First responders know all too well that the sacrifices required by their dangerous jobs are not theirs alone—that their entire family makes sacrifices. First responder families accept these sacrifices because of their shared sense of duty to help others. But the absence of a parent, made permanent when they make the ultimate sacrifice, often means kids miss out on emotional support and sage advice about education from that parent. This, coupled with the cost of higher education that’s out of reach for many first responder families, can put these children at a disadvantage to realizing their full potential.
Second, our Scholars Council is a group of peers and working professionals connected to a broader community of supportive mentors and partner organizations. Recognizing that success requires more than schooling, the Scholars Council provides scholarship recipients with access to internships and jobs, career advice and mentorship, skills development and leadership opportunities.
Scholarships are awarded for a single academic year. Awards are based on financial need, academic merit, and achievements such as demonstrated leadership, excellence in the arts or sports, and/or volunteer activities benefiting the community.
The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year. Scholarships may be renewed annually for up to four years depending on the availability of funds, the applicant’s financial need, and the recipient’s academic record.
When selecting award recipients, the Scholarship Committee evaluates many different aspects of a student’s application. Priority is generally given to students whose parent has suffered a line of duty disability or line of duty death and demonstrate the greatest financial need, though all eligible children of first responders are encouraged to apply. Scholarships are remitted directly to the student’s school, and as such, can only be applied to the tuition and room and board bills. In the event that there is no balance towards which to apply the scholarship, the funds will be returned to the Foundation.
- Applicant must be the biological, adopted or step-child of a police officer, firefighter, EMT, paramedic or 911 dispatcher.
- Applicants who are the child of a deceased first responder must have been conceived prior to the death or total and permanent disability of the eligible first responder.
- Applicants who are an adopted child must have had the adoption process begun prior to the date of scholarship application submission. If the first responder is deceased or has total and permanent disability, the adoption process must have started prior to the death or total and permanent disability.
- Applicants who are a stepchild must be listed as a dependent on the eligible first responder’s federal and state income tax returns. If the first responder is deceased or has total and permanent disability, the applicant must be listed as a dependent in the income tax years immediately prior to the death or total and permanent disability.
- Applicant must be pursuing a bachelor’s, associate’s, certificate, graduate or law degree at any accredited college, university or technical/vocational institution in the United States that participates in the federal financial aid programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education.
- Applicant must be enrolled as a full-time student during the entire academic year.
- Applicant must have and maintain a 2.7 out of a 4.0 grade point average (80 out of 100 point scale), or the equivalent as documented by the Office of the Registrar at their academic institution.
- Applicant must be making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their program as defined and documented by the academic institution.
- Applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States and attending school in the United States.
- Current First Responders Children’s Foundation officers and employees and members of their immediate families are not eligible to apply.
- Scholarship recipients must reapply for their scholarship each year.
- Scholarship recipients are eligible to reapply and receive a scholarship for up to four years maximum.
Thank you for your interest in our scholarships.
The 2021-2022 application has now closed. Please check back in early 2022 for the 2022-2023 application.
Application and documentation requirements
Please provide the following documents (renewal applicants only need to provide items with an *)
- Current transcript
- Fall 2022 tuition bill
- Fall 2022 financial aid award letter (provided to you from your college or university)
- Proof of full-time enrollment for Fall 2022 which must list:
– Your name
– School name
– Fall 2022 semester
– Total number of credits enrolled
- Student Aid Report (SAR)
- List of achievements (honors, leadership positions, volunteer activities, etc.)
- Picture of the applicant
- Picture of first responder’s ID or letter from employer
- Three letters of recommendation (one must be from a teacher or professor)
- Proof of United States citizenship or permanent residency (birth certificate, naturalization papers, or passport)
- Personal statement not to exceed 700 words summarizing personal and professional achievements & career goals
- Optional for renewals only:
A short statement summarizing the impact of prior First Responders Children’s Foundation scholarship awards, the importance of this scholarship toward achieving academic goals, and achievements and accomplishments since receiving the last scholarship award.
For students whose parent or guardian suffered a line of duty disability or passed away, please provide
- Letter from human resources or agency stating the line of duty disability or death
- Statement telling us their story
All documents must be submitted at the time of application with the following exceptions:
- Letters of Recommendation:
May be submitted directly to Richard@1stRCF.org if the writer/guidance counselor will not release them to the student. Letters of recommendation must be submitted by our application deadline, 6/15/22.
- Fall 2022 Proof of Enrollment/Schedule
& Fall 2022 Tuition Bill:
Understanding that colleges and universities are all on different timelines, these two documents may be submitted directly to Richard@1stRCF.org after our application deadline of 6/15/22. Must include:
– Your name
– School name
– Fall 2022 semester
– Total number of credits enrolled
Disbursement of Funds
Our 2021-2022 scholarship application saw an unprecedented number of applications and we strive to assist as many students as possible each year.
All 2021-2022 scholarship recipients have been notified of their award via mail. If you have not heard from us, we regret to inform you we were not able to select you for a scholarship.
Checks will be made payable to the school on behalf of the scholarship recipient and will be awarded in late summer / early fall.
Students who are selected for a scholarship will receive one check, in late August/early September which is their scholarship for the entire academic year. The check will be made out to the student’s school with their name on the check.
The Children of Heroes Scholarship
The Children of Heroes Scholarship, granted in partnership with Scooter Braun and SB Projects, supports children of first responders and medical personnel directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority will be given to children of first responders and medical personnel who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. All students are welcome to apply and we strongly encourage students majoring in business and entrepreneurship to apply.
Founded 100+ years ago to help teachers retire with dignity, TIAA’s reach now extends well beyond education. While we’ve evolved into a Fortune 100 organization, we’ve never lost site of the altruistic premises of our beginnings and live by a set of values that guides the decisions we make. They’re at the core of everything we do—from how we support our clients, interact with each other and give back to our communities. TIAA scholarships are given to deserving students with demonstrated financial need and who are attending public schools.
CSX Pride in Service Scholarships
CSX Pride in Service scholarships are based on financial need as well as academic merit and other achievements, such as demonstrated leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and volunteer activities benefiting the community. Priority may be given to families who have experienced a line of duty death or disability, though all students with first responder parents are eligible. The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year, and priority is given to students in priority markets. This scholarship may be renewed annually for up to a maximum of four years depending on the availability of funds and the financial need and the academic record of the awardee.
Smiling Rocks Scholarship
The Smiling Rocks Scholarship is based on financial need as well as academic merit and other achievements, such as demonstrated leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and volunteer activities benefiting the community. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates majoring in programs related to first responder fields (i.e. fire services, criminal justice, etc).
Smiling Rocks is a lab grown diamond and jewelry brand based in New York. By promoting the betterment of communities and mother nature through its business model and practice, Smiling Rocks’ mission is to make the world a better place and to leave a positive imprint for future generations. Visit Smiling Rocks’ Impact Page to see their positive work in action.
Luis Alvarez Memorial Scholarship
A memorial scholarship named in honor of Luis G. Alvarez was announced on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019 at the 19th Annual First Responders Children’s Foundation Thanksgiving Day Parade Breakfast in the presence of members of the Luis Alvarez family including his widow, Alaine Alvarez.
Luis Alvarez passed away from 9/11-related illnesses and was known for his bravery while pleading before the United States Congress to replenish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Priority for this scholarship award will be given to children of first responders who have died from or are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.
Scooter Braun Children of Heroes Scholarship
The Scooter Braun Children of Heroes Scholarship is awarded annually to worthy children of first responders especially those who have tragically lost their parents. Applicants are selected based on need, and the award is a “full ride” scholarship. Preference is given to those with an interest in entrepreneurship. The submission deadline is June 15 for the academic year beginning in the Fall.
Justice Family Scholarship
A scholarship named in honor of the Justice Family was announced on October 16, 2020 at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia in the presence of Jay and Jillean Justice. The Justice Family and The Greenbrier have honored first responders at their annual golf tournament, “A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier,” commemorating the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Priority will be given to children of first responders who have been killed or injured in the line of duty and who are from West Virginia.
Christopher Lawton Memorial Scholarship
The Christopher Lawton Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a student who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The scholarship award is based on financial need, academic merit and other achievements including demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to service in the community. While a declared major is not required, preference will be given to eligible candidates majoring in programs related to first responder fields (i.e. fire services, criminal justice, etc). Preference will also be given to eligible students from or residing and attending school in Louisiana.
Global First Responders Scholarship
The First Responders Children’s Foundation awards scholarships to children of first responders who either died or became permanently disabled in line of duty. These awards recognize financial need along with academic merit and overall achievement. In 2016 the Global Foundation for First Responders (GFFFR) partnered with the First Responders Children’s Foundation to establish the Global First Responders Scholarship – one of several scholarships awards available through the First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Founded in 2015, the GFFFR mission is to support the families of first responders who lost their lives saving others in the line of duty. These men and women dedicated their lives to helping others and ensuring safety. GFFFR honors these individuals and would like to give back to their families to show appreciation.
Global First Responders scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a first responder who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty and is based on financial need as well as academic merit and other achievements including demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to service in the community. Preference for this award will be given to an eligible student who is from or resides and attends school in the New York Tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT).
Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship
Victoria Ovis, who passed away suddenly on May 25, 2005, had over 30 years of law enforcement experience with the United States Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. This scholarship honors an outstanding student each year in Victoria’s memory with an award for a single academic year.
The Victoria Ovis Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a child of a law enforcement officer who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Awards are based on financial need, academic merit, and achievements such as leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and/or volunteer activities benefiting the community. The recipient must be a student from or reside and attend school in New York State or the New York metropolitan area. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates who are majoring in criminology or pre-law. The Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship is awarded for a single academic year and is not renewable.
Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Vincent Bennett, who passed away suddenly on September 19, 2013, was a Manager for Cisco Systems in Iselin, N.J. for 15 years, and an integral member of First Responders Children’s Foundation’s inaugural Hero Awards Gala Committee. The Gala was near and dear to Vince’s heart as he came from a family of first responders. He was a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association and an associate member of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. In Vince’s memory, the scholarship named for him will honor one exceptional freshman each year with a four year award.
Vince’s “Rules for Life” were:
- Do the right thing
- Often, less is more
- Don’t advertise – deliver
- Enjoy life to its fullest
- Laugh often
- Be grateful
The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. This award recognizes financial need, academic achievement, and the candidate must show a strong commitment to service in the community. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates who are majoring in engineering.
Carol Ozga Stanberry Memorial Scholarship
The Carol Ozga Stanberry Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a worthy student.
In addition to our scholarships, you may also qualify for other scholarships from the organizations listed below.
Electronic Security Association
Silver Shield Foundation
FIREHOUSE SUBS PUBLIC SAFETY FOUNDATION
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Any questions regarding scholarships?
The success of our programs is only possible with the generous support of donors like you.
There is no greater way of demonstrating respect and appreciation for your community than by supporting our first responders on the front lines.
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