diversity of thought, which directly contributes to our workforce’s capability for innovation, new approaches and fresh perspectives.”

As a way to build this diverse and demographically relevant workforce, Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM), in coordination with Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, established a partnership with Hampton University (HU) in Hampton, Virginia, in December 2015. Hampton University is one of several historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., and is home to the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) Scholarship Program.

Students who are accepted into the CSPI program are enlisted in the Coast Guard and receive full funding for two years of college. Their funding includes payment of tuition, textbooks, and other school fees, along with receiving a full-time Coast Guard salary, housing allowance and medical benefits. Hampton University offers degrees that are relevant to the Coast Guard missions and help identify student and faculty research and development opportunities in areas of interest to the Coast Guard.

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, Rear Adm. Keith Smith, FORCECOM commander, sat down with Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert, Chancellor and Provost of Hampton University, to sign the Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Coast Guard and the university. The signing of this document symbolizes another two years of a fruitful educational partnership between the university and the Coast Guard. The signing of the memorandum also coincided with the university’s 150th anniversary since the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute was founded in 1868.

Hampton University is one of the few universities that still has a curfew in place for the students to keep them out of trouble and focused on the future they are building for themselves. In addition to having a curfew, students at HU cannot have a car on campus until their junior year. This rule is in place to maximize the students’ opportunities to remain on campus where they can foster stronger bonds with their fellow classmates. These rules, as well as others put in place by the university, help to graduate talented men and women who share the core values of the Coast Guard: Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.

Since the late 80s and early 90s, when the Coast Guard first came to Hampton University, there have been 30 students/graduates who have served, are currently serving, or will be serving in the Coast Guard following graduation from the university and the CSPI program.

Officer Trainee Jonathan Rogers, a senior at HU pursuing a degree in Marine Environmental Science, asked Smith how his transition from an enlisted Coast Guardsman to an officer made him a more effective leader. “I think it really just made me a more effective person,” replied Smith. “Value what you are learning as an enlisted member now, because it will make you a better officer in the future.”

This article appears courtesy of Coast Guard Compass and may be found in its original form here