An American flag backdrop with text stating Guard-Friendly School, 1 of 30 Educational Institutions Selected in PA, PA National Guard Association

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been selected, once again, for the Pennsylvania National Guard Association’s Guard-Friendly School designation.

IUP was selected for the designation in 2019, the inaugural year of the award, and has continued to be recognized with the honor since that time.

More than 480 educational institutions in Pennsylvania were eligible for the recognition; IUP is one of only 30 chosen for the designation.

Developed by the PNGAS Education Advisory Council, the PNGAS Guard-Friendly School standards were designed to recognize colleges, universities, and trade schools that meet or exceed 10 baseline criteria that create a supportive learning environment to assist members of the Pennsylvania Guard pursuing post-secondary degrees.

"It is a great honor once again to be recognized by PNGAS as a Guard-Friendly University,” Cory Shay, director of IUP’s Military and Veterans Resource Center, said. “At IUP, we take great pride in and have policies in place to protect our National Guard students, who often miss class due to drill and training. 

“Since the inception of the Education Assistance Program in 1982, which pays tuition and the technology fee for Guard members, IUP has received the second highest amount of EAP dollars in the state. This goes to show that IUP has had a long tradition of supporting the National Guard.”

PNGAS is a nonprofit organization, not associated with or legally connected to the Pennsylvania National Guard, the state or federal government, the US military, or the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Its mission is to support the men, women, and veterans of the National Guard and their families.

IUP opened its Military and Veterans Resource Center in January 2014. The Center provides both a physical space and a system that coordinates services, information, and guidance for military-affiliated students. The center is staffed by student workers who are veterans or military-affiliated.

IUP is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon program, a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 that allows US colleges and universities to enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.

More than 800 of IUP’s current students are active military, veterans, and military-affiliated. Since fall 2014, IUP has increased the enrollment of veterans and military-affiliated students by almost 70 percent. IUP has graduated 12 generals and one Navy rear admiral and one vice admiral.

IUP has one of the largest ROTC programs in the nation; IUP ROTC commissioned its 2,000th cadet in May 2015. IUP’s ROTC program was selected for the 2014 MacArthur Award, given to the top program in the country, and has won the Governor’s Trophy, presented to the most outstanding military science program at a Pennsylvania college or university, three times.

IUP has consistently been named by Military Times magazine as one of the nation’s “Best for Vets” institutions; in 2022, it was one of the top four public universities selected for the listing.