PORTSMOUTH-- Thousands of Coast Guard service members nationwide are breathing a sigh of relief, following a decision by the USCG Friday to reinstate its tuition assistance program.

The decision was made after Congress passed a bill Thursday, in which all other branches of the military, which happen to fall under the Department of Defense, reinstated their tuition assistance programs.

However, since the US Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, they were left without any help.

After it was excluded from Thursday's funding bill, Coast Guard officials announced their service members will be able to continue their education with tuition assistance.

'I'm ecstatic that tuition is coming back to military service members like myself. This will give me the opportunity I need to continue my college education,' said USCG Chief Petty Officer Nyx Cangemi.

According to the USCG, a total of 7,000 service members enrolled in tuition assistance this year.

'I think we have over 300 members here attached to our unit and quite a few of those members use tuition assistance and of course were deeply saddened when we lost that tuition assistance initially,' said Jason Medina, a lieutenant education officer with the USCG.

Officials are now working on when the assistance will be reinstated.

'Previously it was $250 a credit hour per hour with a cap of $4,500 a year. What that will be now, under the new financial status we're under, we have no idea,' said Medina.

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