Blue Cross Blue Shield introduces Firefighter Stipend and Scholarship Program for community college students
The Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Foundation of North Carolina’s new Firefighter Stipend and Scholarship Program will provide stipends of $500 per term or scholarships up to $1,000 for eligible Blue Ridge students pursuing NC Firefighter Certification courses or courses leading to an eligible associate degree.
These funds are designated to assist NC fire and rescue departments with recruitment and retention of firefighters. A particular emphasis is also placed on supporting the recruitment and training of individuals in achieving their Firefighter I and II certifications, which will ultimately impact the number of firefighters within the state.
The funding is available to students at 20 designated NC Community Colleges. Each college will determine which options are available, and the application processes for each. Program options include BCBS Foundation Firefighter Stipends and BSBS Foundation Firefighter Scholarships for Adults.
- The stipend was created for recruitment and retention of NC firefighters. To be eligible, a student must not be previously certified and must enroll in the course(s) required to achieve the NC Firefighter I and II, NC Driver/Operator Pumps and/or Emergency Vehicle Driver certifications.
- The scholarship for adults was created as an incentive to engage and advance as a firefighter with a path to broader public safety career goals. It awards up to $1,000 per term, with the recipient having to reapply each term. To be eligible, a student must hold an active NC Firefighter I and II certification. They must also successfully complete courses covered by the scholarship in any previous term to be eligible for funding in a subsequent term.
Eligible programs for the scholarship include Fire Protection Technology, Public Safety Administration, Emergency Management or Emergency Medical Science curriculum associate degree programs and Workforce Continuing Education courses that tie directly to a college’s approved EMS Bridge program and is specifically part of the student’s pathway to EMS associate degree completion.
All options disburse funds to the students’ accounts to cover any expenses for the program/courses and to cover instructional costs (tuition, fees, books, materials, supplies, etc.) associated with an eligible curriculum program.