Kelly Skinner is carrying a lighter financial load during her third semester at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University in Brookville, thanks to her service to the community.
Skinner, 18, of upstate New Paltz, moved to Long Island at the beginning of her freshman year so she could study in LIU’s biology program. Shortly after enrolling there, she joined the nearby Roslyn Fire Department as a volunteer emergency medical technician. She is now getting a a tuition break as a result.
Beginning with this semester, LIU is offering a one-third tuition reduction for all active volunteers in the Roslyn Fire Department, which covers the campus, to help firefighters and EMTs further their education. At a ceremony Aug. 25 on campus, C.W. Post campus Provost Paul Forestell and Roslyn Fire Chief Salvatore Mirra Jr. signed a formal agreement.
“We recognize the need to be able to extend to community members who are such an important part of taking care of us, the opportunity for higher education for them,” Forestell said. “For the younger members, the opportunity to come in and start school and complete a degree here, and for the older members the opportunity to complete a degree that they may have started some time ago.”
Skinner said she and her father were recently discussing her loans when news of the tuition deal came through, making her parents very happy.
Firefighter and Emergency Medical Service Lt. Derek Skuzenski, 22, of Roslyn, transferred to the school last year after two years at Nassau Community College, where he studied criminal justice. He already has a tuition reduction since he works for the campus’ public safety department. But he’s excited by the prospect of the discount encouraging others to serve.
“Roslyn is a more wealthy community, so it’s difficult to retain membership after high school,” he said, adding that many high school members go away to school after graduation. “This might attract people to stay local.”