Beginning with the 2018-2019 award year, a Pell eligible student whose parent or guardian died in the line of duty while performing as a public safety officer is eligible to receive a maximum Pell Grant for the award year for which the determination of eligibility is made.
To qualify, a student must meet all three of the following criteria:
- Have a valid FAFSA on file with WSU and submit all requested documents listed in myWSU.
- Be Pell eligible and have a Pell eligible Expected Family Contribution (EFC) greater than zero.
- Be less than 24 years of age or enrolled at an institution of higher education at the time of their parent’s or guardian’s death.
In subsequent award years, the student’s eligibility for the maximum Pell Grant for the award year will continue, as long as the student has a Pell eligible EFC and continues to be an eligible student.
A single national data source of individuals who died in the line of duty while serving as a public safety officer does not exist. Therefore, students must self-identify and document their eligibility with Student Financial Services. Students may complete the Children of Fallen Heroes form on our forms page.
- A determination letter acknowledging eligibility for certain federal benefits under the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) program administered by the Department of Justice.
- A written letter of attestation or determination made by a state or local government official with supervisory or other relevant oversight authority of an individual who died in the line of duty while serving as a public safety officer as defined above.
- Documentation of the student qualifying for a state tuition or other state benefit accorded to the children or other family members of a public safety officer consistent with the definition in 42 U.S.C. 3796b, or as a fire police officer as noted below.
- Other documentation the school determines to be from a credible source that describes or reports the circumstances of the death and the occupation of the parent or guardian.
Definition of a public safety officer
Defined in section 1204 of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b):
- an individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, with or without compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as a firefighter, or as a chaplain;
- an employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who is performing official duties of the agency in an area, if those official duties—are related to a major disaster or emergency that has been, or is later, declared to exist with respect to the area under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.); and
- are determined by the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be hazardous duties;
- an employee of a state, local, or tribal emergency management or civil defense agency who is performing official duties in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an area, if those official duties—
- are related to a major disaster or emergency that has been, or is later, declared to exist with respect to the area under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.); and
- are determined by the head of the agency to be hazardous duties; or
- a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew who, as authorized or licensed by law and by the applicable agency or entity, is engaging in rescue activity or in the provision of emergency medical services.
- A fire police officer, defined as an individual who is serving in accordance with State or local law as an officially recognized or designated member of a legally organized public safety agency and provides scene security or directs traffic in response to any fire drill, fire call, or other fire, rescue, or police emergency, or at a planned special event.