Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program

Communities across Pennsylvania have been facing a growing crisis in attracting volunteer first responders. The reduction in volunteers has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing available services. The Pennsylvania legislature established the Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program in 2022 to help emergency services recruit, retain, and provide educational assistance to those individuals willing to put their lives on the line for their fellow Pennsylvanians. This program provides tuition or loan assistance to active volunteers that qualify based on their service and other criteria.

Am I Eligible?

To be considered for the Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program, you must:

  • Reside in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Serve with a volunteer organization as an active volunteer in good standing for 1 year prior to applying.

    A volunteer organization is defined as a chartered, nonprofit volunteer fire company located in the Commonwealth or an emergency medical services agency providing vehicular-based emergency medical services outside of a hospital setting to patients in the Commonwealth.

You must also meet the volunteer participation requirements:

  • Participate in at least 30% of the volunteer organization’s activities during the year prior to application submission.
    • If you were a high school student or enrolled at an educational institution offering postsecondary education located in the Commonwealth and approved by PHEAA within 1 year prior of applying, you must have participated in at least 15% of the volunteer organization’s activities.
  • Be enrolled as a student in an approved degree-granting or certificate-granting program of education, at an approved institution of higher learning.
  • Complete a signed application accepting obligation to serve as an active volunteer for 5 years after completing the program of education.

Participation activities include:

  • Training
  • Drills
  • Emergency response calls
  • Administrative or operational support
  • Fundraising
  • Other events and projects that aid the financial viability of the volunteer organization

For questions regarding what events may aid in the financial viability of the organization, please refer to your chief or supervisor.

What are the Award Amounts?

This program provides tuition or loan assistance to eligible students to pursue approved programs. It also supports eligible students who have completed a certificate or degree program after November 3, 2022. Funding will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

You must complete 1 year as an active volunteer with a volunteer organization prior to enrolling in an approved program of education and agree to serve at least 5 years after completing the program.

Enrollment Award per Academic Year
Full-Time Students $1,000
Part-Time Students $500