Reschenthaler Reintroduces Bill to Make College More Affordable for National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers

March 4, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) recently joined with Congressmen G.T. Thompson (PA-15), Tim Ryan (OH-13), and David Trone (MD-06) to reintroduce the Improving College Affordability for Our Guard and Reserve Act. This bipartisan legislation will provide more educational opportunities for our nation’s National Guardsmen and reserve personnel by allowing them to claim independent student status when applying for federal student aid.


 “Our nation relies heavily on our Guardsmen and reservists for overseas deployments, humanitarian crises, natural disasters, and other national security priorities,” said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler. “As a Navy veteran, I believe it is critical to our national security to provide ample educational opportunities to our men and women in uniform in order to compete against our adversaries. I am proud to join Congressmen Thompson, Ryan, and Trone to reintroduce this bipartisan bill that will expand access to federal student aid for integral members of our nation’s Armed Forces. I hope our colleagues will join us to empower more of our nation’s warfighters to pursue a higher education and achieve their academic goals.”


“Our brave National Guard members and reservists rise to the occasion at a moment’s notice and we should ensure there are ample educational opportunities as a thank you for their service,” said Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson. “The Improving College Affordability for our Guard and Reserve Act will provide these brave men and women the same chances for success as their active duty and veteran counterparts. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation.”


“This is common sense legislation that affords members of the National Guard and Reserve greater access to federal student aid resources. Of all the students that should have access to educational assistance, we have to ensure that members of the Armed Services aren’t unfairly shut out. I always have, and always will, advocate for greater educational opportunity – it is the key to success for every American,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.


"The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to challenge our communities for almost a year, and our National Guard has been there to support us every step of the way," said Congressman Trone. "Providing our National Guard with the financial resources to pursue a quality education is the right thing to do. I'm proud to rejoin this bipartisan effort in support of the men and women of our National Guard and Reserve."


"Our citizen-soldiers and airmen are independent enough to sacrifice their time, sweat or blood for their nation, yet our nation doesn't always consider them independent when it comes to their educational benefits," said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, NGAUS president. "We thank these representatives for their efforts to correct that oversight and ensure Guardsmen are afforded benefits on an equal footing with their active-duty counterparts."


Specifically, this bill would allow National Guardsmen and reserve personnel under the age of 25 to claim independent student status when applying for federal student aid. Under current law, only active duty servicemembers, veterans, and other individuals with limited circumstances can claim independent student status, which prevents parental income from being used to determine aid amounts when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.


According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of January 2020, there were approximately 211,000 members of the National Guard and reserve components under the age of 25 that did not qualify as a veteran or meet active duty criteria. This bill will expand opportunities so more junior sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen can access higher education, which is critical for the mission readiness of the Guard and reserves.


The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) has endorsed the bill.