National Guard recruiting office brings new opportunities for FHSU students

HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) The Kansas Army Guard officially opens a new campus recruiting office at Fort Hays State University. With that comes a big money-saving opportunity for students.

Tuesday, the National Guard announced it will offer generous financial aid to college students who join the guard, covering tuition.

Seth Kastle is a former Fort Hays State student who took advantage of financial assistance for college when he served in the Army Reserves. That assistance, he says was well below the level it is today.

"...I think back then I was getting $300 a month," he says. "A lot has changed since the early 2000s.

Now the National Guard can offer more to help members who are college students.

"the Kansas Legislature passed a bill that really allows 100 percent tuition and fees to be paid for those young men and women who are going to Kansas universities and want to join the National Guard," Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli explains.

The recruiting office at Fort Hays State is already generating interest from students.

"I think it's really intrigued some people and now they're going to start the recruiting," Fort Hays State University Student Body President Brad DeMers. "They'll be at local high schools, and now they'll be around Fort Hays State all the time. So I think a lot of students will be interested in this option."

It's an option, DeMers says, is mutually beneficial for the National Guard and Fort Hays State students.

"I think it's a really great option," he says. "You get to give back to Kansans, you get to get a degree, and it's free. "So I think it's really a win/win situation."

The Kansas Army National Guard requires a two-year commitment after high-school graduation to qualify for the financial aid.

“And the students receive great educational benefits as members of the Guard, not just in terms of tuition, but also because of the many great career opportunities we offer," Tafanelli says in a news release ahead of Tuesday's ribbon cutting for the new National Guard recruitment and retention center at Fort Hays State. "For just about any field of study they have as a student, you can find a correlating career in the Guard.”