May 17, 2023

Senate Passes Young, Colleagues Legislation to Support Maritime Academy Students

WASHINGTON – Ahead of National Maritime Day on May 22, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed 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.

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 pass the Senate, and I will keep working to get it 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. My bipartisan bill would incentivize more cadets to continue serving their country after graduation, while helping them receive a high-quality, affordable education,” 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 work with Democrats and Republicans to get this legislation over the finish line to move our maritime industry forward and help more young people who want to serve their country pursue careers with the U.S. Navy Reserve,” said Senator Baldwin.

“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. This is why I’m very proud to cosponsor the CADETS Act, which will expand financial assistance and incentives for maritime academy graduates who have made the ultimate commitment to the United States Armed Forces,” said Senator Braun.

“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 nation’s state maritime academies play an unseen and often underappreciated role in protecting our country’s national security and economic interests. “Senate passage of the bipartisan CADETS Act is an important step for increasing opportunities for our nation’s veterans and ensuring America remains on top of the global economy. By expanding age eligibility for financial assistance to students enrolled in America’s maritime academies, including at the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, this legislation ensures the next generation of maritime leaders is ready for the challenges they will face,” said Senator Cruz.

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. 

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI-1).