Maritime Jobs
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Texas A&M to Reduce Tuition For Merchant Mariner License Students

March 1, 2024

(Photo: Texas A&M University at Galveston)

(Photo: Texas A&M University at Galveston)

Texas A&M University at Galveston said it will reduce fees for current and future out-of-state students seeking a merchant mariner license from the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, in an effort that aims to help the maritime industry fill worsening labor gaps.

Texas A&M Maritime Academy students earn their U.S. Coast Guard license while completing one of several license-option four-year bachelor’s degree programs at Texas A&M at Galveston.

Effective September 1, under a new three-tiered fee structure approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, students from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Puerto Rico and Panama will save $300 per credit hour under in-state classification; students from Arkansas, New Mexico, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma will save $150 per credit hour under in-region classification. Students outside these regions will be considered out-of-region and see no impact on cost.

Gen. (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, president of Texas A&M University, said, “The fee waiver is a common-sense measure that will benefit recruitment efforts from our neighbor states on the Gulf Coast, soon helping to ease the pressure of the labor shortage in the industry.”

The merchant mariner workforce is declining as workers age and retire, and the industry continues to suffer from a lack of awareness and exposure. The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), responsible for America’s waterborne transportation systems, and the U.S. Coast Guard testified before Congress last year that the country is facing a national security crisis due to the workforce shortage that has only worsened post-COVID.

“The new fee structure demonstrates that we are listening to our industry partners and we are acting — Texas A&M is fully committed to helping recruit and develop qualified and skilled maritime professionals to fill these needs,” said Rear Adm. Michael E. Fossum, vice president of Texas A&M, chief operating officer of the Galveston Campus and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

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