Headline News Stories First Marshallese Accepted to United States Coast Guard Academy 6/14/2007 For the first time in the history of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a Marshallese citizen, Mr. Jefferson Bobo, will enroll in the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Bobo is a life-long resident of Ebeye Island on Kwajalein Atoll and was a 'Ri-katak' (guest program) student and 2007 graduate of Kwajalein High School at the United States Army facility on Kwajalein Island. The US/RMI Compact of Free Association guarantees that at least one qualified Marshallese student per year can attend the United States Coast Guard Academy or the United States Merchant Marine Academy. During the summer of 2006, Jefferson participated in the Coast Guard Academy's Introduction Mission (AIM) program. He was one of only 30 students to be offered a guaranteed acceptance to the AIM program. Jefferson then applied for Academy admission, was accepted and was granted a full scholarship. The Coast Guard Academy is widely regarded as one of the most difficult U.S. college-level institutions to gain entrance into. Each year some 400 students are selected from an applicant pool about eight times that size, for appointments to the Academy. About 280 of those 400 students accept the appointment and report to the USCGA in early July for "swab summer," a basic military training program designed to prepare them for the rigors of their Fourth Class year. Each cadet takes two semesters of classes during the school year and then spends the majority of the summer in military training. After four years of study and training, approximately 175-200 cadets will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and be commissioned to begin serving as officers in the Coast Guard (U.S. citizens) or in their own nation's military. Approximately one third of the cadets are female.