Scholarships for First Responders and Their Families
Communities everywhere are so appreciative of their first responders who risk their lives for the benefit of others. Often, people who serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers do not earn large salaries, and when it comes time to either go to college or send their children, these public servants may find the cost of a good education out of reach.
Luckily, both regional and national programs offer scholarships specifically for first responders and their families. Here are some of the more well-known opportunities that can help with college expenses.
Note: This article provides a basic description for each of the listed scholarships. Please see the scholarship provider’s website for full application and eligibility requirements. This is a list to help you get started. This list does not include all scholarships available for first responders and their families.
- Youth Scholarship Program
- Law Enforcement Family Member Scholarship
- Phillip L. Turner Fire Protection Scholarship
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
- America’s 9/11 Scholarship Foundation
- First Responders Children’s Foundation
- Operation Thank an Officer
- Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
- Local Scholarships
Youth Scholarship Program
The Electronic Security Association (ESA) offers multiple scholarships for the children of firefighters and police officers on active duty; first place is $7,500, and second place is $2,500. This is a merit-based scholarship and does require an essay to be considered.
Law Enforcement Family Member Scholarship
Awarded annually to one student from the Law Offices of Fales & Fales, P.A, this scholarship is either for a family member or dependent of an active duty, retired, or fallen law enforcement officer, and it carries a $1,000 benefit. This is an opportunity for an undergraduate students, or a graduate student enrolled in an accredited law school.
Phillip L. Turner Fire Protection Scholarship
Offered by the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA), the Phillip L Turner Fire Protection Scholarship is awarded to a full-time college sophomore, junior or senior enrolled in a four-year Fire Protection or Fire Administration degree, or a full-time graduate student enrolled in a Fire Protection Engineering or Administration master’s degree program. The one-time award gives the student a $5,000 scholarship if he or she meets additional criteria and is selected.
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
This organization offers three scholarship programs:
- Irlet Anderson Scholarship - $2,500
- Bernard and Sylvia Davis Thompson Scholarship - $2,000
- Charles Fonesca Scholarship - $1,500
Each of these one-time awards is given to a graduating high school senior interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement or criminal justice. This program has both merit- and need-based criteria as well as a personal essay and a citizenship requirement for potential recipients.
America’s 9/11 Scholarship Foundation
Intended to honor first responders who worked tirelessly during the nation’s tragedy, this scholarship is for children of first responders. If you have financial need, you will be asked to provide additional information. This opportunity requires an essay and verification of the student’s relationship with and status of the first responder. Up to 15 awards of $2,000 are given annually.
First Responders Children’s Foundation
With a scholarship from this organization, a student who is a child of a first responder can receive up to a maximum of $6,250 a year. Priority is given to children who lost a parent in the line of duty. Applicants will be evaluated based on academic merit, financial hardship, and other achievements. Scholarship recipients may be able to renew annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.
Operation Thank an Officer
This organization offers several scholarships to both high school and college students. These scholarship opportunities each have their own criteria for eligibility. Some scholarships will either require you to have a parent in law enforcement, or be a child who lost a parent who served in law enforcement, while others are designated for pursuing a career path in law enforcement. Each of the awards is $1,000 and does require an essay.
Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
This is a $15,000 stipend opportunity. This prize is given to a college senior who would like to devote a year to public service anywhere in the world before beginning a graduate program or career. This stipend requires a written proposal for your public service project, including a budget which details how you will use your funds. While not strictly for first responders, this award could be given to an individual who plans to go into that field after graduation.
In addition to scholarships on the national level, many states, counties, and local municipalities also offer programs to help members of their communities who are first responders or their children. Do a scholarship search locally. These opportunities may have fewer applicants and be less competitive than national scholarships.
Finding scholarship money can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, especially if you are looking for something specific such as programs for first responders. With ScholarshipPoints, you can discover more ways to make college affordable for you or your family members. Visit our website to learn more about great scholarship opportunities and helpful tips to help you navigate the often complex world of college finances.