Palmesano: Deadline to help volunteer firefighters with college tuition extended until Oct. 17

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano is advising members of local fire departments that an important deadline to assist members with college tuition assistance has been extended until Oct. 17. Reimbursement is provided by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). FASNY has developed the Higher Education Learning Plan (FASNY HELP) as an incentive for people to join New York’s volunteer fire service. This program will provide tuition reimbursement to student volunteers.

"FASNY’s HELP program provides the perfect opportunity for individuals to engage in community service and pay for their continuing education," said Palmesano. "Volunteer firefighters are in high demand all across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and this program could help meet the demand while allowing individuals to give back to their community and obtain a quality education."

The FASNY HELP program allows community college students to receive up to 100 percent tuition reimbursement for up to 80 credit hours while serving as volunteer firefighters and maintaining their grades. According to FASNY, the goal of the program is to help recruit and retain volunteers to fill a shortage left by the loss of more than 41,000 emergency volunteer workers over the years. To apply, candidates must first complete their local fire department’s volunteer membership process and the Volunteer Fire Department Commitment form.

"Our emergency volunteer workers are the backbone of rural communities, and we must continue to help with the retention and recruitment of these volunteers, who provide such a valuable service to residents and taxpayers," said Palmesano. "The great partnership we have with FASNY will play an important role in filling this community need, and I hope students and volunteers will take advantage of this opportunity."

For information on the program and how to apply, visit http://www.fasny.com/index.php/resources/fasny-help/; email HELP@fasny.com, Attn: John D’Alessandro, Deputy Volunteer Programs Coordinator; or call FASNY toll free at (855) 367-6933. Again, the deadline to apply for the spring semester has been extended to October 17, 2014.

The program was made possible through a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security.