Step 1: request a transcript of education credit earned through Coast Guard service
Step 2: submit "Request to Use Tuition Assistance" (TA eligibility) form
Step 3: create N@vy Knowledge Online (NKO) account
Step 4: use NKO User ID and password to log into eTA and apply for TA
If you're pursuing an undergraduate degree (an associate's or bachelor's degree), the first requirement is requesting a Coast Guard Institute transcript. If you already have one, it has to have been created or updated within the last four years. If you've already got a bachelor's degree or if you've requested an assessment/ transcript in the last four years you can ignore this paragraph.
Read the tutorial for Step 2 carefully before going to the NKO web site.
The purpose of this form is to ensure that you meet all the criteria set out in ALCOAST 175/13. Your CO/OIC/Commander/XO/XPO/Deputy Commander must verify that you meet all eligibility criteria before you can use TA.
Once your supervisor has forwarded the form to me, I'll let you know you can submit your application. The first time you use the on-line application process (eTA) it will be a two-step process.
Before you can start using eTA, you must create an account on N@vy Knowledge Online (NKO). Without an NKO account, you won't be able to get into eTA, which is the Internet program you use to request TA. The NKO tutorial (link below) provides step-by-step instructions on creating account. Once you've read over the tutorial and filled out the short form on NKO you'll have a password and user name. You'll receive a confirmation e-mail within a short time. But if you don't receive it in a couple hours, check your junk e-mail folder: a filter may have diverted it from your e-mail inbox to the junk e-mail folder.
All PHS personnel ‒ click on “Register as a new guest user” and enter devale.collier (all lower case) as the user ID.
All Coast Guard personnel (military or civilian) ‒ click on “Register as a new user” and follow the steps after that.
NKO has a huge amount of useful information, and is a great resource. I urge you to check it out. But once you've got your NKO User ID and password, you don't ever have to go to NKO's web site again. And you can't create or submit a TA application from NKO.
Read the tutorial for Step 3 carefully before going to the eTA web site!
Before you try to fill out the eTA on-line request form, please view and read the eTA tutorial below. Errors in using eTA translate into delays in processing your TA request.
If there are any errors, you'll have to cancel your request and start the process all over again. If you get it right the first time, you'll have your authorization quicker than if it has to go back and forth one or more times between you and your ESO.
The first time you log in at the eTA web site you must use the user name and password. After that you can use your CAC to log in if you're using a Coast Guard or DoD work station that doesn't use the Vista operating system. You'll need to use your user ID and password whenever you log on via a personal computer or a workstation that uses Vista.
CAUTION: The e-mail address you list on your eTA request should be the same as the address listed in DirectAccess as your "business" e-mail address, which should be your official Coast Guard e-mail address.
Most of the Coast Guard is now using the Navy's Internet-based eTA system to submit TA applications. Only units which don't have reliable Internet access are exempt from the requirement to use eTA.
If your ESO doesn't have reliable Internet access, she/he will continue to use the PDF TA request form used in the past.
The Coast Guard Institute requires that your TA request form be submitted via your ESO through its on-line tracking system. TA applications may no longer be submitted via e-mail or fax.
Download the form, fill it out on your computer, and affix your digital signature to it in either section 12 or section 13, depending on which applies to you. Make sure section 11 has your ESO's information in it!
The procedure for using Acrobat forms and creating a digital signature is slightly different depending on which version of Acrobat you have. Here are instructions for using the digital signature function.
As we approach the beginning of a new school year, the number of tuition assistance requests is likely to increase. Here are a few tips which will speed up processing time.
Use eTA (rather than a PDF or hard-copy form) to submit your TA request. When you use eTA, all the data you enter is automatically transferred to the computer program which generates TA authorizations. When you use a form, Coast Guard Institute personnel have to manually type into the TA authorization program everything you have on your form. That’s why the Institute often sends you your authorization a few minutes after your ESO submits an eTA request, and why it takes a few days to get your authorization if you use the form. (See the previous section for instructions on how to use eTA.)
Get it right the first time. Make sure everything on your TA request is accurate to avoid back-and-forth e-mails and, perhaps, you having to re-do the application or missing your school’s payment deadline.
Provide documentation without being asked. Your ESO is required to verify that the per-credit tuition and fees you list on your application are correct. If you don’t send this documentation, your ESO will have to ask you for it, which will slow down the process.
NEVER contact the Institute directly about tuition assistance. If you have a question about TA in general or your TA request in particular, ask your ESO. The more information requests the Institute has to handle, the less time it has to process TA requests and the longer it takes to do so.
Be patient. Don’t assume that you’ll receive your TA authorization overnight or in a few hours just because you have in the past. The Institute’s work flow varies. When application volume is low, turn-around is quick. But when volume is high (as at the beginning of a school year), turn-around time slows a bit. Because of this, the Institute’s staff guarantees only that you’ll have your authorization in less than two weeks.
Plan ahead. Submit your TA request as soon as you know which courses you’ll be taking (course number and name) and their starting and ending dates. The Institute will accept TA applications up to three months before the course starting date. If you know your courses more than three months in advance, you can fill out the eTA application and save it, then submit it to your ESO three months before the starting date.