Gopal Works to Expand Education Opportunities for First Responders

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal recently introduced new legislation that would allow certain volunteer first responders to qualify for free tuition at Community Colleges under the Community College Opportunity Grant program, regardless of income.

The bill (S-4271) would expand the program to include members of volunteer fire departments, or of a volunteer first aid, emergency, rescue, or ambulance squad, regardless of income. Grant recipients must meet all other eligibility criteria to qualify.

“Our volunteer first responders do so much to protect and serve our communities - without any promise of reward for themselves,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “As a volunteer with my own town’s EMT squad, I’ve been struck by the selflessness, courage, and dedication of those who serve in these much-needed roles. It’s only right that we do our best to open additional doors and opportunities for our first responders, just as they defend the gifts of life and future opportunities for those they rescue.”

Under the current grant program, community college students can qualify if they are enrolled in at least six credits and have an adjusted gross income at or below $65,000. The financial aid grants provided through this program cover any remaining costs of tuition and certain fees after applying all other grant and scholarship funds for which the student is eligible.