Three Easy Steps to Finding a Fire Science Scholarship...PLUS Five Great Scholarships to Get You Started
Step 1. Find Schools You Want to Attend
Some schools that offer fire science degrees also offer funding for applicants. One of the best ways to search for scholarships is to narrow the list to include only those schools you’d most like to attend, then research their awards and financial aid options. Many scholarships from corporations and nonprofits also require detailed information about your academic plans, so it pays to decide where to apply before you ramp up your scholarship search.
Step 2. Search for Scholarships
Many organizations offer scholarships specifically for first responders. Look into the following organizations, both in your area and nationally.
• Professional associations (IAFF, NFPA, etc.)
• Your county’s fire rescue department
• Scholarship-focused nonprofits
• Large corporations (Pepsi, Xerox, etc.)
• Foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.)
• Advocacy and political organizations
• Religious organizations
• Social/community clubs and organizations
• Service organizations (Rotary, Elks, etc.)
Scholarship criteria vary widely. Some scholarships are earmarked for students pursuing specific careers; others may be regional, designated for applicants from a particular state or county. Typically, organizations and schools may offer scholarships to fire science students who meet a set of criteria, which could include:
• Demonstrated commitment to community service or volunteer work
• Commitment to pursue a valued career, academic, or research interest
• Demonstrated athletic achievement and talent
• Economic need
• Underrepresented minority group
• Student is a gender minority in their field of interest
• Birthplace (for students from a particular city, state, or country)
• Student is the first to go to college in their family
• Contest / essay contest winner
• High academic achievement
• High standardized test scores
A good strategy is to determine the types of scholarships you may be eligible for and search specifically for those. It is also important to keep in mind that students looking into becoming firefighters and EMTs are often offered special scholarships specifically for their dedication to their community. If you come from a heritage of first responders, you may also qualify for further funding.
Which area(s) might you qualify under?
Here are some hand-picked fire rescue scholarships that will get you started on your search:
1. – George D. Miller Scholarship
Provides a minimum of one scholarship awarded per year of at least $5,000 (USD). Monies will be awarded to one or more undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a fire service or public administration program in either the United States or Canada. Applicants must be nominated by their college or university. http://www.nfpa.org
2. – International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation
Promotes higher education and research in the fire sciences. Scholarships range from $250 to $4,000 for career, volunteer and military firefighters and Explorer Scouts. http://www.iafcf.org
3. – City of Tampa Fire Scholarship Program
Scholarship Recipients will receive a stipend of $300 per week for a 26-week period. Scholarship Recipients will attend the Minimum Standards class at Tampa Fire Academy and Learey Technical Center to receive training for State of Florida certification as a firefighter. http://www.tampagov.net/dept_fire_rescue/
4. Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York “Ned Carter” Scholarship
Three $1,500 scholarships will be awarded to seniors pursuing a career in a community service-related field (fire service, nursing, social work, healthcare, teaching, library services). www.firedistnys.com
5. Yvorra Leadership Development Foundation
The organization was founded in 1988 in honor of Deputy Fire Chief James G. Yvorra, who was killed in the line of duty. Awards may be used for special projects relating to leadership development or for tuition. Award winners announced each year in October. www.yld.org
Step 3. Apply for Lots of Scholarships – Don’t be Shy
Finding scholarship programs can be a time-consuming process. Unfortunately, many students spend hours looking for a scholarship but fail to put an equal amount of effort into completing their application. The application is by far the most important part of your scholarship search; give it the time it deserves.
One last bit of advice: Double-check the scholarship requirements before you apply. After all, you want to be sure you are eligible before you apply. Write, call or e-mail the scholarship sponsor to ensure you have full details of application procedures and know what will be expected of the successful applicant. You can never have too much information!