Now that the Institute isn’t providing degree plans, you’ll need to do more research to find schools that meet your requirements and put a lot more thought into your choice. The purpose of this booklet is to give you a relatively painless way to make your decision about which college or university to select.
Before you write a check for the college you saw advertised on TV or in Navy Times, take a deep breath and slow down. Why? Because next to buying a house, going to college is the most expensive purchase most Americans will ever make. If you were going to spend multiple thousands of dollars on something tangible – like a house, a car, a boat, a huge-screen TV, or jewelry – wouldn’t you do some comparison shopping and research to find out if you were getting the best deal possible and if what you were thinking about buying suited your needs and wants?
When it comes to higher education, be a smart consumer – even if Uncle Sam’s going to be paying for some or all of it. If you’re paying for it (and if you’re using the GI Bill, you’re paying for it), you want to get the most and best education possible for your money. And if the Coast Guard’s paying for it you should remember that one of our core values is “Respect”. Respect for other Coast Guard personnel and for taxpayers demands that we stretch Coast Guard money as far as we can. The less tuition assistance money you spend, the more there is for others to use.
So one thing you should consider when choosing a school is price. Tuition assistance will pay up to $250/credit. Assume there are two schools that provide an equally good education. One charges $438/credit and the other charges $220/credit. Which should you choose? Assuming all else is equal, why would you pick the more expensive school? But all else isn’t always equal.
The information which follows will give you other things to think about when choosing a school. But please read through all the following links. There may be something in them that you hadn’t considered but should.