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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 22, 2020 10:11 AM
From: Representative Frank Burns
To: All House members
Subject: Volunteer Recruitment Service Scholarship Act
Volunteer firefighters, ambulance service volunteers, and volunteer rescue squads are some of the bravest and most dedicated citizens of our Commonwealth.  Our fire and EMS companies, however, struggle to recruit and retain new members, especially young adults.  The Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute reports that volunteer firefighters have dropped from 300,000 in the 1970’s to just 38,000 in 2018.
To incentivize volunteer emergency service and support those who sacrifice their time to serve their communities, I will soon introduce the Volunteer Recruitment Service Scholarship Act.  My plan would allow the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to award scholarships to active members of volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services, or volunteer rescue squads with at least six months of active service.

Applicants would be required to maintain active volunteer status, have graduated from high school or have received a high school equivalency diploma, enroll in a degree program at a college or university within 50 miles of the volunteer organization (or if none exist, the next closest institution), be a legal resident of the Commonwealth, maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average, and apply for all federal and state grant aid at the time of enrollment.  Individual scholarships will be limited to the equivalent of State System of Higher Education tuition, minus any other grant aid received by the applicant.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to support emergency volunteers across Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB2782