*Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by Kelly S. Hughes.
BLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY—Military students of the Air and Army National Guard attending BU during 2018-2019 have another viable resource to pay for tuition.
The Pennsylvania Educational Assistance Program provides up to $3,746 per semester for 10 semesters, according to State Rep. Francis X. Ryan (R-Lebanon).
“Presently, we have a $12.5 million allocation in the Pennsylvania state budget for EAP. The program provides a tuition award equivalent to the annual tuition rate of the State System of Higher Education Schools,” Ryan said.
In 2016, the number of military students of the Air and Army receiving EAP funding at Bloomsburg University increased 30 percent and the EAP dollar-distribution increased 30 percent according to Patricia L. Stockalis, financial aid officer, Bloomsburg University.
“More recently, 86 BU students were funded $311,665 during Fall 2017; and 81 students were funded for $296,156 for the spring semester,” added Stockalis.
The dollar amount for EAP increases due to the tuition increase each year. “Most recipients are full time and receive the equal full time EAP award,” said Stockalis.
Deandre T. Wright, 22, a full-time student at BU and Army National Guardsman, has paid for his tuition through the EAP Program for three years.
“Thanks to EAP, my financial obligation is reduced to my university,” said Wright, a senior who is majoring in marketing at BU’s Zeigler College of Business.
“As far as the Guard experience, it gives me responsibility and trains me in some areas you don’t learn from books, such as leadership,” added the 2013 J. P. McCaskey High School graduate from Lancaster, Pa.
“The state-funded program provides tuition assistance to Air and Army National Guard members to attend a qualified higher education institution in Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is one of them,” Ryan added.
Ryan was among several state leaders who attended the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations annual Higher Education Breakfast program held April 4, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pa. The PNGAS-hosted event focused on several priorities, including helping to support the state budget allocation for EAP.
“EAP is such a great option. We had 16 members attend Bloomsburg University and use EAP this school year,” said Master Sergeant Erica L. Urey, Pennsylvania Air Guard recruiting and retention manager.
The application for Air Guard and Army National Guard students applying for EAP at BU is: June 30, 2018.
Students interested in becoming members of the Air and Army National Guard should contact:
Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Technical Sergeant Heather M. Kane at 717- 678-8527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant Steven Beisner at 570- 301-3954, email@example.com, on Facebook: paguard.beisner and Instagram: ssg_beisner.