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Sen. Cruz Celebrates Signing of Legislation to Increase Veterans’ Access to Scholarships for Maritime Academies Like Texas A&M Maritime

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued the following statement after President Biden signed into law the Changing Age-Determined Eligibility to Student Incentive Payments (CADETS) Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

The bill extends financial assistance to older cadets who attend the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, or one of the other five state maritime academies, and who commit to a post-graduation service obligation. Current age requirements for the federal Maritime Administration’s Student Incentive Payment Program prohibit cadets older than 25 from participating in the program. However, many former military veterans and service members attend these state academies, but are too old to qualify for aid. As a result, older student veterans do not qualify for the program.

On the importance of the CADETS Act, Sen. Cruz said:

“Our nation’s state maritime academies play an unseen and often underappreciated role in protecting our country’s national security and economic interests. Raising the age limit to receive financial assistance for those attending America’s prestigious maritime academies like Texas A&M Maritime will mean more opportunities for our nation’s veterans. I am proud that this bipartisan legislation has passed both houses of Congress and has been signed into law.”

Rear Admiral Michael Fossum, Superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy added:

“The CADETS Act is another great step to supporting our veterans and addressing the nation’s need for skilled mariners and maritime professionals. We’re grateful to Sen. Cruz, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, the entire Texas delegation and Congress for understanding the value in training and educating the next generation who desire to serve.”


Sen. Cruz is a tireless leader in supporting Texas military and veterans communities. In addition to the passage of the CADETS Act Sen. Cruz has delivered the following victories for Texas veterans:

1. Sen. Cruz introduced the bipartisan CADET Act to mandate an end to policies that forced female students in America’s military academies to either permanently withdraw from those academies or give up their children if they become pregnant.

2. Sen. Cruz uses the annual national defense appropriations process year after year after year after year to include dozens of reforms and amendments supporting America’s Armed Forces in their fight for freedom.

3. His amendments have dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars for military construction projects in Texas, fought Chinese infiltration of American universities, banned China and included Taiwan in Pacific military exercises, protected Europe’s energy security from Russian aggression, and supported space-based missile interception efforts to better protect the United States.

4. Sen. Cruz led the fight in support of Navy SEALs suing over the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and in support of the religious freedom of military service members.

5. Sen. Cruz led the fight to address long wait times for veterans, successfully passing an amendment requiring the VA Secretary to provide Congress with a plan to address the long wait times for veterans seeking health care at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

6. In 2018, Sen. Cruz introduced the Veterans, Employees, and Taxpayers (VET) Protection Act to ensure union activity does not undermine the service and care of our veterans and is not subsidized by taxpayers.

7. In 2021, Sen. Cruz introduced the VA AID Act to streamline U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs claims processing and ensure the appropriate benefits are sent to eligible low-income, senior veterans in a timely manner.

8. Sen. Cruz led Senate efforts to rename a Houston post office after Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén. The atrocious killing of Vanessa Guillen and subsequent investigations highlighted the problem of sexual assault and harassment in the military.

9. Sen. Cruz ensured B-1 bomber numbers were not reduced until B-21 bombers were ready to replace them.

10. Sen. Cruz authored legislation to help veterans more easily transition toward employment as merchant mariners. The bill was included in the FY2023 NDAA.