WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) and Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13) introduced legislation this week to provide a boost of education aid for the children of fallen law enforcement and first responders who have died in the line of duty.
The bipartisan Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act [H.R. 949] eliminates the expected family contribution used to determine Pell Grant eligibility for children of first responders who have died in the line of duty, providing eligible students the ability to receive up to the maximum Pell award each year.
“As a member of the law enforcement community for nearly a decade and a half, I know firsthand the service and sacrifice of our nation’s first responders. While we can never repay those who laid down their lives in the line of duty, we can make it our priority to support their families and their children,” said Fitzpatrick. “This truly nonpartisan legislation would ease the financial burden on the families of our community’s fallen heroes. As such, it deserves swift consideration and passage; it’s the least we can do.”
“We owe our fallen heroes and their families an eternal debt of gratitude. Easing the crushing burden of student loan debt for these families who have made the ultimate sacrifice is the least we can do,” said Boyle. “It is my hope that this legislation provides a needed boost to these deserving families when they need it most.”
Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey will introduce the Senate version of the bill. Last congress, the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act unanimously passed the Senate (H.R. 2350/S.1352).
The Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Major Cities of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, and Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD.
What they’re saying about the bill:
Fraternal Order of Police: “In 2016, 140 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the United States. That’s 140 officers who will never be able to see their families again. While no amount of financial assistance can replace a loved one, providing children of fallen officers with Federal Pell Grants for their college education is a noble act.” -Chuck Canterbury, National President
International Association of Firefighters: “On behalf of the nation’s 300,000 professional firefighters and emergency medical responders, I support the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act. The IAFF has long recognized the tremendous financial hardships that the families of our nation’s fallen firefighters and emergency medical responders endure. While we are never able to bring back the fallen, we may take steps to assist the survivors as they journey through life without their loved one. A step in the right direction is to relieve the surviving family of the heavy financial contributions associated with qualifying for Pell Grants to provide higher education for the children of our fallen heroes. While the debt owed to the surviving family will never be fully repaid, I am certain that this legislation will provide a welcome relief to the surviving family members of our fallen firefighters and emergency medical responders.” - Harold A. Schaitberger, General President
National Association of Police Organizations: “While we will never forget that these brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice, we must also remember the immense burden that their families bear as a result of their loss. These families face financial difficulties that often result in their being unable to send their children to college. NAPO supports the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act because it would help take away a financial burden for these families and honor fallen officers by expanding access to higher education funding for their children.” - Mick McHale, President
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation: “Any law enforcement officer that dies in the line of duty leaves behind a family that should be honored and cared for. The Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act is a step toward our nation fulfilling its obligation to care for these families and the children left behind.” - Donald J. Mihalek, Executive Vice President
Major Cities Chiefs Association: “The men and women of American law enforcement are deeply grateful for the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act. This meaningful legislation recognizes those on the front lines who have taken an oath to serve the American people. Police families will know that Congress has not forgotten their sacrifice, and all they have given to our country.” - Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger, President
Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department: “Our nation’s public safety officers do the jobs most of us can't or won't, day in and day out, and we willingly place ourselves in harm’s way without fanfare, recognition, or expectation of reward. When an officer makes the ultimate sacrifice while working to keep our communities safe, we have no higher obligation than to ensure that their families are provided for. This is why the SBA is grateful for the leadership of Representatives Fitzpatrick and Boyle to reintroduce the ‘Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act’ and we look forward to working with them to see it enacted into law.” - Ed Mullins, President