U.S. Coast Guard awards South Carolina State University student $178,000 scholarship

U.S. Coast Guard awards scholarship to SC State student
U.S. Coast Guard awards scholarship to SC State student(South Carolina State University)
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 12:03 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A junior communications major at South Carolina State University (SCSU) not only has a job with a monthly salary and a secure career path after graduation, but also a $178,000 scholarship that pays for two years of college expenses -- courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“I was in shock. I was shaking,” Chantelle Simpkins said. “I knew something was up, but I hadn’t heard anything yet. So, I was happy to know I was chosen.”

According to SCSU, Simpkins is the first SC State student in over a decade to earn the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) scholarship. Those chosen enlist into the Coast Guard, complete basic training over the summer, and receive full funding for up to two years of college.

After receiving their bachelor’s degree, the CSPI graduate attends Officer Candidate School to earn a commission and start a career as a Coast Guard officer.

CSPI funding includes tuition, books and fees, repayment of students loans, a full-time Coast Guard salary, housing allowance, and medical benefits.

SCSU and the Coast Guard signed a Memorandum of Agreement recommitting SC State’s participation in the CSPI program, said SCSU.

They add SC State produced more than 25 Coast Guard officers, many of whom are currently in the ranks, and the university accounts for four of an estimated 18 African American captains.

Three of them, Captains Pat Burkett, Rick Howell and Eric Jones, were on hand to congratulate Simpkins at the Honors Awards Convocation.

20-year-old Simpkins grew up moving around the country as part of a military family, but considers Georgia home, according to SCSU.

She may use her skillset as a communications major in the Coast Guard, but SCSU said she’s keeping her options open.

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