The Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association and Ivy Tech Community College have partnered to give volunteer first responders across Indiana the chance to earn a two-year degree, tuition free.
What first started as an idea from State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) turned into a new program to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters, in an effort to address the growing shortage of first responders, particularly in Indiana’s rural areas. Rep. Frye introduced HB 1064 to establish an Ivy Tech scholarship fund, and the intent was to provide scholarship funds to volunteer first responders attending any program at Ivy Tech. The bill passed the House, but was not heard in the Senate.
Ivy Tech stepped in and has committed to provide $250,000 over two years to pay for tuition and fees for volunteer first responders to attend academic programs, with the exception of Flight Aviation and General Studies.
“Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are critical to keeping us safe,” Frye said. “Unfortunately, many of our rural communities are seeing a decline in the number of people stepping into these roles. This scholarship will help attract new volunteers who will reap the rewards of this fulfilling service while furthering their education.”
As long as a volunteer first responder is enrolled as a degree seeking student, and holds good standing with a volunteer fire department, the individual may be eligible to receive a two-year degree for free. This offer applies to future and current Ivy Tech students; however, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible.