(BEDFORD) – Ivy Tech Community College shared information regarding its new scholarship program for active volunteer firefighters during a community event hosted by the Shawswick Fire Volunteer Fire Department and the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Across the United States as well as in Indiana volunteer fire service has faced a declining membership, leaving fire departments short-handed when answering calls of emergencies. Some departments across the state have rosters in the single digits.
State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) and Co-Sponsor Senator Eric Koch of District 44 attempted to pass legislation to establish the Ivy Tech Public Safety Scholarship, covering tuition fees for an associate degree or certificate program offered by Ivy Tech Community College.
The scholarship would provide up to two academic years of tuition for public safety officers with a high school diploma or equivalent.
The legislation did not pass this year. Ivy Tech president Susan Ellspermann decided this was a cause Ivy Tech could commit to. Ivy Tech has committed over a quarter-million dollars to this project.
As Indiana’s Community College, Ivy Tech believes it is important to help local heroes recruit and retain individuals who will keep communities safe.
When they promoted this project in Lawrenceburg last month, two volunteer firefighters signed up that same night.
“It is now time to get the word out to high school counselors, students, and this will not only help the fire service but also give an opportunity for free tuition on a two-year certificate. You do not have to enroll in fire science or EMT Course but can enroll in other courses offered by Ivy Tech,” Ellspermann said.
In order to enroll and claim free tuition, you must
- Enroll in Ivy Tech Community College
- Complete the FAFSA to apply for financial aid
- Request a letter from the fire department or emergency medical provider confirming your active volunteer status. Once you have the letter send it to the local Ivy Tech Registrar’s Office.
Once your student account is coded by the Registrar’s Office, you will be able to declare a program of study and sign up for classes in your chosen program.
Ivy Tech Community College is testing the program for the next two academic years (2020-2021 and 2021-2022). The college will cover tuition and technology fees, but limited funds are available.
Ivy Tech hopes the pilot program will provide information for the State of Indiana that hopefully will justify funding a statewide program in the future.
Any individual who is a volunteer firefighter and volunteer EMS personnel, who meets Ivy Tech Community College’s admissions criteria are eligible.