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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy Admissions Process Assessment

USCGA, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, United States Coast Guard


The U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), located in New London, CT, is a four-year, tuition-free federal service academy that prepares its cadets physically, intellectually, and ethically for careers in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Graduates earn a commission as an Ensign and are obligated to serve five years in the service. Cadets can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in one of nine engineering and professional majors while also participating in intercollegiate and club athletics, music, community service, and other extracurricular activities.

Project Description

Section 8272 and Section 8274 of the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021, required the Secretary of Homeland Security to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct two discrete one-year studies focusing on the USCGA. The first study, completed in February 2022, assessed the USCGA’s cultural competency. This study assessed USCGA’s admission processes and concluded in May 2023.

The admissions assessment included:

  • A study of the process USCGA uses to identify candidates for recruitment, recruit applicants, assist applicants in the application process, evaluate applicants, and make admissions decisions.
  • A discussion of the consideration during the admissions process of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and geographic origin.
  • An overview of the admissions processes at other Federal service academies, including a discussion of diversity and analysis of how the congressional nominations requirement impacts those processes and overall student demographics.
  • A determination regarding how a congressional nomination requirement for CGA admissions could impact diversity among the student body and the ability of the USCG to effectively carry out the Service’s primary duties.​
  • Recommendations for improving USCGA admissions processes, including whether a congressional nominations process should be integrated, and for restructuring the admissions office to be headed by a civilian with significant relevant higher education recruitment experience.

Click the button below to view the Final Report.

Final Report


The report offers seven recommendations grouped under three chapters: Congressional Nomination, Organizational Issues, and Other Actions. The report also provides a review of the current state and a 10–15-year outlook of the candidate pool.


If you have any questions or comments regarding the study, please contact, Brenna Isman, Director of Academy Studies (

Study Fellows