It took a mad dash, but Logan Holt is the first-ever University of Alaska student to be part of a new Coast Guard scholarship program at the university.
Holt, 21, formerly a home-schooled student, officially signed paperwork to be a recipient of the U.S. Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative Tuesday afternoon during a swearing-in ceremony at UAS.
“It was kind of a scramble and a last-minute deal,” Holt said of his application process. “By the time I finally found out about the deadline to the time the application had to be in, I think I had eight days. This will be an exciting journey.”
Holt thanked the Coast Guard and UAS for the opportunity during the ceremony and afterward said it generally takes months to apply for programs like CSPI.
CSPI is a scholarship program meant for students between the ages of 19 and 28 with at least a 2.5 grade-point average in their sophomore or junior years of undergraduate studies, according to the UAS website.
Per the website: The program offers up to two years of paid tuition, books and fees, approximately a $3,600 monthly salary as a Coast Guard active-duty member while attending classes as a full-time student and a guaranteed job after graduation with a starting salary of about $60,000 upon graduation and completion of Officer Candidate School.
Holt said the terms of the program and serving Coast Guard interested him, but the partial government shutdown that lasted from late December 2018 to late January 2019 kept him from finding out more about CSPI until the deadline was near.
“The benefits of the program are awesome, but also I have an associate’s degree that I graduated with, and I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go, ” Holt said after the ceremony. “So, I figured I would apply for this program, and if it worked out that would be the way I’d go, if not it just wasn’t meant to be.”
There is some history of service in his family, too. His dad served in the Navy and his older brother is currently serving in the Air Guard.
Plus, being born and raised in Juneau means Holt is familiar with the Coast Guard.
“I’ve known a lot of people in the Coast Guard, and they’re all wonderful people,” Holt said.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Matthew Bell Jr., District 17 Commander, who spoke at the swearing-in ceremony attended by Holt’s family and some UAS staff said Holt’s application stood out from the field, and he was pleased Holt would be the first CSPI recipient at UAS.
Bell said the Coast Guard has a way of making give-it-a-shot decisions like Holt’s into career-defining ones.
“For most of us, you’re doing this because it’s a calling to do something a little higher than yourself, and you’re stepping up. Usually you find that the camaraderie of the people and places you go sucks you in for forever,” Bell said.
Bell shared his story of how a planned four-year commitment turned into 35 years and counting as an example.
“I came in, and I was going to do four years, and I kind of forgot to get off the bus,” Bell said.
CSPI at UAS
University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor Rick Caulfield said the program is the result of a partnership between the university and the Coast Guard about a year and a half ago.
“We’re really thrilled to be able to recognize Logan today,” Caulfield said.
He said he isn’t sure how popular the scholarship program will be at UAS because it applies to a slim slice of the student body, but he expects it will appeal to some.
“If we had a handful at any one time, it’d be terrific,” Caulfield said.