HARRISBURG (July 1, 2019 – Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to provide tuition assistance to the spouse or children of those serving in the national guard, state Senator Andy Dinniman said today.
Under the PA GI Bill or Military Family Education Program, Pennsylvania National Guard Members who reenlist and commit to an additional six years of service can receive five years of higher education benefits, including no or reduced tuition, for their spouses and children.
Members and their families can begin taking advantage of the program, which unanimously passed the legislature and was signed into law as Act 32 today, this August. It is expected to benefit as many as 8,000 military families.
“The members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and their families make great sacrifices in service to our nation, the call of duty and the cause of freedom,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “This is just one small way of saying thank you, of supporting them, and of investing in the future of their families and our workforce.”
The program will provide for 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family members. The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
Currently, PNG members are eligible for the Education Assistance Program with their initial service obligation of six years that provides them a non-transferable educational benefit. More than 2,000 National Guard members are currently attending Pennsylvania colleges or universities under that program.
In addition to supporting military family members, this program would also improve retention and strengthen the national guard’s readiness. The Pennsylvania National Guard is the third largest National Guard in the nation with nearly 20,000 soldiers and airmen who reside in every county across the commonwealth.