News | Aug. 5, 2022

The Benefits of Family

By Tech. Sgt. Charles Johnston

Free college tuition for all New Hampshire National Guard spouses.

That’s the new service benefit, one previously reserved just for uniformed soldiers and airmen, signed into law this week with the passing of Senate Bill 360.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed the bill during a small ceremony Aug. 3 at the state military reservation’s Heritage Room in Concord. The event was attended by guardsmen, families, and bill sponsors to include state Sen. Sharon Carson of Londonderry.

“I’m well aware of what you folks go through every day, and I know how important your families are to you,” Carson said. “What a great thing to be able to do, to extend this benefit to your spouse and let them know that you’re in it for them as well.”

To qualify, guardsmen must have finished an initial service obligation of at least six years and then commit to a minimum four-year contract. While the benefit can be transferred back and forth between member and spouse, both cannot use it simultaneously.

New Hampshire Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities said the Granite State is only the second with this kind of education perk, an incentive he hopes bolsters reenlistments.

“We can’t do it without our employers or our families to support our part-time force,” Mikolaities said. “This is the first, direct, tangible benefit that we can give to each spouse to try to retain an all-volunteer force.”

Spouses may apply the tuition waiver to any state university or community college. It does not apply to private postsecondary schools.

“We’re very excited to welcome the spouses and members to our colleges,” said Shannon Reid, executive director of government affairs and communications for Community College System of New Hampshire. “Please come and work with us.”