HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)– The Pensylvania GI Bill is the first of its kind in the country and is now available to provide Pennsylvania National Guard members’ families with higher education funding.

Gov. Tom Wolf will gather Monday with Pennsylvania National Guard members and lawmakers to encourage those eligible to take advantage of the program.

Under the law, Guard members who sign up for another six-year enlistment can get up to five years of free or low-cost tuition for their spouses or children who attend a state university.

National Guard members already have a program for free or low-cost college education for themselves.

Pennsylvania has the third-largest National Guard in the country. Supporters of the Pennsylvania GI Bill say this will go a long way in keeping the guard strong.

With the bill being the first program like it in the nation, it will serve as a model for other states looking to provide the same benefits to men and women in the service.

“Pennsylvania National Guard members historically serve without hesitation when called upon to protect our freedom, and so do their families,” Wolf said. “Incredible sacrifices are made abroad and at home when a member of the PNG is deployed. This educational benefit is a way to show families that their support and sacrifices are noticed and appreciated, and they can now pursue higher education without the burden of debt.”

To be eligible, a National Guard member must have completed their initial service obligation in the Pennsylvania Guard and have extended/reenlisted for an additional six years of service on or after July 1, 2019. 

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, go to Military Family Education Program