FASNY Here to HELP (and Scholarships Too)

As we wade through uncertain times as a country, there is no doubt that Americans and, more specifically New Yorkers, need help. Our communities need young firefighters now more than ever and that’s one of the reasons FASNY offers two key benefits to them and all volunteer firefighters looking for assistance with educational endeavors.

The Higher Education Learning Plan (HELP) began in 2011 and has accepted up to 100 recipients each semester, each year. There are still spots for this tuition reimbursement program in 2020 and any active volunteer firefighter seeking any college degree is invited to apply here.

Over the years, HELP and its up to $1,500 per semester award have evolved. Initially open to those enrolling at community (two-year) colleges, the program now covers two- and four-year schools in New York State as well as advanced degrees.

HELP can also be applied to online classes taken through Empire State College. And recipients can re-apply each semester here, where all the details and the application are available.

But, that’s not the only way FASNY supports education in the volunteer fire service. The organization has another long-standing commitment dedicated to the next generation of volunteer firefighters.

For decades, the Gerard J. Buckenmeyer FASNY Volunteer Scholarship Program has provided invaluable assistance to high school seniors. Each year, more than two dozen teens are honored with cash awards to continue their education. In 2020, 25 student-volunteers will receive $1,500 scholarships. The deadline was extended this year to assure all deserving applicants got the opportunity in spite of the pandemic.

Over more than 20 years, hundreds have enjoyed these awards that are easily worth hundreds of thousands of dollars made possible by the generous support of hundreds of donors. This year’s winners will be announced soon in Volunteer Firefighter News, FASNY’s monthly e-newsletter, in this magazine and on social media.

Both these opportunities are available on an annual basis, so at times like these when help is needed, FASNY invites you to turn to HELP and the Gerard J. Buckenmeyer FASNY Volunteer Scholarship Program.