CGA opposes changes to admissions system

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by Luigi59, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    CGA opposes changes to admissions system

    By Jennifer Grogan
    Published on 10/15/2009 theday.com

    TheDay.com - CGA opposes changes to admissions system

    New London - The U.S. Coast Guard Academy says it is opposed to a proposal in Congress that would change the way the school admits students.

    A provision in the Coast Guard Authorization Act, the bill that authorizes appropriations and policy changes for the service for fiscal year 2010, would require academy applicants to be nominated by members of Congress or apply directly to the academy and be appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

    ”We need to have as much flexibility as possible when we select cadets, and the nomination system makes it more difficult to shape the class because we don't have as much control over the selection of students,” Capt. Susan Bibeau, director of admissions at the academy, said Wednesday.

    The other military service academies admit students by congressional nomination while the Coast Guard Academy has traditionally admitted students on the basis of academic merit, like civilian colleges and universities.

    The proposed system is a hybrid that combines elements of the congressional nomination process with the college's current process in an attempt to increase both the racial and geographic diversity of the cadet corps.

    U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, is leading the effort to change the academy's admissions process. He did not return calls for comment.

    In the past, Cummings has said nominating cadets would help “draw students from all of our nation's communities to the academy.”

    ”The numbers speak for themselves,” he said in June. “The white child in Roanoke, Virginia, I want him to have a chance to be in the Coast Guard. And the African-American child in San Francisco, I want him to have a chance. It's not about color. It's about reflecting our society. All of our society is paying taxes to create these institutions and I would like to see participation by a cross-section of our society.”

    In 2007, Cummings proposed a system in which a majority of cadets would be nominated.

    Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, said then he was worried that requiring a nomination would be a “barrier to entry.”

    The bill passed the House but not the Senate.

    U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is also not convinced that congressional nominations are the way to diversify the cadet corps. “The academy superintendent made a persuasive case that the academy should be given more time before we modify the admissions process, and I agree with that,” he said.

    ”One of the obvious issues is the size of the institution,” Bibeau said, explaining there are more than 500 senators, representatives and delegates in Congress who would be allowed to nominate cadets and there are only 265 spots in each class for the next five years. “So the math does not work well.”

    Bibeau said the cadet corps is not racially diverse enough at this point, and changing that has been her top priority.

    The class that graduated in May was 28 percent female and 12.7 percent minority students.

    The current senior class is 23 percent female and 17.5 percent minorities, followed by the junior class at 30 percent female and 16.5 percent minorities, the sophomore class at 28 percent female and 11.3 minorities and the freshman class at 29 percent female and 16 percent minorities.

    The academy is trying to attract a diverse group of applicants, primarily by sending mailings to minority students, advertising online particularly on college search Web sites, recruiting in cities with large minority populations and asking the Coast Guard's recruiting offices nationwide to help refer minority students to the academy.

    Students accepted into the current freshman class came from across the country; the top 10 enrollment states were Virginia, California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

    Compared to this time last year, inquiries to the school by minority students are up 40 percent to 1,800, and online applications from minority students are up 34 percent to 317, Bibeau said.

    ”This should not be used to forecast glorious and wonderful things, but it's as positive as it can get given where we are in the admissions cycle, which is at the very beginning,” she said.

    The current admissions system, Bibeau said, “makes good sense given who we are, what we need to accomplish, as well as our size.”

    The academy is smaller than the other service academies. It has a large athletic program and serves as the primary source of science, technology, engineering and math talent for the Coast Guard's officer corps.

    The House Transportation Committee approved the Coast Guard Authorization Act, including the provision to change the way the admissions process works at the academy, last month, sending it to the House floor for debate.

    ”This bill is not going to move at lightning speed,” Courtney said. “Legislation is in a holding pattern with health care and other pressing issues and the Senate hasn't weighed in at all. I don't know this as a fact, but I think the academy's position may have a stronger base of support in the Senate, so it's far from over.”

    If the provision passes this time, each senator, representative or delegate in Congress would be able to nominate as many as 10 people annually. The secretary would also be able to appoint other students, including children of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and children of service members on active duty, with at least eight years of continuous service.

    The change would be phased in.
     
  2. officer

    officer Member

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    This is ridiculous. The CG has done a fine job of diversifying its student body. Politics are so :unhappy: sometimes. Using a holistic approach for selection based on personal merit is always going to be the best way to choose a future cadet. It should have nothing to do with ethnicity, race, or anything else, except for that individual's earned merit. I was very impressed with the admissions staff when my family and I went to AIM a few months ago. I'm sure they are very fair and have excellent judgement on how to choose their cadets. -officer
     
  3. Stormtrooper30

    Stormtrooper30 Member

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    I don't like the whole nomination system at all. Sure, it's great to have an ethnically and culturally diverse corp, but passing up better qualified applicants for diversity's sake is rediculous. It shouldn't matter what race, gender, or home town someone is from.
     
  4. CenTex Dad

    CenTex Dad Member

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    It's also about political patronage:unhappy:
     
  5. officer

    officer Member

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    I know! Don't even get me started on the whole political dem vs. rep./ conservative vs. liberal. Hidden agendas and some not so hidden. It's all a political mess. I think we need to take the entire nomination process out all together. People in the military walk a very fine line. They must do what their commander-in-chief wants them to do, even if they really, really, really disagree with it. How's your boy doing with all his academics and stuff. I bet he's doing great. -officer...:smile: PM if you want
     
  6. CenTex Dad

    CenTex Dad Member

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    When did CGA stop using congressional nominations?
     
  7. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    A key piece of information everyone is seeming to miss, is that the number of appointments for 2014 (and the next 5 years) is going to be 265.

    That's 23 fewer than were appointed to the Class of 2013.

    That's 30 fewer than were appointed to the Class of 2012.

    When you figure that there are approximately 55 CGA scholars between MMI and NMMI coming for the Class of 2014, it leaves about 210 appointments remaining.

    Which means the competition for an appointment is going to be super-competitive this year.

    :cool:
     
  8. Weather

    Weather Member

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    Don't forget the 46 LOAs for 2014, which makes the remaining slots even more competitive.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Cummins wrote this into a bill for CG funding....tricky.
     
  10. Objee

    Objee USCGA Admissions

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    We have never required/used Congressional nominations since the Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction opened in 1876.
     
  11. yogijer

    yogijer Member

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    Why is CGA different ?

    Why do all the other service academies use congressional nominations except CGA ?
     
  12. Stormtrooper30

    Stormtrooper30 Member

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    Because it makes more sense. The CGA wants the most qualified individuals they can get. If there were nominations, then that pool would be limited to the most qualified individuals that a Congressman likes. It may help diversity, but you are leaving behind better talented kids for some that may not be as qualified.

    This is how I see the nomination process as a whole. I'm only a Junior in High School so I have no first hand experience, but I really think that the nomination process is unnecessary political fluff.
     
  13. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

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    I agree with you stormtrooper. When I was looking at USNA vs USCGA before my senior year, I was actually attracted more to USCGA not only because of it's small size and the Coast Guard's mission but because the appointments were strictly merit based, there was no input from political officials who want to serve their own agendas before what is needed. I personally believe that congressional nominations or nominations of any kind are unnecessary. I think the military needs the best to serve, and if diversity suffers then so be it. Is diversity needed in today's military? Yes, but not at the expense of someone who is better qualified then a person who was appointed by congress to expand diversity. A person should be accepted not for their race, gender, or religion but because they are the best of the best and ultimately deserve to be accepted for what they have accomplished, not for what they were born as.
     
  14. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    The popular theory is that when the Revenue Cutter School Of Instruction was established, the "revenue enforcers" should not be selected by the "revenue law makers," thus avoiding any hint of impropriety or collusion in the collection of tariffs and duties.
     
  15. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    The Congressional nomination process doesn't guarantee racial or gender diversity at all. It simply guarantees geographic diversity. The Federal Service academies are paid for by all the citizens of the US - therefore should have fair representation from all parts of the country.
     
  16. Eagle

    Eagle Member

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    cross country distribution

    ....you can't force a kid in Nebraska or Iowa or Utah or anywhere to apply to USCGA. They've got to want it in their heart and soul and have a real interest in the mission on the CG.

    How do some MOC's end up with "15" appointments in on year at one SA?
    There is horse trading that goes on for sure between MOC's and the lobbying crowd. So it's definitely NOT about diversity, it's about patronage as was stated before. USCGA and Admiral Allen, fight to keep USCGA the way it is!!!

    I think Capt's points were right on. 500 MOC's, for 265 spots? How's that going to be fair?
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    True - you can't force them to apply but you can make it available. Some of the best recruiting is from Cadets themselves. This is why the academies will send Cadets into their home schools. When you get a Cadet from Nebraska and they go home - they become an opportunity for another young kid. Perhaps there are some very good future Cadets in Nebraska or Iowa or Utah - they just haven't been made aware of the awesome oppotunities at their Coast Guard Academy. They deserve just as much a chance to go as a kid from New Jersey.

    There is no "horse trading" going on at all. That is quite an accusation. Federal law doesn't allow it. Some Congressional districts send a lot of cadets and mids because they get in under other Nomination categories.
    No one likes change, the status quo is comfortable.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    JAM, congressional nominations are ONLY a way to exert political control AND limit full competition. There is a reason that Rep. Cummins wrote this into a bill containing CG funding...and there is a reason not all congressmen would like to see this pass. Cummins will say that this increases racial diversity, because that's all he is concerned with. The other 4 service academies would benefit from having REAL competition for spots instead of lopsided state competition....and this is especially true of the sea services.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If Congress really cared about the wellbeing of the U.S. Coast Guard, then the Coast Guard wouldn't be looking at a nearly 10+% drop in its budget and the lack of funding for the already in danger ice breaker programs.
     
  20. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    I agree with LITS and Trackandfield08- this is all about politics....racially/ethnically diverse? Haha, take a look at Congress itself. I learned in my government class today that the 111th Congress is composed of 83% males, while only 4% of the House and only 1 member of the Senate is African American....what I'm getting at here is this: how would Congress feel if we said that it represents the American people, and not all of the racial minorities or women are being equally represented? Do you think they would be happy about that?

    Stop trying to mess with things Congress! :thumbdown:

    Is it really true that 2014 spots are going to be super competitive this year?:confused:
     

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