Wilkes University has been named a Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS) Guard-Friendly School. PNGAS is a nonprofit whose mission is to support the men, women and veterans of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The list recognizes the colleges, universities and trade schools that create a supportive learning environment for Guard members and their family members who are pursuing post-secondary degrees.
Wilkes was among six Pennsylvania colleges and universities recently named a PNGAS Guard-Friendly School. With these recent additions, there are now 48 institutions recognized as PNGAS Guard-Friendly Schools. Wilkes is the only school in Luzerne County on the list.
Lt. Col. Mark Kaster (retired), Wilkes University’s veterans counselor, said the recognition is rewarding, considering Pennsylvania Guard members and their families live and work in the local community.
“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference; Pennsylvania Guard members don’t have that problem. They are the helping hand in a natural disaster. They deploy to provide security. They lead the relief effort in a world-wide pandemic. Always ready, they make a difference every day. I’m proud that Wilkes University serves this important community. We continue to be dedicated to their academic success,” said Kaster.
“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, 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.”
Wilkes was recently named a Military Friendly® School by G.I. Jobs magazine for the eleventh consecutive year. In 2020, Wilkes was among the best online military-friendly colleges as named by OnlineU. Wilkes was ranked 37th in the nation by the web site which highlights the schools that are dedicated to serving the unique needs of military service members, veterans and their families. These designations come as a result of the University’s support services designed to aid veterans in their transition to academic life.
For many years, the Education Assistance Program has been the number one recruiting tool for the Pennsylvania National Guard. Since its inception, Pennsylvania has distributed more than $300 million through the Education Assistance Program so Guard members can earn college, university and trade school degrees. The Education Assistance Program provides a tuition benefit equivalent to the yearly tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education so that members of the Pennsylvania National Guard can attend one of 488 Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency approved schools. Presently, the Education Assistance Program is a nearly $32,000 tuition benefit for each Guard member.
PNGAS is a non-profit organization, not associated with or legally connected to the Pennsylvania National Guard, the state or federal government, the U.S. Military or the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. No taxpayer funds are used in support of PNGAS.