Establishes the volunteer firefighters of New York higher education learning plan.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to the volunteer firefighters of New York higher education learning plan
PURPOSE: This act will create the Volunteer Firefighters of New York Higher Education Learning Plan.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill adds a new section 669-e to the Education Law.
Subsection 1 establishes the eligibility for undergraduate students at the State University of New York who are members in good standing of one of New York's Volunteer fire companies to participate in the program.
Subsection 2 provides that the awards shall be granted to applicants that the corporation has certified are eligible based on the amount of funds appropriated.
Subsection 3 provides that awards shall be limited to not more than four academic years of full time undergraduate study.
Subsection 4 establishes that the maximum award shall be either one hundred percent of annual tuition charged to state residents at the State University of New York or the actual tuition charged, whichever is less.
Subsection 5 provides the criteria by which the corporation shall convert the award to a student loan.
This act shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: New York's Volunteer Fire Companies provide fire and emergency response services to New Yorkers all across the Empire State. The provision of these important and essential services would not be possible without the thousands of New Yorkers who volunteer their time and energy to serve as volunteer firefighters in their community. In recent years, recruiting and retaining enough people to adequately provide volunteer fire and emergency response services has proven to be difficult in many communities.
As a way to attract and retain new members, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York has launched the Higher Education Learning Plan which provides active volunteer firefighters with tuition reimbursement for the successful completion of courses at a nearby community college. Many communities throughout New York State do not have a community college nearby. Instead, many have a four-year State University of New York College nearby.
This bill would create a state wide program to allow active volunteer firefighters to receive tuition reimbursement for the successful completion of undergraduate courses at a State University of New York College. Creation of this program will provide New York's volunteer fire companies with a valuable incentive to use in the recruiting and retaining of individuals to serve as volunteer firefighters in their community.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Subject to budgetary appropriation.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5374 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the volunteer fire- fighters of New York higher education learning plan THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 669-e to read as follows: S 669-E. VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS OF NEW YORK HIGHER EDUCATION LEARNING PLAN. 1. ELIGIBILITY. UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS WHO ARE MATRICULATED IN AN APPROVED UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AND ARE MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING IN ONE OF NEW YORK'S VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPA- NIES SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR AN AWARD UNDER THIS SECTION, PROVIDED THE APPLICANT: (A) SIGNS A CONTRACT WITH THE CORPORATION AGREEING TO WORK FOR A NEW YORK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY ON A FULL-TIME BASIS FOR FIVE YEARS; AND (B) COMPLIES WITH THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE AND ALL REQUIREMENTS PROMULGATED BY THE CORPORATION FOR THE ADMINIS- TRATION OF THE PROGRAM. 2. WITHIN THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED THEREFORE, AWARDS SHALL BE GRANTED TO APPLICANTS THAT THE CORPORATION HAS CERTIFIED ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE SUCH AWARDS. SUCH AWARDS SHALL BE MADE TO RECIPIENTS AFTER THE SUCCESS- FUL COMPLETION OF EACH ACADEMIC YEAR, AS DEFINED BY THE CORPORATION. 3. AN AWARD SHALL ENTITLE THE RECIPIENT TO ANNUAL PAYMENTS FOR NOT MORE THAN FOUR ACADEMIC YEARS OF FULL-TIME UNDERGRADUATE STUDY. 4. RECIPIENTS SHALL RECEIVE AN ANNUAL PAYMENT FOR THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF AN ACADEMIC YEAR, EQUAL TO UP TO ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE ANNUAL TUITION CHARGED TO STATE RESIDENT STUDENTS ATTENDING AN UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM FULL-TIME AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, OR ACTUAL TUITION CHARGED, WHICHEVER IS LESS. 5. THE CORPORATION SHALL CONVERT TO A STUDENT LOAN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE AWARD GIVEN PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION PLUS INTEREST, ACCORDING TO AEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10613-02-3 S. 5374 2
SCHEDULE TO BE DETERMINED BY THE CORPORATION IF: (A) A RECIPIENT FAILS TO COMPLETE THEIR COURSE OF STUDIES AS AGREED TO WITH THE CORPORATION OR IS NOT A MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING IN A NEW YORK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY WHILE OBTAINING HIS OR HER DEGREE; OR (B) TWO YEARS AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THEIR COURSE OF STUDIES AS AGREED TO WITH THE CORPORATION IT IS FOUND THAT THE RECIPIENT IS NOT WORKING FOR A NEW YORK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY; OR (C) A RECIPIENT HAS NOT WORKED FOR A NEW YORK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY FOR FIVE OF THE SEVEN YEARS AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THEIR COURSE OF STUDIES AS AGREED TO WITH THE CORPORATION; OR (D) A RECIPIENT FAILS TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS BY THE FIREMAN'S ASSOCIATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FOR THE STATUS OF HIS OR HER ACADEMIC OR PROFESSIONAL PROGRESS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.