6 More Schools Named A PNGAS Guard-Friendly School

Tuesday, April 6th 2021

Guard-Friendly School

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The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS) are pleased to announce six (6) more colleges, universities, and trade schools have earned the PNGAS Guard-Friendly School designation. Developed by the PNGAS Education Advisory Council, the PNGAS Guard-Friendly School standards were designed to recognize colleges, universities and trade schools which meet or exceed ten (10) baseline criteria that create a supportive learning environment to assist members of the Pennsylvania Guard pursuing post-secondary degrees.

Community College of Philadelphia
Wilkes University
Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
American Military University
Waynesburg University

“More than ever, the past year has demonstrated Guard members have unique responsibilities, and this creates different challenges for them when pursuing a degree,” stated Joseph E. Dagney, M. Ed., MSgt, Retired, USAF/ANG, School Counselor, Central MontCo Technical High School, and Chairman of the PNGAS Education Action Council. “These schools have made a deliberate effort to be flexible, accommodating, and supportive of Guard members, and it’s very appreciated. The PNGAS Guard Friendly School designation is a win-win-win!”  

For many years, the Education Assistance Program (“EAP”) has been the number #1 recruiting tool for the Pennsylvania National Guard.  Since its inception, Pennsylvania has distributed more than $300 Million through the EAP so Guard members can get college, university, and trade school degrees. The EAP provides a tuition benefit equivalent to the yearly tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) so that members of the Pennsylvania National Guard can attend one of 488 Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) approved schools. Presently, the EAP is a nearly $32,000 tuition benefit for each Guard member.

With the July 2019 enactment of the Military Family Education Program (MFEP), there is now a non-lapsing fund providing EAP-like tuition benefits to spouses and children of members of the Pennsylvania National Guard when a Guard member re-enlists for another 6-year term too. The MFEP is a nearly $32,000 tuition benefit for spouses and/or children of a Guard member that reenlists for 6-years.

As state and national emergencies and global warfare become increasingly sophisticated, technology-driven, and complex, having a well-trained and educated Guard force is more strategic and valuable than ever. 

“We are very confident the designation, PNGAS Guard-Friendly School, will keep producing immediate and long-term benefits and synergies for students, faculty, alumni, PNGAS members, veterans, their families, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its economy,” Kathleen Fabrizi, Executive Director, PNGAS, and the Pennsylvania National Guard Foundation.

In 2016, to help optimize taxpayer dollars and increase the positive impacts of the EAP program for Guard recruitment and retention, PNGAS started collecting and sharing best practices among K-12, colleges, universities, trade, certification and training schools. By promoting and championing best practices, dozens of schools began improving many aspects of their relationships with members of the Guard and Veterans. In 2018, PNGAS formed the PNGAS Education Action Council (EAC), now chaired by Joseph Dagney to jumpstart these initiatives.

The PNGAS Guard Friendly School application, designation and logo were designed to showcase and promote the schools that meet and exceed the ten standards adopted by PNGAS. 

To date, the PNGAS board approved the 48 self-nominated institutions as PNGAS Guard-Friendly Schools.  Only these schools have earned the right to be designated a PNGAS Guard-Friendly School. 

PNGAS is a non-profit organization, not associated with or legally connected to the Pennsylvania National Guard, the state or federal government, the US Military or the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. No taxpayer funds are used in support of PNGAS.