Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program Application

Apply by May 1st for the best chance of receiving Incentive Pay at the start of the Fall semester. Applications are accepted at anytime until Fall semester of Junior year. Due to training requirements, it is strongly encouraged that students begin participation as early as possible. Questions? Contact our Strategic Sealift Officer at

Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program Application

What is the SSMP?

The Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program is a pathway for US Coast Guard Unlimited License Track students (majors: MEO, MET, MSE 5yr, MTO) to join a unique component of the Navy Reserve, while receiving incentive pay for educational costs. This unique component is known as the Strategic Sealift Officer Force. Its members consistent entirely of Navy Reserve Officers who possess civilian mariner credentials. Why? To provide for emergency crewing and shore-side support of our country’s sealift requirements in times of national defense or emergency.

Individuals in the SSMP participate in unit events, take naval science courses, and are eligible to hold leadership billets in the unit. SSMP midshipmen must attend New Student Orientation.

Upon graduation, the service obligation is 8 years in total. During the first 6 years, 2 weeks of Active Duty for Training (ADT) must be completed per year. These ADT’s are scheduled by you, so conflicts with your commercial shipping career are minimized. Typical ADT’s include supporting government cargo ships, naval shipyards, and even attending schools to upgrade your mariner credentials. You will remain in a “inactive” status for years 7 and 8. After completing this obligation, you may decide to stay in for a full 20 years to earn a pension. During your time in service, you may also elect to do more than just 2 weeks of ADT. There are countless opportunities for voluntary Active Duty service ranging from 2 weeks, 30 days, 6 months, 1 year, and even 3 years! For details, contact our Strategic Sealift Officer.

Student Incentive Program (SIP)

To incentivize participation in SSMP, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) pays an incentive payment known as the Student Incentive Program (SIP). SIP issues $32,000 to each qualifying student in program. These funds are paid out over the course of a student’s 4 years at the Academy. The typical payment schedule is listed below.

  • Freshman Fall – $2,000
  • Freshman Spring – $2,000
  • Sophomore Fall – $2,000
  • Sophomore Spring – $2,000
  • Junior Fall – $6,000
  • Junior Spring $6,000
  • Senior Fall – $6,000
  • Senior Spring $6,000

Students who join after Fall semester Freshman year, but prior to Fall semester Junior year, will receive larger payments to award them the full $32,000.

Any participating student who receives no more than $8,000 and ceases participation at the conclusion of Spring semester, Sophomore year, will not be obligated to pay back SIP funds received. After Sophomore year, or after receiving more than $8,000, a student becomes obligated.

Due to training requirements, it is strongly encouraged that students being participation as early as possible.

In exchange of receiving the full amount of SIP, a student signs an agreement stating they will ship commercially on US Flagged vessels or apply for a waiver to work in maritime related industries. This commitment is for 3 years upon graduation.

Program Benefits

  • $32,000 Incentive Pay
  • Preference for Cadet Shipping billets
  • Provide Naval Science textbooks
  • Commission as a United States Naval Officer

Active Duty Option

During the Fall Semester of Senior year, a SSMP midshipman who desires to Commission into the Active Duty Navy, may submit a request package to do so. The communities available to transfer into include Surface Warfare, Submarine Warfare, Aviation, Special Warfare (SEAL and EOD), Supply, Intelligence, Crypto Warfare, Information Warfare, Civil Engineer, and more. For more information, contact our Strategic Sealift Officer.

New Student Orientation
Equipment on ship