National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 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 source of income. Many grieving spouses are left to care for children without sufficient financial assistance. To support their families, they 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 survivors in rebuilding their lives. One way we do this is by offering spouses and children the opportunity to pursue their personal, educational and career goals through the Foundation’s Sarbanes and Alan Patrick Sondej 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.

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.
  • High school diploma or equivalency or in the final year of high school.
  • Currently pursuing or planning to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies, a certification program or job skills training at an accredited institution, online colleges and universities.
  • Currently enrolled or planning to enroll as a full- or part-time student.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or “C” average for applicants pursuing an academic degree.

Selection Criteria

  • Academic standing
  • Financial need determined by FAFSA application
  • Statement of Interest including personal, academic and career goals as well as involvement in extracurricular activities, including community and volunteer activities
  • Two letters of recommendation; at least one from a member of the fire service. If this is not possible, please attach an explanation.

Applications must be completed 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.


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