(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - After learning that Nassau County has been denied critically important federal funding that assists volunteer firefighters and EMS workers with college tuition costs, Nassau County Legislators Siela A. Bynoe (D - Westbury) and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D - Glen Cove) are co-sponsoring legislation that would direct the County to restore funding that was previously provided through FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate and Emergency Response

Grants (SAFER) tuition assistance program.

Any Nassau County college student who enrolled with a participating fire company or EMS squad is eligible to potentially receive thousands of dollars in tuition assistance through the SAFER program. However, Nassau County was recently denied funding for the balance of 2018 and the entirety of 2019. The bill filed by Legislators Bynoe and DeRiggi-Whitton on Thursday, Nov. 15 would correct this shortfall by directing the County to provide funding for the SAFER tuition assistance program to the extent that funding from outside sources is not available.

“Not only does the SAFER program reward courageous volunteers and encourage college students to become stakeholders in their communities, these funds can play an integral role in helping a young person set themselves on the path to a bright and successful future,” Legislator Bynoe said. “We must do all we can to ensure this scholarship program remains solvent so that future volunteers may reap the just rewards of their service.”

“First responders across Nassau County display tremendous selflessness by stepping up to protect their neighbors from harm. We should be doing everything possible to empower these community-minded college students to pursue their dreams and gain the skills they need to build a life on Long Island,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “Preserving the opportunities associated with the SAFER grant is the right thing to do for these volunteers and this county.”