HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation drafted by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would offer a free college education in exchange for a Pennsylvania National Guard member’s six-year reenlistment received unanimous support from the full House yesterday. The education could be shared with the member’s spouse and/or child.
The educational benefit could be used at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.
The family member could also choose to attend any institution of higher learning approved by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. If the approved institution costs less than the annual tuition rate charged by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the student would not pay anything. If it costs more than PASSHE’s annual tuition rate, the student would pay only expenses in excess of PASSHE’s annual tuition rate.
“In the next year, the Pennsylvania National Guard must recruit 2,300 new members to replace guard members who either completed their initial commitments or retired. Acquiring new personnel and training them presents an obvious challenge, but it can be diminished through incentives,” Barrar said.
Under the Military Family Education Program, a guard member may claim no more than five academic years or their equivalent. However, the member may split the benefit between multiple family members.
The guard member would be required to repay all or part of the grant payments made if he or she does not meet the six-year enlistment obligation, except in the cases of a line-of-duty death or disability.
“House Bill 1324 is a tangible way to thank the family members – the men, women and children who are forced to assume additional responsibilities while doing without their loved one – for their sacrifices,” Barrar added.
After receiving unanimous bipartisan support from the House 1324, the bill moves to the Senate for consideration.
Source: Stephen Barrar (R), Pennsylvania House of Representative serving District 160
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