(Albany, New York) – 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 a deadline extension – to February 21st – for firefighters to apply for the new 2014 semester.
“FASNY HELP has proven to be a tremendous success and a key tool for fire departments to boost their recruiting of 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, is eligible for up to 100% tuition reimbursement 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 levels of training and volunteer activity 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. Empire State College’s inclusion in the program has expanded students’ options.
Due to a variety of factors, many volunteer fire departments are experiencing the need to recruit and retain more members. Tuition reimbursement can be an effective incentive for people to volunteer in their local community. The deadline to apply for tuition reimbursement for the new semester has been extended to February 21st.
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, visit http://www.fasny.com/index.php/membership/benefits/fasny-help/.