CCAC among first 30 institutions named a ‘Guard-Friendly School’
PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County has been named a Guard-Friendly School by the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS). Of the more than 480 schools eligible as recipients of Pennsylvania Education Assistance Program (EAP) funds, CCAC is one of just 30 institutions of higher education to receive this inaugural designation during the 2019 PNGAS Awards Celebration in November.
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. EAP funds cover Pennsylvania National Guard members’ full tuition less fees. In the fall semester, 29 CCAC students received the benefit. Daniel Duffy, executive director of Military & Veterans Services, attended the PNGAS conference in Lancaster, Pa., to accept the award on behalf of the college.
“This award affirms CCAC’s unwavering commitment to our military and veteran students, including those who are members of the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Duffy. “They can focus on the mission and not worry about the impact it may have on their education because they know we’re here to support them so they can continue their studies once they return.”
For many years, the EAP has been the top recruiting tool for the Pennsylvania National Guard. Since its inception, Pennsylvania has distributed more than $281 million through the EAP so Guard members can get college, university and trade school degrees. The EAP provides a tuition benefit equivalent to the yearly tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) so that members of the Pennsylvania National Guard can attend one of 488 Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) approved schools.
“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 Brigadier General (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 are deserving of recognition.”
Currently, approximately 515 veterans and dependents are enrolled at CCAC. The college’s Office of Military & Veterans Services provides personalized and caring support to CCAC student veterans during their transition from military service to college life. The office helps veterans, active duty and guard members navigate CCAC and provides assistance with both VA and state educational benefits as well as gives military- affiliated students the tools to succeed academically and personally. CCAC’s Military & Veterans Services also increases campus awareness of student veteran issues, advises the student veterans club, and fosters a sense of camaraderie, community and well-being for all student veterans on campus. To learn more about military and veteran resources at CCAC, go to ccac.edu/military. To learn more about the PNGAS, visit pngas.org.
Photo: Daniel Duffy, executive director, CCAC Military & Veterans Services, is congratulated by Brigadier General (Retired) George Schwartz, chair, PNGAS Education Action Council.