HARRISBURG, PA — The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness (VAEP) Committee unanimously supported legislation drafted by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would award a free college education to the spouse or a child of a Pennsylvania National Guard member who reenlists for another six years.
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.
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.
“With my own military background, I know how important it is to value the men and women who step up to the plate and commit to defending the country we are all blessed to call home if we want them to continue making such tremendous sacrifices for all of us,” Barrar said. “It is my honor to offer this bill, and I look forward to its swift passage through the House.”
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.
After receiving unanimous support from the VAEP Committee, House Bill 1324 moves to the full House for consideration.
Representative Stephen E. Barrar, 160th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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