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Governor Tom Wolf Celebrates ‘PA GI Bill’ During Penn State Visit

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stopped by Penn State’s Old Main Tuesday afternoon to celebrate and laud the state’s Military Family Education Program, which is known as the “PA GI Bill.”

Wolf was introduced by Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi, who met with Wolf before the press conference and voiced her support for the bill.

“[My husband and I] decided very early on that my cause would be to work with our military families,” Bendapudi said. “Military science and training have a very, very important place in our [Penn State] curriculum…we do support military families.”

The PA GI Bill, which was signed into law in July 2019, provides 10 semesters of no or reduced-cost education to the family of PNG members who re-enlist for six additional years of service. Bendapudi reported that more than 30 Penn State students currently take advantage of the program.

Wolf said that Pennsylvania was the first state to extend education support to military family members. The governor thanked members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly for hastily bringing the bill to his desk in a “bipartisan effort.”

“I’m proud that I was governor at the time to sign this bill. And I’m proud of the excellent colleges and universities here in Pennsylvania — including the only Land-Grant University in the state — that are helping our military families,” Wolf said. “Education is the cornerstone of a good life. It’s also the cornerstone of our Commonwealth.”

The bill passed unanimously with bipartisan support in both chambers.

State Sen. Lindsey Williams, who was a prime sponsor of the legislation, also spoke to the handful of folks gathered in Old Main. She said being able to do things like this is “why [she] ran to be a senator in the first place.”

“Every time I get to hear a story about and how it is helping people, it just means the world to me,” she said.

Staff Sgt. Kiara Rivera-Coia and her wife became the newest PNG members to share their stories with Sen. Williams. Rivera-Coia was one of about a dozen military members — most of whom are Penn State students and alums — gathered in Old Main.

“It was an easy decision to re-enlist for another six years so that our one-year-old son can use the MFEP program,” Rivera-Coia said. “This education benefit has helped to give both of us peace of mind.”

To date, 2,879 Pennsylvania Army and Air Guard members have enrolled in the program, registering 3,357 of their dependents as well.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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