New Benefit for Families of Guard Members
HARRISBURG – Today, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law legislation championed by Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland and York) that would create the Military Family Educational Program, or “Pennsylvania GI Bill for Families.”
House Bill 1324 – the companion measure to Senator Regan’s Senate Bill 589 – provides five years worth of higher education benefits to the spouse and/or children of a Pennsylvania National Guard member who commits to serve another six years.
In 1996, Pennsylvania established the National Guard Educational Assistance Program. This Program provides men and women a free college education – based on the tuition rate at the State System of Higher Education – in exchange for a six-year commitment in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Since then, nearly 2,500 a year have taken advantage of this program.
“The Educational Assistance Program is working just fine and has helped make Pennsylvania the second largest Guard force in the nation, at 18,500 members,” said Sen. Regan, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee. “However, the Guard is having issues with retaining its senior officers. In order for us to maintain a strong National Guard over the next several decades, it is important that we retain these citizen soldiers beyond their first enlistment. The Pennsylvania GI Bill for Families will help in this cause.”
The Pennsylvania GI Bill for Families will enable men and women in the Guard to earn educational benefits for their spouse and/or children after completing their first service obligation and committing to serve an additional six years. This legislation, which was proposed by Governor Tom Wolf during his Budget Address, will be administered by PHEAA in conjunction with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“Knowing that the military is not just an individual commitment but a family commitment, this legislation supports our National Guard families, who are called on to sacrifice when their spouse or parent is training once a month or deployed.”
Contact: Taylor Wamsher, 717-787-8524, firstname.lastname@example.org