After West, First Responders Scholarship Fund Announced

A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.
A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.

Inspired by the efforts of first responders during the recent bombing in Boston and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, the College Board on Wednesday announced the creation of a First Responders Scholarship Fund.

The new fund will provide scholarships, administered annually by the New York-based College Board, to students who are the children of a first responder, or are first responders themselves. To qualify, students must perform well on the PSAT and SAT tests, which the College Board maintains, and demonstrate civic engagement and leadership.

Details of the program are still uncertain. The structure and size of the award depends on how much money can be raised; the College Board is accepting contributions from the public and private organizations for the fund. The organization hopes to award the first scholarship to a member of the graduating high school Class of 2013.

In a statement, Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin said the institution, a College Board member, was honored to partner with College Board to launch the fund.

"The tragedy in West and the terrorist attack in Boston have touched us all as we share in the grief of the families and friends of those who lost loved ones, as well as those whose lives will forever be changed even as they recover," Loftin said.

As the new fund was announced, College Board president David Coleman issued a statement praising the bravery of the police officers, firefighters and others who responded to the crises in Boston and West, and he heralded the role such individuals play on college campuses.

"Many of them develop bonds of trust and friendship with students in their care," he said. "They become guardians away from home. This scholarship honors the distinctive role first responders play in the campus community and in educating and protecting young people.”

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