Sarbanes Scholarship Program

When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the family must adjust to life without their loved one, who often was the primary financial provider. Many grieving spouses are left to care for children without adequate financial assistance. To support their families, they may need additional job skills or education. Children left without a parent need to know they still have a chance to attain their educational dreams.

In 1992, the U. S. Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Our mission is to honor all fallen firefighters and to assist their families in rebuilding their lives. One way we do this is by offering spouses, partners, and children the opportunity to pursue their personal, educational and career goals through the Foundation’s scholarship programs.

Spouses, life partners, children, and stepchildren of firefighters honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are eligible to apply for assistance. Scholarships are awarded for undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational-technical training, and certification and job training programs. They may be used for study at in state or out-of-state public and private schools.

More: Browse All Scholarship Information

Since 1997, the Foundation and its partners have awarded 1,546 scholarships totaling $5,269,223 to spouses, life partners, children, and stepchildren of fallen firefighters. Fields of study for the recipients have ranged from Accounting to Auto Mechanics, and from Fire Science to Elementary Education.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Spouse, life partner, child, or stepchild of a fallen firefighter honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Children must currently be under the age of 30 AND have been under the age of 22 at the time of their firefighter’s death.
  • Applicant must possess a high school diploma or equivalency or be in their final year of high school.
  • Applicant must currently be pursuing, or planning to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies, a certification program or job skills training at an accredited institution, online college or university.
  • Applicant must be currently enrolled or planning to enroll as a full-time or part-time student.
  • Applicant’s minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or “C” average for applicants pursuing an academic degree.

Award Criteria

  • Submission of a completed scholarship application by March 1.
  • Awards will be determined based on a composite score that considers financial need with an emphasis on academic performance. Applicants with higher composite scores will receive enhanced scholarships relative to applicants with lower composite scores.
  • Spouses and life partners are automatically assigned a top tier score on academic performance and financial need, exempting them from providing financial information.
  • Academic performance for children and stepchildren will be assessed based on an evaluation of factors, including: (i) whether the student is pursuing a major in either public safety or a STEM subject in the field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics; (ii) the nature of the student’s course load and the student’s GPA; and (iii) the student’s tuition load relative to the anticipated employment prospects of the chosen major.
  • Financial need for children and stepchildren will be assessed based on an evaluation of the applicant’s FAFSA® Student Aid Report, which should be submitted with the application form but is not required. Awards will vary based upon a composite score representing the sum of the financial need score and academic performance score. Applicants who do not submit financial information will have lower composite scores which may lead to a lower scholarship award than would otherwise have been received.

    Sample FAFSA® Student Aid Report

Applications must be submitted by March 1.

Terms of Awards

  • All scholarships are paid directly to an officially accredited institution on behalf of the scholarship recipient.
  • Scholarships may be used for tuition, required books and equipment, and related academic expenses.
  • Scholarships are for one academic year. Applicants may reapply for assistance in up to four separate years. The receipt of a scholarship does not guarantee future awards.
  • Recipients must complete the planned course of study for the academic term for which they receive the scholarship. If a recipient withdraws from the educational institution, voluntarily or for any other reason, any unused funds will be returned to the Foundation. In no case, may a recipient receive cash from the Foundation’s scholarship award.
  • Any change of schools or program of study requires prior approval by the Foundation to continue the scholarship. A new institution or program must also be officially accredited.