Apply for NVFC Scholarship to Columbia Southern University’s Online Degree Program

Two NVFC members will each receive a scholarship for up to 60 credit hours towards one online degree program

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and Columbia Southern University (CSU) are partnering for the 13th year to support volunteer responders by offering two scholarships to NVFC members to help them further their education in the fire and emergency services. Each scholarship will cover up to 60 credit hours towards one online degree program.

CSU offers a wide range of accredited degree programs, including fire science, fire administration, occupational safety and health, and more. The university offers many online learning options designed to accommodate the busy life of a volunteer firefighter or EMS provider. Scholarship recipients may pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.

“Online learning has been instrumental to help our first responders continue their education, especially over the past year,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “We thank CSU for their continued support of our volunteers and the opportunities they provide to help these men and women enhance their skill sets and better serve their communities.”

“As a university whose students and alumni are actively involved in their community fire departments, it is imperative that we stay connected to organizations like the NVFC,” said Chief Keith Padgett, CSU’s fire and emergency medical services academic program director. “Our partnership with the NVFC ensures that we continue to teach a relevant, indispensable curriculum to volunteer and career fire professionals.”

Since 2009, this scholarship has helped many NVFC members launch their careers and advance their position in the fire and emergency services. To date, 24 NVFC members have been able to achieve their educational goals through the partnership. Click here to see how the scholarship has benefited other volunteer responders.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a member of the NVFC. If you are not currently an NVFC member, click here to learn about membership benefits and join for just $18.
  • Be a volunteer responder.
  • Complete the CSU/NVFC Scholarship application.
  • Submit a 500-word essay on this subject: “Explain how the opportunity to continue your education through this scholarship will advance your participation in the fire and emergency services or enhance your ability to contribute back to the emergency services community.”
  • Provide at least one letter of recommendation (from a teacher or someone at the fire department you reported to directly).
  • Must not have previously earned a scholarship through CSU or the NVFC.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED), and be able to provide a transcript.
  • Be able to begin coursework within 90 days of the date of the award.
  • Maintain a 2.0 undergraduate GPA or 3.0 graduate GPA.
  • Remain in good standing with CSU and NVFC throughout the degree program.
  • Maintain continuous enrollment in the CSU degree program for the duration of the scholarship.
  • Current CSU students must already meet these requirements to be considered.

The deadline to apply is August 25. An NVFC scholarship committee will select the winners, and recipients will be announced in October 2021.

Learn more about this scholarship opportunity and apply on the CSU web site. For questions, please email the scholarship liaison at or call 888-785-3006.

About Columbia Southern University
As an innovator in online education, CSU was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience for today’s adult learner. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more.

About the NVFC
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides critical resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at