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MARITIME ACADEMY ACT AMENDMENTS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 169
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON
MARITIME EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 1302, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. John M. Murphy, presiding.
Mr. MURPHY. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today, and the following 2 days, we will consider H.R. 8785, introduced by Mr. Hathaway, and H.R. 8328, introduced by Mr. Keith, et al., and H.R. 14367, introduced by Mr. Wolff. The latter two bills are identical. H.R. 8785 would amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 to increase the amount of assistance to such academies and to provide a minimum subsistence payable per student.
In short, the bill would raise the payment to these academies from $75,000 to $250,000 and change the ceiling of $600 payable per academic year per student to a floor of $600 per academic year per student.
H.R. 8328 and H.R. 14367 would amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 to require repayment of amounts paid for the training of merchant marine officers who do not serve in the merchant marine or Armed Forces.
Specifically, these two bills provide for a system whereby granted funds may be used to make repayable loans to the students up to $1,000 per academic year to defray the cost of uniforms, books, and for subsistence. The repayment aspect of these advances is contingent on service in a licensed capacity on a U.S.-flag merchant vessel or in the U.S. Armed Forces, and may be deferred and canceled depending upon length of time spent in these services.
As many may remember, extensive hearings were conducted by this special subcommittee in 1966 on the alleged maritime manpower shortage existing at that time. Since then, the complex of maritime schools has grown and the problems concerning them have become more acute-demanding attention, requiring questions and answers.
The above-mentioned bills before us for consideration relate to many of the problems and collateral issues affecting this maritime academic network of State, Federal, and union schools. (The bills and agency report follow :)
(H.R. 8328, H.R. 9174, H.R. 9826, H.R. 10188, H.R. 10430, H.R. 14367, 91st Cong., first
sess.) BILLS To amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 to require repayment of amounts
paid for the training of merchant marine officers who do not serve in the merchant marine or Armed Forces
Be it enaoted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 6 of the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 ( 46 U.$.C. 1385) is amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 6. (a) The Secretary may make grants to each academy or college with which he contracts under section 4 if such academy or college agrees to use the funds so granted to make, on behalf of the United States, repayable advances to its students, subject to the conditions provided for in subsection (b). Such repayable advances shall be made at a rate not in excess of $1,000 per academic year and shall be used to assist in defraying the cost of uniforms, books, and subsistence for such students.
“(b) (1) Each repayable advance shall be evidenced by a note or other written obligation wich provides that it will be repaid to the United States in equal installments over a period beginning nine months after the date on which the student ceases to pursue his course of instruction at the academy or college and ending ten years and nine months after such date, except that (A) installments need not be paid during any period, not in excess of four years, he is serving in a licensed cap::city aboard an American-flag vessel operating under the laws of the United States or in he Armed Forces of the l'nited States, and (B) such advance shall be cane led for service in a licensed capacity aboard an American-flag vessel operating under the laws of the l'nited States or as an officer in the Armed Forces of the United States at the rate of one-fourth of the total amount of such advance for each qualifying period of such service. Such a repayable advance shall be made without security and without endorsement, except that, if the recipient is a minor and the note or other evidence of obligation executed by him would not, under the applicable law, create a binding obligation, either security or endorsement may be required. For purposes of subparagraph (B), 'qualifying period of service' means eight months of service in the case of service in a licensed capacity aboard an American-flag vessel operating under the laws of the United States, and twelve months of service in the case of service as an officer in the Armed Forces of the United States.
“(2) The liability to repay any repayable advance shall be canceled upon the death of the person receiving the advance, or if he becomes permanently and totally disabled as determined in accordance with the regulations of the Secretary."
SEC. 2. The first proviso of section 12 of the Act of March 4, 1915 (46 U.S.C. 601), is amended by inserting before the colon at the end thereof the following: “or regarding repayment of a repayable advance made under section 6 of the Maritime Academy Act of 1958”.
SEC. 3. Section 216 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 (46 U.S.C. 1126), is amended by :dding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
“(g) Funds paid by or on account of a midshipman at the United States Mer. chant Marine Academy shall be deemed to constitute a repayable advance to such midshipman and such funds shall be d“ med to have been paid at the rate of $1,000 per academic year. The provisions ' f subsection (b) of section 6 of the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 shall be applicable to repayable advances referred to in this subsection to the same extent as such subsection (b) applies to repayable advances made under such section 6."
SEC. 4. Tie amendments made by this Act shall be applicable with respect to students who matriculate at a maritime academy or college after the date of enactment of this Act.
[H.R. 8785, H.R. 11325, 91st Cong., first sess.) BILLS To amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 to increase the amount of assistance
to such academies and to provide a minimuin subsistence payable per student Be it enaoted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) 'section 4 of the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 (46 U.S.C. 1383) is amended by striking out “$75,000," and inserting in lieu thereof “$250,000,”.
(b) Section 6(a) of the Maritime Academy Act of 1978 (46 U.S.C. 1385(a)) is amended by striking out “not in excess of $600" and inserting in lieu thereof "not less than $600”.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
Washington, D.C., October 20, 1969.
tives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Your request for comment on H.R. 8328, a bill "To amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 to require repayment of amounts paid for the training of merchant marine officers who do not serve in the merchant marine or Armed Forces,” has been assigned to this Department by the Secretary of Defense for the preparation of a report thereon expressing the views of the Department of Defense.
This bill would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to make grants to maritime academies or colleges to be used as repayable advances to their students of up to $1,000 per academic year to help defray the cost of uniforms, books and subsistence. Each repayable advance would be required to be evidenced by a note or other written obligation, providing for its repayment to the United States in equal installments over a period of ten years. Installments would not be required during any period, not in excess of four years, that the former student might be serving in a l'icensed capacity aboard an American-flag vessel or as an officer in the United States Armed Forces. In addition, the advance would be cancelled for such service at the rate of one-fourth of the total amount for each "qualifying period”. The term "qualifying period” is defined to mean eight months service in a licensed capacity aboard an American-flag vessel and twelve months service as an officer in the Armed Forces. The liability to repay the advance would be can'celled in the case of death or permanent and total disability.
The bill would also provide for attachment or arrestment of wages, if necessary to secure repayment of the advance, and would provide that funds paid by or on account of a midshipman at the United States Merchant Marine Academy constitute an advance at the rate of $1,000 per academic year and are subject to the same provisions for repayment.
The Department of the Navy, on behalf of the Department of Defense, defers to the views of the Department of Commerce with respect to this bill.
This report has been coordinated within the Department of Defense in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that, from the standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no objection to the presentation of this report for the consideration of the Committee. For the Secretary of the Navy: Sincerely yours,
JOHN D. H. KANE, Jr.,
Captain, U.S. Navy, Deputy Chief. Mr. MURPHY. For this reason, these hearings have been called at this time to consider these bills and to provide a forum for all elements of the maritime academic community to address itself to the issues.
To this end, as stated in the notice of hearings, we are expanding the scope of these hearings to a limited degree in order to examine also the extent and sources of financial support of the various schools and to examine curriculum and programs, particularly the feasibility of graduate programs in the maritime schools, especially with respect to such studies as oceanography.
In addition, we intend soliciting views with respect to the alleged problem of Maritime Academy graduates not serving in the merchant marine, either at all, or for brief periods following graduation.
We have the privilege of hearing as our first witness a member of the subcommittee and the full committee, of course, the Honorable Hastings Keith of Massachusetts.
Mr. Keith, will you now proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. HASTINGS KEITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS Mr. KEITH. We are all very proud of what is left of our merchant marine fleet, and we are particularly proud of the men who man those ships, and those of us who have maritime academies within our congressional districts are very much concerned that we continue to turn out the kind of men who can keep us in the forefront of the vanguard that follows the seven seas.
Just recently, I have had particular reason to be very proud of the graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. One of them has been made the Administrator of our maritime program, Andy Gibson, and another has just taken the Manhattan through the straits north of Canada, successfully opening those seaways to merchant shipping.
So, these men serve their Nation well.
Before I get into the substance of my remarks here today, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my great appreciation to Chairman Garmartz and subcommittee Chairman Tom Downing for holding these hearings. I know how busy the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee is, and am most grateful to both these distinguished men for their leadership in arranging for these maritime education bills to be considered.
My bill, H.R. 8328, embodies esssentially two major changes in current maritime education practices. The first is that it would raise the cadet subsidy from $600 to $1,000 per year. As you know, the current $600 figure was set in 1958. Since that time, the cost of living has risen substantially, and the cost of education has risen even more steeplymore than doubled, in fact.
And these higher education costs hit the merchant marine academies especially hard, since classes are held for 11 months a year, and the students consequently have no opportunity to work during the summer to help pay college costs. So it would seem to be a matter of simple justice to raise this subsidy to the more realistic level of $1,000 a year.
The second major innovation proposed in H.R. 8328, is to make the subsidy grant conditional on the cadet's actually going to sea in the merchant marine. Specifically, it requires the cadet to sail-either in the Navy or the merchant marine-1 year for each year he has received a subsidy.
If, after receiving the subsidy for 4 years, the cadet chooses not to go to sea, then the subsidy becomes a loan, repayable over a 10-year period.
This provision would insure that the Government will get something back for its money. It seems to me that if the taxpayers subsidize a merchant marine cadet for 4 years, and at the end of those 4 years the cadet chooses not to go to sea, then the whole purpose of the subsidy is lost.
The idea of repaying educational grants in this manner is not a new one. Students who go into the teaching field after leaving college, for example, are forgiven a certain percentage of their loans for each year they teach. And the Justice Department administers a program whereby police trainees are given education loans, which are canceled if the trainee devotes a certain amount of time to police work.
So there are certainly precedents for this principle, and I feel that it is appropriate to apply to the merchant marine. The whole purpose of the subsidy, after all, is to train men for service in the merchant marine-if they do not serve in the merchant marine, they should not be subsidized. Right now there is only a moral commitment to serve. I think the taxpayers are entitled to know that the money they spend to train merchant marine officers does just that—or is paid back.
This, then is the essence of my bill. I think it couples a sensible and necessary increase in cadet subsidies with a responsible rule to insure that the funds allocated produce the effect they were intended to produce—an increased professional merchant marine.
Let me close by once again expressing my thanks to the chairman of the full committee and of the subcommittee for holding these hearings. I know that those of us concerned with maritime education are very grateful to them.
Mr. MURPHY. Mr. Keith, we appreciate your statement. I know you spent time at the Merchant Marine Academy and the other Academies, and know that one of the problems is attracting the caliber and the type of motivated young men to those Academies.
Do you feel that anything is gained by the recent increase from 3 to 5 years in the term of active duty, or service required by the Academy after graduation?
Mr. KEITH. You are talking now about the military Academies?
Mr. MURPHY. No; I am talking about the Merchant Marine Academies,
Mr. KEITH. The Federal merchant marine. Do I think that anything is served by these graduates being required to serve for 5 years instead of 3 ?
Mr. MURPHY. Having a 5-year obligation as opposed to a 3-year obligation?
Mr. KEITH. I really haven't given this question any thought.
Mr. MURPHY. We had the military academy and the Air Force Academy raised from a 3-year to 4-year and then a 5-year obligation, and for some reason the Merchant Marine Academy has a 5-year obligation, and I felt to add this obligation and have a young man facing this obligation prior to the time he enters the academic course, giving him a total of a 9-year obligation was probably a deterrent on attracting the most capable young men whose career decisions would not be firmly formulated until, let's say, they were well into their academic 4 years.
Mr. KEITH. I would think it could have a deterrent effect, but I am not positive but what it might be in the national interest. It might deter some men who would otherwise take the course and get the study and get the instruction which is worth many thousands of dollars.
They would have to be pretty certain that they wanted to go to sea before they did it, particularly when it is raised from 3 to 5 years.
I would like to think, however, that it might well be in the national interest for them to have this kind of commitment, because you weed out some of those who are really taking advantage of the setup.
We certainly do it in the field of medicine, and it is to some extent comparable. This is a very difficult career. It takes a lot of dedication, and it is a very rewarding one.
So, I think it would cut both ways. I am sure that if, for example, in the military academies, you were going to remove any obligation, you