C.O.P.S. Arizona

Concerns of Police Survivors — Rebuilding Shattered Lives

Education

C.O.P.S.  scholarships provide financial assistance to surviving children and to surviving spouses of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, according to Federal government criteria, who wish to pursue a course of study beyond high school.  Scholarships are not awarded for post-graduate study.Scholarships are not awarded to survivors who are entitled to a tuition-free education as a state death benefit.

Applicants seeking financial assistance for education purposes are limited to the receipt of not more than $1,500 per semester, and total scholarship awards shall not exceed $12,000 maximum lifetime.

C.O.P.S.  scholarships are awarded three times annually: Fall/Winter semester (begins late August or early September), Winter/Spring semester (begins late December or early January), and Summer semester (begins May or June).  A completed application is required for consideration for each semester, and the awarding of a scholarship for any one semester does not guarantee a scholarship for any future semesters.

Scholarship recipients are determined by an independent Scholarship Committee drawn from the outside community and comprised of persons knowledgeable about education and the law enforcement profession.  The National Board of C.O.P.S.  determines the amount of funding that will be set aside for educational scholarships each year.

Scholarships are paid directly to the institution of higher learning on behalf of the scholarship recipient and may be expended only for tuition, required texts, and associated fees (not room and board charges).  Any unused amount is returned to C.O.P.S.

NOTICE: C.O.P.S.  Scholarship are only available for survivors who DO NOT qualify for the Arizona tuition-free education benefit.

Tuition waiver for child or spouse of peace officer, correctional officer, fire fighter, emergency paramedic, national guard member or member of the United States armed forces killed in the line of duty; disabled national guard member; disabled United States armed forces member; definitions

A. The board of regents, after verification by the Arizona peace officers memorial board, by the Arizona fire fighters and emergency paramedics memorial board, by the adjutant general of the national guard or by the Arizona department of veterans' services that a person is a child or a spouse of a peace officer, correctional officer, fire fighter, emergency paramedic, national guard member or member of the United States armed forces who was a resident of the state of Arizona or stationed in Arizona and who was killed in the line of duty or who died from injuries suffered in the line of duty while traveling to or from duty, shall provide the person who qualifies under subsection B of this section and who otherwise meets the qualifications for admission with a tuition waiver scholarship at any university under the jurisdiction of the board. A district as defined in section 15-1401, after verification by the Arizona peace officers memorial board, by the Arizona fire fighters and emergency paramedics memorial board, by the adjutant general of the national guard or by the Arizona department of veterans' services that a person is the child or the spouse of a peace officer, correctional officer, fire fighter, emergency paramedic, national guard member or member of the United States armed forces who was a resident of Arizona or stationed in Arizona and who was killed in the line of duty or who died from injuries suffered in the line of duty while traveling to or from duty, shall provide the person who qualifies under subsection B of this section and who otherwise meets the qualifications for admission with a tuition waiver scholarship at any community college under the jurisdiction of the district.

B. The tuition waiver scholarships shall be limited to children who are thirty years of age or younger or a spouse who has not remarried and shall be limited for a spouse or for any one child to no more than sixty-four credit hours at Arizona community colleges and a total number of credits including any transfer credits from an Arizona community college equal to the number of credits required for a baccalaureate degree at Arizona universities for that student's initially declared course of study.

C. A member of the Arizona national guard who received a purple heart citation on or after September 11, 2001 or a former member of the Arizona national guard who was medically discharged from the Arizona national guard due to an injury or disability suffered during status under title 10, United States Code, in weekend training status, in annual training status or in response to a state of emergency declared by the governor is eligible for a tuition waiver scholarship provided for in this section.

D. The board of regents, after verification by the Arizona department of veterans' services that a person is a member or former member of the United States armed forces who received a purple heart citation, who was a resident of the state of Arizona or was stationed in Arizona at the time of the injury that resulted in the purple heart citation and whose disability rating determined by the United States department of veterans affairs is fifty per cent or more, shall provide the person who otherwise meets the qualifications for admission with a tuition waiver scholarship at any university under the jurisdiction of the board. A district as defined in section 15-1401, after verification by the Arizona department of veterans' services that a person is a member or former member of the United States armed forces who received a purple heart citation, who was a resident of the state of Arizona or was stationed in Arizona at the time of the injury that resulted in the purple heart citation and whose disability rating determined by the United States department of veterans affairs is fifty per cent or more, shall provide the person who otherwise meets the qualifications for admission with a tuition waiver scholarship at any community college under the jurisdiction of the district. A person who is convicted of a felony is ineligible for a tuition waiver scholarship provided for in this subsection.

E. For the purposes of this section:
1. "Correctional officer" means a person, other than an elected official, who is employed

by this state or a county, city or town and who is responsible for the supervision, protection, care, custody or control of inmates in a state, county or municipal correctional institution, including counselors but excluding secretarial, clerical and professionally trained personnel.

2. "Emergency paramedic" means a person who has been trained in an emergency paramedic training program certified by the director of the department of health services or in an equivalent training program and who is certified by the director of the department of health services to render services pursuant to section 36-2205.

3. "Fire fighter" means a professional fire fighter who is a member of a state, federal, tribal, city, county, district or private fire department.

4. "Peace officers" means sheriffs of counties, constables, marshals, police officers of cities and towns, commissioned personnel of the department of public safety and police officers appointed by community college district governing boards or the Arizona board of regents who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, and other state, federal, tribal, city or county officers vested by law with a duty to maintain public order and make arrests.

Information on Arizona educational benefits for children and spouses may be obtained by contacting Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Board at: http://azag.gov

Kid's Chance is a scholarship program designated to help children who have had a parent killed or permanently disabled in a work-related accident. This nonprofit corporation was formed by the Workman's Compensation Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Scholarships are provided on the basis of need to children between the ages of 16 and 22 who qualify. Scholarships are issued for one year during which time a student must maintain acceptable grades. The scholarships include the cost of books, tuition, and meals for high school, college, or technical school. For more information contact Peggy Hassler, Executive Director at (877) 933-0222, email admin@kidschance.org or visit http://kidschance.org.

Wives Behind the Badge, scholarships are open to the spouses/registered domestic partners and dependent children of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers (active, retired, or deceased). Applicants must be US Citizens. The Children’s Scholarship is for tuition assistance at an accredited four-year college or university only. The Spouses’ Scholarship is for tuition assistance at an accredited four-year college or university, or a community college. For more information visit http://wivesbehindthebadge.org or call (661)202-8604.

The 104th Congress of the United States enacted the Federal Law Enforcement Dependents Assistance (FLEDA) Act in 1996 which sets forth the guidelines for educational assistance to the dependents of Federal law enforcement officials who are killed or disabled in the performance of their duties. Congress and the President amended the Act in 1998 to provide educational assistance to spouses and children of police, fire, and emergency public safety officers killed in the line of duty, thus creating the Public Safety Officers' Educational Assistance (PSOEA) Program. The PSOEA Program also makes assistance available to spouses and children of public safety officers permanently and totally disabled by catastrophic injuries sustained in the line of duty. This program is administered by the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, Bureau of Justice Assistance, for more information call (888)744-6513 or visit http://psob.gov.

Program Benefits

The PSOEA Program provides an educational assistance allowance to eligible survivors of public safety officers whose deaths or permanent and total disabilities are the direct and proximate result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. PSOEA benefits may be used solely to defray educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and education-related fees. The allowance is $485 per month for full- time students, $365 for three-quarter-time students, $242 for half-time students, and $121 for less-than-half-time. The amount of assistance is subject to change consistent with the current computation of educational assistance allowance set forth in the Title IV of the Higher Education Act, Section 3532 of Title 38, United States Code. The PSOEA benefit will be reduced by benefits received from Federal, State, and local governmental sources, scholarships and tuition waivers from Federal, State or local governmental institutions, including state school systems. However, deductions will not be made for grants, scholarships, or tuition waivers from private educational systems, private organizations, or non-profit groups.

Program Effective Dates

Effective dates were amended in 2000. Under the PSOEA Program, police, fire, and emergency public safety officers are covered for line-of-duty deaths or permanent and totally disabling injuries that occurred on or after January, 1978. The FLEDA Act makes program benefits available retroactively to families of federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on or after January 1978.

Eligibility for Benefits

The PSOEA Program stipulates that PSOEA benefits are to be provided directly to dependents who attend a program of education at an eligible educational institution and are the spouses or children of federal, police, fire, and emergency public safety officers whose deaths or permanent and total disabilities are covered by the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program. Public safety officers' children are no longer eligible for assistance, however, after their 27th birthday, absent a finding by the Attorney General of extraordinary circumstances. Assistance under the PSOEA Program is available for 45 months of full-time education or training or for a proportional period of time for a part-time program.

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