MCCC named as PNGAS Guard-Friendly School

By Diane VanDyke
Montgomery County Community College was one of 30 schools named as a PNGAS Guard-Friendly School.

Montgomery County Community College was one of 30 schools named as a PNGAS Guard-Friendly School.

Montgomery County Community College is one of only 30 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to earn the inaugural PNGAS Guard-Friendly School designation by the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations.

Developed by the PNGAS Education Advisory Council, the PNGAS Guard-Friendly School standards were designed to recognize colleges, universities and trade schools that meet or exceed 10 baseline criteria to create a supportive learning environment to assist members of the Pennsylvania Guard pursuing post-secondary degrees.

Of the 480 schools eligible for the designation, only 30 were selected, by PNGAS, and MCCC was one of only three community colleges selected. The other community colleges were the Community College of Allegheny County and Harrisburg Area Community College.

Matt Benko, MCCC’s Manager of Veterans Affairs, attended the ceremony on Nov. 8 in Matt Benko receives PNGAS Guard-Friendly School awardLancaster, Pa., to receive the award.

“The PNGAS Guard-Friendly School designation acknowledges that MCCC provides a supportive environment for members of the Pennsylvania Guard who are earning their degrees and credentials while serving our country,” Benko said. “At MCCC, student success for all of our students is our top priority, and we want our Guard members and families to know about and use the benefits available to them.”

Through the Education Assistance Program, Pennsylvania National Guard members can receive a tuition benefit equivalent to the yearly tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. This allows Guard members to attend one of 488 Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency approved schools. Presently, the EAP is an almost $32,000 tuition benefit for each Guard member.

Furthermore, with the July 2019 enactment of the Military Family Education Program, there is a 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 six-year term. Next year, the MFEP will be an almost $32,000 tuition benefit for spouses and/or children of a Guard member that reenlists for six years.

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