Plebe Entrance Fee?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Dolphins2012, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    Can someone tell me with specificity the answers to these questions? I've researched it on the internet and this forum, and I've gathered that there is a fee for uniforms and other items issued to plebes, that there is some sort of loan (an "ACE loan" or some such), and that there is some discretion as to the period time over which a mid may repay the loan out of their monthly stipend/salary. Having said that:

    1) How much exactly is the fee?
    2) By when must the fee be paid?
    3) Is there a loan that plebes can take out to cover the entire fee? If so, when does a plebe apply for it and when is it disbursed?
    4) How long does it take for the mid to repay the loan?

    I ultimately want to know whether dad (me) is going to have to front the money for this fee before a loan is disbursed.
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'll defer to a current mid but, it is my understanding that, today, plebes don't have to pay anything out of their pockets on I-Day. IOW, you don't have to show up with any money, checks, money orders, etc.

    The federal government loans you the money for your initial issue and subsequent issues and a certain amount is taken out of your salary each month (before you see anything) to repay that loan.

    I'll defer to others on how much the loan is but the amount of time to repay depends on the amount and that can vary somewhat (not too much) on whether you buy new or used uniforms and whether you're male or female (in my day at least, female uniforms were more $$ and we needed more of them (heels and skirts)).

    So, your dad doesn't have to pay anything.
     
  3. engineer

    engineer Member

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    There is no out of pocket expense at I-day. Even the trip to Annapolis (for the incoming plebe only) is reimbursed to the plebe at some later date, as long as the plebe turns in the travel reimbursement form. This form is part of the large packet of papers sent to the plebe after he/she accepts the appointment. I think that any scholarships that are not specified for tuition use may also be used to reduce the size of the loan.
     
  4. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    Just a question: If you receive an "eligible" (as in can be used to pay for midshipman expenses and not just tuition, etc.) scholarship could you use that money instead of the pay they take out and receive more pay? :confused:
     
  5. wilson73

    wilson73 Member

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    Just went through this with my Youngster. The ACE Loan for Class of 2014 was $8500, and he was able to apply "cost of attendance" scholarship monies towards the loan, i.e., books, computer, uniforms, etc. Every Mid gets a paycheck, but pay is withheld and some of that goes towards the loan. Last year, as a Plebe, DS's net pay was $100/month; this year, it is $200/month. Not sure what the monthly gross pay is, but I think it is somewhere around $900. He had $3500 in scholarship money his Plebe year and $1000 this year, with another $1000 upcoming for each of the next two years. Apparently, with the payroll deductions and the scholarship money, his ACE loan is now paid off. However, his net pay will not increase until August. There is also something called "held pay" which I still don't fully understand, other than the fact that it is a periodic lump sum payment of money to which the Mid is entitled.

    Would love to hear from Hurricane 12 or another current Mid who can elaborate on this.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I'll try to explain the MIDN pay system. wilson73 did a pretty good job but I'll try to elaborate. It's complicated, so bear with me.

    MIDN pay is a strange beast. Technically, you always make the same amount of money all four years (i.e., for tax purposes). According to my LES, this is $974 a month. It's what you see that changes.
    A number of items get deducted from this pay, and it all gets broken down on the LES:
    -Federal Taxes
    -Social Security
    -"Personal Deductions"--this one always causes some consternation. Personal deductions covers stuff like haircuts, the laundry service, and the tailor shop. As someone who has never gotten a haircut on the yard (don't trust it), barely uses the school laundry service (do my own), and can count the number of times I've used the tailor shop on one hand, I'd rather have my $119 a month back.
    -State taxes
    -Alumni Association
    -NAAA
    -MID Card charges (textbooks, uniform store, etc.)
    -Class Fund
    -And, of course, the ACE loan.


    The ACE loan for my class was around $7500. I have a couple friends who either applied scholarship money or had enough saved up from working in high school to pay it off either partially or in full. According to my 2/C year LESs, the ACE loan deduction was like $200 a month. I can't access my older LESs and so can't speak to before then. If you don't pay off your ACE loan separately, it gets paid off by like October or November 1/C year.

    Held pay: During 4/C through 2/C year, money is also "held" back from your monthly paycheck in case you need it for the uniform store, textbooks, or for certain items at the Mid Store. The amount this is decreases and you become less eligible to buy certain things with it at the Mid Store (uniforms/textbooks are always good to go). Every once in a while, you get this back in chunks (held pay). Held pay also includes COMRATS (commuted rations), which you get for leave periods and is basically the money that the Navy saved by not having to feed you on the Yard. Held pay is usually distributed in January and May, if I'm remembering correctly. The theory is that in May you're about to get released to the world on summer training, which can be a big money sink. Also, you don't get paid the next class up paycheck until the plebe class gets its first paycheck, so August.

    General Pay:The trick is, during 4/C through 2/C year, you ONLY get the $100, $200, or $300 a month. I'm honestly not sure if you get the ACE loan money back before 1/C year if you pay it off, if yes then that would be an extra ~$200 a month.
    During 1/C year, your pay is your entitled base pay (the $974) minus the deductions, so there's not really any held pay and it varies from month to month. So, for example, if you decide to buy textbooks 1/C year using your Mid card, it comes more-or-less directly out of your paycheck rather than the nebulous "held pay" bucket that you get at random times throughout the year.

    Clear as mud? As a mid, you can also go down to the disbursing office and have them explain your paycheck to you.
     
  7. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    To add to what Hurricane said: The loan for the class of 2015 was similar to 2014 - $8500 loan which the Plebes sign for on I-Day. There is no upfront money due anymore. Scholarship, 529 plan or other college money can be used to pay off the loan but the Mid's net pay does not increase - everyone gets the same $100, $200, etc paycheck - instead the balance is held back and gets released later (maybe end of Youngster year?). The Mids who have paid off their loans early can however go to the disbursement office and request that the balance of their pay that is not going to pay off the loan be sent to them - they won't do it automatically.
     
  8. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    Wow, thanks everyone, especially Hurricane. That answers my most important question: will I have to loan my DS a bunch of dough this summer? Answer: no, I won't.
    Thanks again!
     
  9. wilson73

    wilson73 Member

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    Dolphins - Not trying to separate you from your cash, but you will have an opportunity to put money on your Mid's "Yard Card", which is a debit card that the Mids can use at the Mid Store, Drydock Restaurant, vending machines, and laundry machines (non-Plebes) in Bancroft. Instructions on how to load the card are provided prior to PPW. I think I put $200-300 on it for Plebe Year, and ended up adding another $50 or so at the end to tide him over. Covers the basic expenses (snacks, perhaps some clothing from Mid Store, occasional pizza or sandwich at Drydock, coffee, etc.). Since the only time Plebes can leave the Yard is on Saturdays after noon, they either have to eat on campus or order pizza delivery for anything other than their 3 meals a day, so unless they always have cash on hand, the Yard Card really helps.

    And -- Many thanks to Hurricane12 for clarifying the whole pay issue!
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    There are expenses that most parents incur (willingly). These include travel, hotels, meals, etc. for I-Day, PPW, 2C PW, and graduation.

    You may want to attend football games (depending on where you live).

    You may want to visit the Yard at other times during your mid's tenure.

    Some parents help their mids pay for their class ring, car, etc.

    And I'm sure there are other items that I've long forgotten or didn't realize my parents subsidized (we did NOT have the yard cards they have today:frown:). Of course, NOTHING is required -- it's all up to you what you want, and are able to, pay for. If you do nothing, your child/mid will be perfectly fine. No one at USNA goes without.

    All in all, a good deal for parents!:smile:
     
  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Indeed it is. And not mentioned is the virtually 0% (it's actually 1+% at present) $35,000 loan offered to each 2nd class Mid to be paid off over 5 years beginning several months post-commissioning/grad.

    Allow some perspective though that has often been and will always be a point of discussion. While financially, this is a great deal, it is anything but "free." In fact, figuring in return on time required, including summers and non-classroom time, and the potential risks required during the "payback" time (including one's literal life), there are likely many ways to fund lesser educations.

    Mids chronically moan about being forced to pay for cobbler services, haircuts, and football and other event tickets they don't want or use. Indeed, it's a sort of ponzi scheme.

    T'ain't free by a long shot. Ask some wounded warriors missing limbs, suffering from brain injuries, etc. Or mourning mothers whose flags flown in their windows have sadly morphed from "blue stars" to "gold stars." And ponder the point next time you're on the Yard in Memorial Hall, noting those many names forever engraved upon those walls. This is no free lunch. An Academy education is 2nd to none, but "priceless" isn't always positive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Well stated. Even in times of peace, you are giving at leat 9 of your best years to your country. Absolutely worth it, in the opinion of most, but hardly "free.
     

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