In 2011, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) unveiled a historic educational initiative called the FASNY Higher Education Learning Plan (HELP). This statewide community college tuition reimbursement program is geared towards recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters throughout New York. Today, FASNY announced that the deadline for firefighters to apply for the Fall 2013 semester is October 18th.
"FASNY HELP has proven to be tremendous success and a key tool for fire departments to boost their numbers by recruiting the next generation of firefighters," said FASNY President James Burns. "HELP funding comes from our federal SAFER grant, which has driven recruitment initiatives throughout the state. We urge all interested students to sign up as time is quickly running out to apply for this free program."
Under FASNY HELP, an individual who hasn't already achieved a college degree, or has not taken 80 or more college credits, can have up to 100% of his/her tuition reimbursed in exchange for maintaining good grades and fulfilling service requirements in one of New York's volunteer fire companies. There is no restriction on the type of academic course(s) that the FASNY HELP student/volunteer firefighter can pursue either on a full-time or part-time basis. Starting with the Fall 2013 semester, FASNY HELP has been expanded to cover online courses taken through Empire State College.
FASNY HELP funds can be utilized for tuition costs incurred in the fall and spring semesters. Eligible student/volunteers must maintain acceptable volunteer activity and training levels while attending school and fulfill a service requirement after they complete their course of study. They must attend the closest community college or one within a 50-mile radius of their residence.
Due to a variety of factors, many volunteer fire departments are experiencing a need to recruit and retain more members. Tuition reimbursement can be an effective incentive for people to volunteer in their local community. More than 100 students across the Empire State, attending over 20 community colleges, have already applied to participate in the program for the fall semester. The deadline to apply for tuition reimbursement for the fall semester is October 18th.
FASNY HELP is made possible by a $4.2 million dollar U.S. Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded to FASNY. For more information on the FASNY HELP program, visithttp://www.fasny.com/index.php/membership/benefits/fasny-help/.