Pennsylvania National Guard family college benefit touted
Pennsylvania’s Adjutant General on Friday urged state lawmakers to endorse a family education benefit for members of the state’s National Guard touted as the first of its kind n the nation.
Gov. Tom Wolf endorsed the concept of the Military Family Education Program or PA GI Bill, which has snared bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, in his 2020 budget proposal.
In letters to members of the Legislature, Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, adjutant general and head of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said the benefit, with an estimated price tag of $2.5 million a year, would be the first of its kind in the nation to allow eligible guard members to transfer their state education benefits to a spouse or child.
Carrelli touted the program as a re-enlistment benefit designed to aid families while improving the Guard’s retention rates
The state’s existing program provides Pennsylvania National Guard members with a non-transferable education benefit after six years of service. The new proposal would allow members to transfer that benefit, which covers 10 semesters of tuition capped at State System of Higher Education rates, to a family member after completing an initial six-year term and committing to a second six years of service.
“We hope that Pennsylvania lawmakers enact this legislation to support our families who serve and sacrifice right alongside our members in the National Guard,” said Carrelli, in a statement released Friday. “This strong, far-reaching benefit will help secure our families’ educational future and also greatly increase our retention which has eroded during many years of increased service across the Commonwealth and around the world.”
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .