WYOMISSING, Pa. — Penn State Berks has been named a Guard-Friendly School by the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS). The college is one of just 30 institutions of higher education to receive this inaugural designation during the 2019 PNGAS Awards Celebration on Nov. 8.
Developed by the PNGAS Education Advisory Council, the PNGAS Guard Friendly School standards recognize colleges, universities and trade schools that meet or exceed 10 criteria that create a supportive learning environment to assist members of the Pennsylvania National Guard pursuing postsecondary degrees.
“The PNGAS Guard-Friendly School designation recognizes the supportive academic and social environment that Penn State Berks strives to provide to students who are members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, as well as all our student veterans,” stated Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk. “We value and support our students serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard as they balance their time between coursework and serving our country.”
The PNGAS board approved the 30 self-nominated institutions to be named as 2019-20 PNGAS Guard Friendly Schools for the 2019-20 academic year. Of the more than 480 schools eligible to receive Education Assistance Program funds, only these schools have earned the right to be designated a PNGAS Guard Friendly School.
“Guardsmen have unique responsibilities that active-duty troops and reservists do not have, and this creates different challenges for them when pursuing a degree,” stated Brig. Gen. (retired.) George Schwartz, chairman of the PNGAS Education Action Council. “These 30 schools have made a deliberate effort to be flexible, accommodating and supportive of guardsmen-students and deserving of recognition.”
About Penn State Berks
Currently, approximately 150 veterans and dependents are enrolled at Penn State Berks. The Office of Veteran Affairs on campus offers support to help with the transition from military life to the college environment, and assistance with making the transition from college to the workforce. The Office of Veteran Affairs also offers peer mentoring, VA certifying officials, college credit for military experience, a Student Veterans of America–Penn State Berks Chapter, veterans and dependents information workshops, and priority registration.
The Student Veterans of America–Penn State Berks Chapter received a $10,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation and Student Veterans of America (SVA) for its veterans center on campus, as part of their Vet Center Initiative. The grant was used to renovate space in the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building and turn it into a new student veteran center on campus. The lounge is a place where student-veterans can go between or after classes to study, eat lunch, socialize with other veterans, and learn about things like the GI Bill and VA benefits and health care.