January 15, 2013

Volunteer firefighters can get tuition aid

NEW YORK — Feb. 1 is the deadline to apply for tuition reimbursement through the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York’s educational initiative, the FASNY Higher Education Learning Plan. 

The first-ever, statewide community-college tuition-reimbursement program is geared toward recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters. Due to a variety of factors, many volunteer departments are experiencing a need to recruit and retain more members. 

Nearly 200 students across New York applied to participate in the program for the fall 2012.

The program pays up to 100 percent for individuals who don’t have a college degree or have not taken 80 or more lifetime college credits.

In exchange, participants must maintain good grades and fulfill service requirements in one of New York’s volunteer fire companies. 

The funds can be utilized for tuition costs incurred in the fall and spring semesters. There is no restriction on the type of academic courses that the student volunteer can pursue on a full-time or part-time basis. They must attend the closest community college or one within a 50-mile radius of their residence.

“We believe that FASNY HELP is an important incentive for students to give back to their local communities as they continue their education,” James A. Burns, president of the firefighters group, said in a news release. “FASNY HELP is a significant component of our multi-pronged effort to recruit and retain volunteers.”

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