Student Incentive Payment FAQs

Question:  Must I apply for U.S. Navy SSO Midshipman status in order to be selected to receive Student Incentive Payments (SIP)?
Answer:  Yes.  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.
Question:  How is SIP paid to participants?
Answer:  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.
Question:  When does the enrollment period begin?
Answer:  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.
Question:  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?
Answer:  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.
Question:  What happens if I resign or disenroll from school during or after entering the fifth semester of receiving SIP?
Answer:  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.
Question:  Once I disenroll or resign from school, may I reclaim my SIP upon subsequent re-enrollment?
Answer:  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.
Question:  Once in the SIP Program at a SMA, may I transfer to another SMA and remain in the SIP Program?
Answer:  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.
Question:  What types of jobs will satisfy the employment obligation once I graduate?
Answer:  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



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