Tuition assistance bill would benefit local fire departments

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Celebrating Seniors

PATTON, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– A Pennsylvania House committee passed two bills Wednesday afternoon that would help volunteer first responders pay for college.

Patton Fire Company Second Assistant Chief Jerry Brant said the bills were created because of a crisis finding young volunteers to join fire departments and EMS across the state.

“We need to do something, if not, nobody’s going to be there to answer calls,” Brant said.

Brant testified for these bills before they went to the committee.

If passed, the first would provide up to $16,000 in student loan forgiveness.

The second would offer students tuition aid while in school.

Both require the students to volunteer for one year prior to requesting aid, and remain a volunteer for five years afterwards.

Brant said these bills could help cover some college costs so young people have more time to volunteer.

“If they’re working a job and they’re going to school, there really isn’t time to answer calls for a fire department, so this would help to ease some of that burden,” Brant said.

The bills will go to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives next.

Brant said it’s expected to be brought to the floor some time in October.

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