Senate Approves Mensch Bill to Increase Opportunities for Valley Forge Military Academy and College Cadets

HARRISBURG – The state Senate this week approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) to provide a pathway for Valley Forge Military Academy and College cadets to commission early into the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as an U.S. Officer in the Army.

Senate Bill 1194 would establish a Pennsylvania Military Academy Assistance Program to recruit, train, educate and retain cadets from Valley Forge Military Academy and College (also known as the Pennsylvania Military Academy), helping them become commissioned officers in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard through the Reserve Officer Early Commissioning process. Through this program, they would receive educational grants for military academy attendance to first attain an associate degree and military commission.
 

This program is based on current educational assistance programs which have been successful in allowing individuals interested in military service to obtain top-notch education while pursuing a path toward serving our country,” Mensch said. “Most importantly, the cost of this program can be absorbed by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, so there is no added cost on the taxpayers.”
  
In addition, the program would support attendance at a participating state university or provide partial funding to complete their undergraduate degree at any college or university within the commonwealth. “We are grateful to Senator Mensch for his leadership on this Bill,” said Colonel Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR, (Ret), president of Valley Forge Military Academy & College. “This is welcome news for those who seek a VFMC education and enables those planning to serve in the Pennsylvania National Guard to receive the financial support they need to do so.” Upon graduation from the military academy, the candidate would have an obligation to serve eight years as a commissioned officer.

“There are many positive outcomes of this bill,” Mensch said. “It will increase opportunities to attend Valley Forge Military Academy and College and boost the number of qualified commissioned officers in the Pennsylvania National Guard, in addition to ensuring that more graduates remain and serve in Pennsylvania.”

The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com. State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

Contact: Lidia Di Fiore ldifiore@pasen.gov 215-541-2388