Firefighter volunteers can earn college tuition

Debra Moore
Staff Writer

Volunteer firefighters can earn up to $5,000 toward their college education or pay off existing student loans, in exchange for a 2-1/2-year commitment to firefighting.

Jeanne Graham, board chairman for the Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District, learned about the STRIVE Program — State Tuition Reimbursement as Incentive for Volunteer Emergency Responders — and wanted volunteer firefighters throughout the county to know about the opportunity.

Megan Bryant, the grant’s manager, said that there is still “quite a bit of funding available,” for a program that is slated to run for two more years.

“This is an awesome opportunity for the volunteers in northern California,” Bryant said, “and I am trying to get the word out there to as many people as possible who can utilize the funding.”

Following are some of the key components of the program:

STRIVE will offer tuition reimbursement or student loan reimbursement for up to 60 current and new volunteer emergency responders each year.

Eligible participants may receive up to $5,000 per year with a 2.5-year volunteer commitment.

To be eligible, a volunteer must be an active volunteer in good standing with the department and respond to 25 percent of calls; meet academic requirements of the state institution with at least a 2.5 grade-point average; and agree to program stipulations.

The volunteer may choose his or her field of study, and the spouse or child of an eligible volunteer may use the award.

Participants will be required to submit receipts for tuition and other associated costs.

For more information about this program go to: or call 855-VOL-FIRE.

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