In an emergency, contact 911

Listed below are the points of contact for further assistance or guidance on matters related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, suicide prevention, and equal opportunity.  LT Darrell Sands is the DNS Staff Point of Contact for these programs (contact information below) and is more than happy to provide further guidance or answer any questions regarding these topics.  It is important to understand that all cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy are covered under Title IX.  Active duty military, reservists while on active duty orders, retirees, and dependents of the above also have the additional resources and options via the Department of Defense programs.  Midshipmen within the SSMP are normally provided resources via Title IX, unless they fall into one of the above categories or are on active duty orders for training.  Regardless, any of the contacts below will not turn someone away, but will ensure that individual is safe and directed to the appropriate resources as applicable.

NOTE: MIDN within the program may contact their DNS Staff Academic Advisors by phone at ANY TIME with questions/concerns/issues.  If during normal working hours, individuals should reach out to LT Darrell Sands as the program point of contact.


National Organizations (non-federal entities):

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE/800-656-4673 (24/7 confidential counseling)
  • PreventConnect:
  • Men Can Stop Rape:
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network:

Massachusetts Maritime Academy Title IX

  • Campus Public Safety: 508-726-0798 (off campus); x1025 (on campus); or 911

Department of Defense

  • Safe Helpline:; 877-995-5247; 55-247 (text); Self Helpline App (iOS/Android); (peer support)
  • Military OneSource:; 800-342-9647 (24/7 phone)
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office:
  • US Navy Fleet and Family Support Services:

NAVSTA Newport, RI:

  • 24/7 Victim Advocate: 401-450-2327
  • Sexaul Assault Response Coordinator (SARC): 401-450-4212

DNS Staff (report cannot be restricted)


Massachusetts Maritime Academy Title IX

  • Campus Public Safety: 508-726-0798 (off campus); x1025 (on campus); or 911
  • Elizabeth Benway: 508-830-5086;; Harrington Bldg HR office

DNS Staff


  • Campus Public Safety: 508-726-0798 (off campus); x1025 (on campus); or 911
  • Counseling Center: 3rd CO, Main Deck (M,T, F 0830-1700, W, Th 0830-1800); x1480 (on campus);

NAVSTA Newport, RI:

  • Fleet and Family Support Center: 401-841-2283


DNS Staff


  • Navy EO Advice Line: 800-253-093; 901-874-2507;;
  • Navy Inspector General Fraud, Waste and Mismanagement Hotline: 800-522-3451;202-433-6743
  • NAVSTA Newport, RI Legal Office: 401-841-3766 ext. 203


Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP)


The Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP) is a unique type of NROTC Unit that is only offered at the seven maritime schools, and has several key differences.  Upon graduation, the SSMP allows students earning a Coast Guard License to be directly commissioned as an officer into the Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP), a specialized component of the Navy Reserve.  Formerly known as the Merchant Marine Reserve, the SSOP is a cadre of naval officers who are licensed merchant mariners with sealift, maritime operations, and logistics subject matter expertise.  The SSOP is called upon to provide integrated sealift operations in support of National Defense.

SSMP Midshipmen who commission into the Navy Reserve will have an eight year military service obligation.  The program also offers a limited number of opportunities to pursue an Active Duty commission.  These limited number of billets are based upon the current needs of the Navy and are not guaranteed.  If selected for Active Duty, the military service obligation is dependent upon the community.

Once commissioned into the Navy Reserve, Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP) Officers serve in an Active Reserve status as either Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or Selected Reserve (SELRES), with the majority of members falling under the Individual Ready Reserve.  Strategic Sealift Officers are reservists who serve on periods of active duty to support both afloat and shore-side military and reserve fleet operations that call for the training and experience of Merchant Marine Officers.  While most members of the SSOP work in the maritime industry in their civilian career, it is not a requirement of the program.

The following provides a brief overview of what a typical Midshipman can expect during their time in the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program through commissioning.

Each semester (regardless of year)

  • Maintain both term and cumulative GPA greater than 2.5
  • Attend all routine Battalion events:
    • Military Lab (NS-1111, 0 credits): Mondays 1600 - 1800
    • Battalion Physical Training: Wednesdays 0600 - 0700
    • Military Drill and Rifle Training: Fridays 0600 - 0700
  • Support, as directed, additional scheduled Battalion events, such as:
    • Community service (typically one Saturday in a semester)
    • Battalion social events (typically one per semester)
    • Army vs. Navy flag football game (each fall)
    • Navy Birthday observance (each October 13th)
    • Open House events (as scheduled by the Academy)
  • Pass official Physical Fitness Assessment (minimum of Good-Low for 20-24 age group)
  • Complete Navy 3rd class swim qualification (repeat until qualified; successful qualification required to commission)
  • Complete Navy 2nd class swim qualification (repeat until qualified; successful qualification not required to commission)

First year students

  • Preliminary selections are made in September of Fall semester based on academic record and aptitude
  • Complete a DoDMERB physical examination to verify medical eligibility
  • Students must agree in writing to apply for, and accept if offered, a Reserve officer's commission
  • Complete participation in the Navy SSMP New Student Orientation (typically in October and separate from the Academy Orientation process)

Sophomore year

  • Pursue greater leadership roles within Battalion

Junior year

  • Begin active duty selection package, if applying
  • Pursue greater leadership roles within Battalion

Senior year

  • Complete all processing and apply for a commission
  • Pass the U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited License examination and meet all degree completion requirements.
  • Be commissioned at graduation as an Ensign in the SSOP, USNR or USN.
  • Must pass Navy physical fitness assessment and 3rd class swim qualification

Academic courses necessary in addition to degree requirements

  • NS-2111 - Naval Science for the Strategic Sealift Officer (NS-1)
    • Typically during First Year or sophomore year
  • NS-3111 - Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) I
    • Typically during sophomore or junior year
  • NS-4111 - Leadership and Ethics
    • Must be taken during the fall semester of senior year
  • NS-4211 - Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) II (Commissioning Seminar)
    • Must be taken during the spring semester of senior year

* These courses will satisfy free elective requirements.  NS-2111, NS-3111, and NS-4111 are 3.0 semester credit courses; NS-4211 is a 2.0 semester credit course.

To be eligible for this program, a student must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, be at least 17 but less than 25 years of age (upon enrollment at Massachusetts Maritime Academy)
  • Be enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree Program leading to a U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited License
  • Complete a Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) exam and be deemed medically qualified
  • Complete a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) with active duty staff at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (to include body fat assessment, push-ups, sit-ups, and 1.5 mile run)
  • Possess satisfactory records of academic ability and moral integrity, and demonstrate those characteristics desired of a Naval Officer
  • Demonstrate a 2.5 cumulative and 2.5 term GPA
  • Have no moral reservation or personal conviction that prevents the bearing of arms
  • Cadets currently enrolled at Massachusetts Maritime Academy enrolled in either Marine Engineering or Marine Transportation may join the SSMP any time up to and including Fall Semester Junior Year.

Once eligible, prospective members will compete amongst their peers for SSMP Midshipman status through an oral interview with Massachusetts Maritime Academy Department of Naval Science Active Duty Staff.


Be certain to read this page in its entirety before starting the application process.


The application and selection process for the SSMP is completely separate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Admissions process. SSMP applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis, however we highly encourage interested cadets to apply before the first Monday in October to be able to fully participate in all Battalion events for that academic year. If a cadet applies after the first Monday in October, they will not be able to participate in some required events until the next academic year. Interested candidates who have not yet completed an application are welcome to attend Monday Leadership Labs, physical training sessions, and other routine Battalion activities to learn, ask questions, and get a feel for what they can expect while in the program. 


  • Open House Events - As scheduled by Massachusetts Maritime Academy
    • DNS Staff and Midshipmen are available for questions and discussion
  • Accepted Student Day - As scheduled by Massachusetts Maritime Academy
    • DNS Staff will be present for both events for questions; will provide a briefing to interested students and parents.
  • Orientation 
    • DNS Staff will provide a briefing to all license track cadets to ensure 100% contact, with SSMP MIDN available to discuss the program from their perspective.  DNS Staff will also be available to discuss other commissioning sources and opportunities.
  • Application submissions deadline to participate in all events - Closes Oct 3, 2022 at 1600.
  • Interviews and Physical Fitness Assessments - By appointment only
    • The complete application must be submitted to the DNS Interested Applicant Coordinator Mr. Todd Franks at before an interview will be scheduled. 
    • Before the physical fitness assessment will be conducted (or any participation in Battalion activities), the applicant will need to have either a DoDMERB physical qualification or a recent sports physical (no more than 90 days old) on file with the DNS Interested Applicant Coordinator.
    • Interviews will be conducted either in person or virtually.


To apply for the SSMP, an applicant needs to complete the following:

  1. Full SSMP application package with supporting documentation
  2. DoDMERB medical assessment and qualification 
  3. Determination of sickle cell trait status. See additional amplifying instructions in medical assessment and qualification process.
  4. Physical Fitness Assessment
  5. Interview

The Department of Naval Science Staff will then review all applicants based on eligibility criteria, as well as their performance and interaction throughout the academic year.

When you have completed the application and gathered the additional documentation listed in the package, scan and send to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Department of Naval Science staff.  Once your package has been received and reviewed, a member of the Naval Science staff will contact you for any additional information regarding the medical qualification process, as well as scheduling the personal interview and physical fitness assessment.


The longest portion of the entire application process is the medical assessment and physical qualification.  The following is the typical sequence of events:

  1. The medical assessment process begins once an applicant submits the candidate information sheet (first portion of the SSMP Application Package) to the Human Resources Asst at
  2. The DNS Interested Applicant Coordinator will then enter this information into a database to create the individual’s account within the Department of Defense Medical Exam Testing System (DoDMETS). 
  3. Once the account is approved, the applicant will then be able to complete the required forms and make appointments with the assigned providers for a physical and optometry exam.
  4. Once both the physical and optometry exams are completed, the health care provider will forward this information to the Department of Defense Medical Exam Review Board (DoDMERB).  
  5. DoDMERB will review the initial information, assign to a case worker according to last name, and then make a determination of the applicant’s qualification status.
  6. If there is any additional information needed by DoDMERB to make a determination, a request will be made to the applicant for additional medical information (AMI).  
  7. Once DoDMERB has all the necessary information, a final decision will be made.  The candidate may be determined medically qualified or disqualified.
  8. If an applicant is found medically disqualified, the condition may be waiverable.  Note: Some pre-existing conditions are not waiverable.  
  9. Requests for DoDMERB waivers must be initiated by the unit (DNS Staff) at the discretion of the OIC, and only if the applicant is deemed competitive for selection.  Just because a condition is waiverable does not guarantee that the unit will request a waiver, or that a waiver request will be approved.   If the waiver request is approved by DoDMERB, the applicant will be notified to provide additional information for further review.
  10. After a waiver review is conducted, the applicant will be granted or denied a medical waiver for entry into the SSMP.
  11. The following are the acceptable laboratory tests for determining sickle cell trait status:
    1. Hemoglobin solubility- will report as positive or negative. Positive result requires follow-up testing via Hemoglobin electrophoresis.
    2. Hemoglobin electrophoresis. The result will report the percentage of normal hemoglobin cells (A) and sickle cells (S). If 45% or greater of HGB S, contact N92A as this is likely not compatible with service.
    3. High pressure liquid chromatography (HLPC). 
    4. Many states performed sickle cell trait screening as a part of the newborn testing. These results can be used in lieu of the above.


Once all application packages have been received, medical assessments started, physical fitness assessments are completed, and interviews conducted, the DNS Staff will assess each applicant based on their overall performance and demonstrated ability/potential to meet program and commissioning requirements.  Only qualified applicants who demonstrate the traits and characteristics of a future Naval Officer will be considered for selection.   

Each applicant will be notified of their status by personal notification and formal letter.

SSMP Midshipmen who commission into the Navy Reserve will have an eight year military service obligation.  The following is a list of the obligations and responsibilities of a commissioned Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO).  If an SSO fails to fulfill a program requirement, he/she may be placed into Inactive Status and dishonorably discharged from the Navy Reserve.


  • All Strategic Sealift Readiness Group (SSRG) members are required to complete 12 days of ADT each fiscal year (FY). ADT will be scheduled for all SSRG officers each FY between 1 October and 31 March.
  • Also required to liquidate DTS travel voucher within 5 days after departing from ADT.


  • Required to report current contact and civilian employment information.


  • Required to answer official correspondence, maintain NSIPS and inform SSO Program Office of all address, phone number, employment, and email changes.


  • Required to obtain a PHA every 365 days.
  • Includes height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, visual acuity, immunization status, labs, lipid screening, annual dental examination, and dental readiness.
  • Maintain and ensure Individual Medical Readiness (IMR) is accurate and current, to include immunizations/boosters/etc.


  • Required to complete one PFA per calendar year (1 January through 31 December).
  • Failure of the BCA or any individual portion of the PRT constitutes an overall failure of the PFA.
  • Includes:
    • Medical screening
      • PHA (must be current)
      • Physical Activity Risk Factor Assessment (PARFQ)
      • Pre-physical activity questions
      • Body Composition Assessment (BCA) - within height and weight standards
    • Physical Readiness Test (PRT)
      • Curl-ups for two minutes
      • Push-ups for two minutes
      • 1.5 mile run within prescribed time (or pre-approved alternative cardio such as elliptical, bike, or swim).


  • Must be Unlimited Tonnage/HP on Oceans.
  • STCW endorsement must be valid (OICNW or OICEW).

Please refer to OPNAVINST 1534.1 (series) for program compliance, guidance, instructions and warfare qualification requirement


  • SSMP Midshipmen do not qualify for ROTC scholarships.  However, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) offers the Student Incentive Pay (SIP) Program.  Please review the SIP page for more information.


  • NROTC produces active duty officers in the Navy and Marine Corps and gives academic scholarships to qualified Midshipmen.  The SSMP produces Navy Reserve officers in the SSOP and does not provide the opportunity for scholarships. 


  • If you are interested in the SSMP and want to start the application process, you can contact the Department of Naval Science (DNS) Administrative Officer / Interested Applicant Coordinator, or you can stop by the DNS office, Kurz 228.
  • Mr. Todd Franks
  • Office: (508)830-5022  


  • This is a very common concern for incoming freshmen.  Participation in our program requires 4 hours per week outside of normal academic schedule on a regular basis.  There may be an occasional week with an extra time commitment, however, we plan well ahead and you will be made aware in advance so that you can plan and communicate accordingly.  Most of our Midshipmen have found that their time management skills improved greatly and actually ‘found more time’ in their week for other activities.  DNS Staff also work with the Commandant of Cadets, Faculty, and other departments to mitigate overlapping time requirements.  Many of our Midshipmen are also members of at least one sport and are able to manage their time and commitments easily.  Again, DNS staff provide years of experience and many ‘tools’ to help those that may need to improve their time management and prioritization skills.


  • You must be cleared by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) in order to be accepted into the MMA SSMP.  You will receive information on how to complete this exam by DNS staff once you start the SSMP application process.  Seniors in high school may and are encouraged to complete the DODMERB exam before the start of their first term.


  • In order to be accepted into the SSMP, prospective Midshipmen must pass (“Good-Low” for 20-24 age group or better) the Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA), which consists of the Body Composition Assessment (BCA) and Physical Readiness Test (PRT).  High school seniors who have started the SSMP application process will be contacted by DNS staff towards the end of their senior year to schedule a PFA before the start of their first term at MMA.  Those high school seniors who are not able to complete a PFA before their first term will be able to complete a PFA during the first few weeks of their first term.  Current SSMP Midshipmen will be tested by DNS staff on a recurring basis.


  • To get the best information, contact the DNS Interested Applicant Coordinator using the information found on the SSMP Eligibilty and Application page, who will provide you with accurate and up-to-date material.  In short, you need to practice performing the PFA.  There is a short warm-up (about ten exercises to warm up the muscles and cardiovascular system); followed by performing maximum curl-ups within 2 minutes.  You will then get a 2 minute break, followed by performing maximum push-ups within 2 minutes.  You will then get a 5 minute break, followed by running 1.5 miles within the prescribed time period.  The test may not appear that demanding, however, many individuals struggle with the PFA if they are not prepared.  There are also rules regarding form and execution of curl-ups and push-ups that, if not performed correctly, will not count.  Depending on your current level of physical activity and fitness, you may need more time to prepare for this.  Proper diet and nutrition are also important to ensure that you are within the prescribed height and weight standards.


  • DNS staff will interview all prospective midshipmen.  The interview is generally the final step in the application process, and can be conducted before a student starts his/her first term.  The interview is a face-to face assessment method used to determine a candidate’s potential as a future Naval Officer.


  • Yes.  For entrance into the program, your high school/college GPA is weighed heavily.  Current midshipmen must maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and a 2.5 term GPA to be in “good standing”.  Failure to maintain academic standards will result in disciplinary action up to and including disenrollment from the SSMP.    


  • If at any point you decide to pursue a major other than Marine Transportation or Marine Engineering, you will no longer be eligible for the program.


  • This is a Reserve Officer program, but there are limited opportunities to apply for active duty.  There are a finite number of billets available, and the selection process is highly competitive.  Because an active duty commission is not guaranteed,  it is recommended that you pursue other avenues if you strongly desire to go active duty.


  • SSMP activities are very similar to that of NROTC.  Military/Leadership Labs are conducted on Monday afternoons for two hours.  Physical training is conducted Wednesday and Friday mornings before class.  Rifle Drill is conducted on pre-selected Fridays by the DNS staff during the morning PT block.  There is typically one community service event and one social event per semester.  Additionally, Battalion staff (senior midshipmen) and DNS staff provide General Military Training and instruction on the Navy Core Values during regularly scheduled meetings.


  • Midshipmen are required to complete four Naval Science courses: Naval Science for Strategic Sealift Officer, Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) I, Leadership and Ethics, and SSO II (Commissioning Seminar).  The first two courses are offered every semester and the last two are offered in the fall and spring of Senior year.  All courses taught by the Department of Naval Science are treated as normal courses by the Academy and most are worth 3 credit hours.


SIP is a Department of Transportation (DOT)/MARAD program, not a U.S. Navy or Massachusetts Maritime Academy program.  All SIP related requests and inquiries should be routed through the SIP Coordinator.  The following is an excerpt from the MARAD SIP Booklet (2019):

"You are enrolled at a State Maritime Academy (SMA) that is dedicated to educating and training individuals for employment as licensed officers in the U.S. merchant marine. The Federal Government takes an active role in the training of merchant marine officers to ensure there is a cadre of well-trained officers available at all times. These merchant marine officers are available during peacetime and national emergencies to support the national defense and the economy.  As an incentive to become licensed officers in the United States merchant marine, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD), provides a limited number of Student Incentive Payment (SIP) Program allocations to each of the six State maritime academies.  The eligible SIP students entering the SIP Program, called cadets, may be awarded Federal funding, and may earn up to $32,000 in a consecutive four year academic period.  The SIP Program, is governed under 46 CFR 310.7, and is a voluntary program designed to assist cadets in defraying the cost of tuition, uniforms, books, and subsistence in return for a specific service obligation by the cadet / graduate."


To be eligible for the SIP Program a State maritime academy student must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Meet the physical standards specified by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for original licensing as a merchant marine officer.
  • Be at least 17 years of age and not have passed their 25th birthday on the day of enrollment at the school.
  • Possess a secondary school education or equivalent, satisfactory for admission as an undergraduate to college under control of the State in which the school is located.
  • Meet the requirements established by the maritime academy in regard to secondary school grades, rank in graduating class, aptitude, achievement, and qualities of leadership.
  • Apply for, be offered, and have accepted Midshipman status in the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP) U.S. Navy Reserve (USNR).
  • Meet the physical standards of Department of Defense Medical Evaluation Review Board (DoDMERB) for Midshipmen status.
  • Be obligated to complete the Naval Science Curriculum at a SMA.

Service Obligation

SIP incurs a separate service obligation to MARAD, under the Department of Transportation.  The MARAD service obligation is in addition to, and concurrent with the service obligation to the Navy.  If you apply and are selected by a SMA to participate in the SIP Program, you must sign a Service Obligation Contract (SOC) MA Form 890 and it must be approved by MARAD.  If under 18 years old, your parent or guardian must sign your contract also. When you reach 18 years old, you will sign the SOC again without a parent or guardian’s signature. The Contract obligates you to:

  • Use the student incentive payment to defray the cost of tuition, uniforms, books, and subsistence;
  • Complete the course of instruction at a SMA leading to a maritime related bachelor’s degree;
  • Pass the USCG unlimited license examination for a license as an officer in the U.S. merchant marine prior to graduation;
  • Maintain a USCG Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) with a license endorsement and Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) endorsements.  
  • You must have a valid medical certificate, and a valid Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) for your MMC to be valid and each must be valid for at least six (6) years from the date of graduation;
  • Apply for an appointment as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve (Including the Strategic Sealift Officer Program, U.S. Navy Reserve), the USCG Reserve, or any other reserve component of an armed force of the United States.  If your application is accepted and a commission is offered, you must accept the appointment and serve for at least six years from the date of graduation and;
  • Maintain employment in the U.S. maritime industry for at least three years from the date of graduation in the following capacities:
    • As a merchant marine officer serving on U.S.- flag vessels;
    • As an employee in a U.S. maritime-related industry, profession, or marine science as determined by MARAD, if MARAD determines that employment under a U.S. flag vessel is not available;
    • As a commissioned officer on active duty in the armed forces of the United States or as a commissioned officer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps or the Public Health Services;
    • By combining the employment options specified in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above.

The maritime-related employment option may be used only when the Maritime Administrator determines that sailing jobs are not available, and the cadet has shown that he/she has actively sought afloat employment.  MARAD must approve a SIP prospective graduate or graduate’s Employment Determination Request (EDR) form prior to beginning non-U.S. afloat employment or maritime ashore employment.

Application to the SIP Program

Note: Students may participate in the SSMP without receiving SIP, but in order to receive SIP you must be accepted into the SSMP and remain in good standing.

The SIP representative at Massachusetts Maritime Academy is CDR Colleen McRae, USNR ( CDR McRae can explain the SIP program benefits and will give details on how to apply.  You will also be given a date when Massachusetts Maritime Academy will stop accepting SIP applications.  After that date NO additional applications will be accepted for that year.

To be eligible to participate in the SIP program, you must be appointed as a Navy Midshipman. Massachusetts Maritime Academy will select the cadets to participate in the SIP program via the SIP representative and forward their names to MARAD for final approval.  Prior to the beginning of the first semester of SIP payments, you will be required to sign the following documents:

  • Maritime Administration Service Obligation Contract (SOC) for State Academy Midshipmen (MA Form 890);
  • Certification of Non-Delinquency on Loans or Other Accounts to the Fed. Government (MA-890 Addendum 1);
  • Certification of Compliance with Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988 for Grantees (MA-890 Addendum 2);
  • Application for the Student Incentive Payment Program;
  • U.S. Maritime Service (USMS) Enrollment Form (MA-1005);
  • The Application for the SIP Program (MARAD Letterhead);
  • Direct Deposit Form SF1199A-20 
  • Enlistment or Reenlistment Agreement, Armed Forces of the United States (DD Form 4/1).

Once the academy forwards MARAD the above signed forms, you have completed all SSMP requirements, and have passed the DoDMERB physical, MARAD can begin to process your enrollment into the SIP Program.

Breach of the Service Agreement Contract

Your service obligation begins when you sign the MARAD Service Obligation Contract.  Your first SIP payment will be provided after you sign the above agreements in the first year, if you are processed prior to the academic year.  You may withdraw your request to participate in the SIP Program during the application process period, prior to completion of your second year, or prior to receiving your 5th SIP payment,  before incurring the service obligation.

Any Midshipman who has received SIP for 5 semesters and fails to complete the course of instruction at that academy may be immediately ordered by the Secretary of the Navy to active duty in the U.S. Navy in an enlisted capacity to serve for a period of time not to exceed two years, or MARAD may decide to collect the educational cost afforded those students in breach.

You are in breach of your service obligation contract agreement by failing to:

  • Complete the course of instruction (resigning from school after the fifth semester of receiving SIP);
  • Pass the USCG examination for a license as an officer in the U.S. merchant marine;
  • Maintain a license (valid MMC with license endorsement, STCW endorsement) as an officer in the U.S. merchant marine for at least 6 years from the date of graduation; Maintain a TWIC for 6 years;
  • Apply for and accept (if offered) an appointment as a commissioned officer in the USNR or any armed force reserve component and serve for at least six years from the date of graduation;
  • Maintain employment in the U.S. maritime industry for at least three years from the date of graduation.

Deferment of Employment Service Obligation

If you decide to attend graduate school after graduation, you may apply for a deferment of your employment service obligation.  The State maritime academy must approve and make a  recommendation to MARAD.  MARAD may grant a deferment of  the employment service obligation for a period not to exceed two consecutive years, only for graduates considered to have superior academic and conduct records while at school, for the purpose of entering a marine or maritime-related graduate course of study at an accredited graduate school.  Your employment service obligation will begin from the date of completion of your graduate studies, but can not exceed two years.

An application for a deferment must be made through the Superintendent/ President of your school, who will forward your application together with his/her recommendation and an evaluation of your academic and conduct records, to MARAD for appropriate action.  All supporting documentation that describes the marine or maritime-related graduate program from an accredited school shall accompany your request.  MARAD will notify you of the action taken on your request.  Request for Deferment Forms may be obtained from MARAD.  Deferment of your employment obligation to attend graduate school does not defer your Navy Reserve obligation.  You must contact the SSOP Office directly, if you are requesting a waiver for your reserve service obligation.

Waivers of the Service Obligation

Waivers of all or part of the service obligation may be granted in cases where there would be undue hardship or impossibility of satisfying the obligation due to accident, illness, or other justifiable reason as determined by MARAD.  Applications for approval of a waiver must be made to:

Maritime Administration
Maritime Workforce Development (MAR-650), Compliance Specialist
1200 New Jersey Ave.,  SE
Washington, DC 20590,

Request for Waiver forms may be obtained from the MARAD website.  You will receive notification from MARAD of the action status on your waiver request.  Waivers for your Navy Reserve obligation must be made directly to the SSOP.

Reporting Requirement

After graduating from a SMA you will be required to submit an Annual Service Obligation Compliance Report to MARAD.  The Annual Service Obligation Compliance Report is normally required for a total of 7 years or until all components of your service obligation are fulfilled.  This report will include the following:

  • Your current address; and email
  • ​Your Reserve Commission status for 6 years;
  • Whether you renewed or upgraded your U.S. Coast Guard license, date renewed or upgraded, and
  • Your employment status for that prior year, required for three years.

Complete and submit your MARAD annual report electronically via the MARAD Maritime Service Compliance System (MSCS) through the internet using at the following website:  Any questions regarding your obligation or reporting contact the MARAD Compliance Specialist at or 202 366-7618.

The first report will be due to MARAD between January 01 – March 01, following your date of graduation, and annually thereafter between January 01 – March 01 until the fulfillment of all your service obligation.  If you have been granted a deferment of your obligation to attend graduate school, you must still report annually to MARAD, indicating that you are actively enrolled in graduate school.  At the completion of the deferment, which is a maximum of two years, you will be required to report to MARAD until the fulfillment your  service obligation.  The Maritime Administration Service Obligation Compliance Report may be obtained from the Maritime Administration if you are unable to enter the information via the above website.

*Students may participate in the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program without receiving SIP, but in order to receive SIP you must be accepted into the SSMP and remain in good standing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Must I apply for U.S. Navy SSO Midshipman status in order to be selected to receive Student Incentive Payments (SIP)?
    • Only those students who apply and are accepted into the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP) will be considered eligible for SIP.  The SIP Program is a Department of Transportation (DOT) Program that provides funding to SMA students.  The DOT Program is available to SMA students that want to be in the SIP Program and who pass the requirements, and accept the DOT MARAD service obligation.
  • How is SIP paid to participants?
    • The DOT MARAD SIP funding is currently provided at the beginning of each semester of the academic year to the account specified on the participant’s direct deposit form.  The total annual funding is $8,000, which is $4,000 each semester.  This is deposited directly into your bank account.
  • When does the enrollment period begin?
    • The SIP enrollment normally begins the Fall semester at each SMA, when you sign the Maritime Administration Service Obligation Contract and enrollment documents (including the SSO/USNR Agreement and Navy documents), and when it is approved by MARAD.  During the enrollment period, you will also be required to accept U.S. Navy Enlisted Reserve status and pass USCG and DoDMERB physicals.
  • What if I don't pass the physical examination given by the U.S. Navy  or USCG prior to the beginning of the academic school year?
    • Your SIP application will not be approved.  Only those Midshipmen who are physically qualified to participate in the SSMP and are able to obtain a USCG Unlimited Merchant Mariner Credential will be eligible for SIP.
  • What happens if I resign or disenroll from school during or after entering the fifth semester of receiving SIP?
    • The school will notify MARAD of your disenrollment/resignation.  MARAD will then review your record and the circumstances of the disenrollment / resignation to determine if you have breached your service obligation.  Voluntary resignation from school constitutes a breach of the service obligation.
  • Once I disenroll or resign from school, may I reclaim my SIP upon subsequent re-enrollment?
    • No.  Once you are disenrolled or resign from school, you may not reclaim your SIP upon subsequent reenrollment.  However, you may be granted a leave of absence without pay from the SIP program for up to one academic year, approved by the academy Superintendent or President, if you continue to meet all requirements for graduation, including age.
  • Once in the SIP Program at a SMA, may I transfer to another SMA and remain in the SIP Program?
    • Transfers will be reviewed by MARAD, after review and recommendations from the State maritime academies, on a case by case basis.  There is no guarantee of acceptance at another State maritime academy.
  • What types of jobs will satisfy the employment obligation once I graduate?
    • Your first obligation is to seek employment as a merchant marine officer sailing on U.S. flag vessels.  Any employment other than sailing on a U.S. flag vessel as an officer utilizing your Merchant  Mariner Credential (MMC), or active duty as an officer in the U.S. armed forces will require an approved Employment Determination Request (EDR) from MARAD prior to starting that employment.  The EDR form is on the MARAD website at
  • Will receipt of SIP affect my financial aid?
    • It could.  SIP is treated as an outside resource when it comes to financial aid and must be counted like any other outside scholarship that a student might receive.  Students are highly encouraged to speak with Student Financial Services to determine how this might affect their aid prior to committing to the program.