College Tuition Assistance Available For Volunteer Firemen

Tuition assistance is available for JCC and SUNY Fredonia students who volunteer with local fire departments through two separate programs, but the grant application deadline is fast approaching for one of the programs.

The first program, called the Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER), provides tuition assistance for volunteer firemen up to the full amount of JCC tuition. The same amount of funding is also available for volunteer firemen going to college at SUNY Fredonia.

The student participating in the SAFER program must maintain at least a “C” average, and remain active in a local fire department for at least one year for each semester of tuition assistance.

The SAFER program is operated by the Chautauqua County Emergency Management Service. For more information, contact Dan Imfeld, SAFER grant coordinator, at 753-4320.

The second program, operated by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York’s Higher Education Learning Plan (FASNY HELP), provides tuition assistance for volunteer firemen who are attending JCC. The FASNY HELP program pays 100% of a volunteer fireman’s JCC tuition if they have an “A” average, 80% with a “B” average, and 70% with a “C” average. The deadline to apply for this program is Friday, February 6, 2015.

To apply for a FASNY HELP grant, candidates must first complete their local fire department’s volunteer membership process and the Volunteer Fire Department Commitment form. For information on the program and how to apply, visit; email, Attn: John D’Alessandro, Deputy Volunteer Programs Coordinator; or call FASNY toll free at (855) 367-6933.

Assemblyman Andy Goodell encouraged every Chautauqua County student to become a volunteer fireman and save thousands of dollars in tuition costs. “The SAFER grants and FASNY HELP are solutions for two issues that face Chautauqua County—the rising cost of college education and the shortage of volunteer firefighters. Any community college student who is looking for assistance can volunteer as a firefighter and be eligible for this program.”

County Executive Vince Horrigan noted, “Our volunteer firemen provide an invaluable service to the residents of Chautauqua County. It is critically important that our fire departments continue to attract and retain qualified young people. These two programs help students to join a fine tradition of neighbor-helping-neighbor while receiving valuable tuition assistance.”