June 15, 2023

Bipartisan Legislation to Support Maritime Academy Students Heads to President to be Signed into Law

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation led by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) to expand the age eligibility for the Maritime Administration’s Student Incentive Payment Program is headed to the President to be signed into law, after passing the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Changing Age-Determined Eligibility to Student Incentive Payments (CADETS) Act – which the Senators introduced and passed through the Senate last Congress – would expand the Student Incentive Payment Program eligibility age for financial assistance to cadets who attended one of the six State Maritime Academies and commit to a post-graduation service obligation to include any qualified student who will meet the age requirements for enlistment in the U.S. Navy Reserve at their time of graduation. In return for their commitment to serve, cadets can receive up to $32,000 in this incentive payment funding over four years to help offset the cost of tuition, uniforms, books, and living costs. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee advanced the bill in March.

“Our maritime academies play an important but often overlooked role in our national security. Our bipartisan CADETS Act will expand the eligibility age for maritime cadets to offset their tuition, living costs, and uniforms through the Student Incentive Payment Program as they serve our country. I’m glad to see this bill will soon be signed into law,” said Senator Young.

“Graduates of these prestigious academies go on to play a critical role in strengthening not only our robust maritime sector in Michigan, but also our economy and national security. I’m pleased my bipartisan bill to incentivize more cadets to continue serving their country after graduation, while helping them receive a high-quality, affordable education, will soon become law,” said Senator Peters.

“Investing in our maritime workforce will connect more young people with great careers, strengthen our national security, and support Wisconsin’s manufacturers, farmers, and producers who rely on our water highways to deliver their products to market. I am pleased to have worked with Democrats and Republicans to send this legislation to President Biden’s desk and help more young people who want to serve their country pursue careers with the U.S. Navy Reserve,” said Senator Baldwin.

“Our nation’s state maritime academies play an unseen and often underappreciated role in protecting our country’s national security and economic interests. Raising the age limit that cadets receive financial assistance at America’s prestigious maritime academies, like Texas A&M Maritime, will mean more opportunities for our nation’s veterans and boost academy programs that protect our nation’s security and economic interests. I am proud that this bipartisan legislation has passed both houses of Congress and look forward to it being swiftly signed into law,” said Senator Cruz.

“Today’s maritime academy cadets are tomorrow’s Merchant Marines and commercial shipping captains, helping to protect our seaways and facilitating the safe transport of goods across the Great Lakes. Our bipartisan legislation will expand financial assistance opportunities for students who enlist in the Navy Reserve after graduation, providing those serving our country with the support they need,” said Senator Klobuchar.

“The United States’ maritime academies play a vital – and often overlooked – role in defending America’s national security. These young men and women deserve the absolute best services we can provide for them. I’m glad that the CADETS Act has now passed both the House and the Senate and I look forward to it being signed into law,” said Senator Braun.

U.S. Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI-1) led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“This commonsense bipartisan solution will expand opportunities for Veterans and older students who wish to become mariners – a crucial national security need – and will greatly benefit Michigan’s maritime industry,” said Representative Bergman.  

Current Student Incentive Payment Program age requirements prohibit cadets older than 25 from participating in the program. State Maritime Academies have programs to recruit former military veterans and servicemembers, but most of these cadets are too old to qualify for this funding. As a result, older students—many of whom are veterans—therefore do not qualify for this program due to their age. The Senators’CADETS Act would expand the eligibility age to include any qualified student who will meet the age requirements for enlistment in the U.S. Navy Reserve at their time of graduation, and ensure that high-performing, non-traditional cadets can receive this funding.