Nevada aid for police, firefighters’ children low
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A fund intended to pay for the college education of Nevada children whose parents died while serving as police officers or firefighters is nearly broke.
The Trust Fund for the Education of Dependent Children has less than $4,000. State officials said it will probably drop to $3,000 by the end of the semester.
The fund has paid for the college education of 18 students since its inception in 1995. Six students are currently using it at universities and community colleges across the state.
“It’s not right to make a promise and then run out of money,” said Kevin Page, a member of the Nevada Board of Regents.
The regents plan to vote next month on whether to ask a legislative committee for an influx of cash to keep the fund going until the full Legislature can replenish it next year.
In the meantime, Page is asking for private donations. He found out about the funding shortage because his brother is a Las Vegas police officer.
The fund was established 15 years ago and $20,000 was put into the account. The law mandated that the Board of Regents use the fund to pay for the college education of the children of police officers and firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. Later, volunteer ambulance drivers were added.
Over the years, the state took back about $16,000 and then made two more deposits into the account, for $33,000 and for $50,000. No money has been appropriated since 2005.
Page hopes to raise enough money in the private sector to create an endowment. An endowment is a fund that’s large enough to live off the interest earned. Page figures he’d need to gather a few hundred thousand dollars for that to work in this case.
Since December, when he first discovered the problem, he’s received a $1,000 donation from the Police and Fire Emerald Society of Nevada.
Lindsey Bohach, a 20-year-old University of Nevada, Reno student whose father was killed while serving as a police officer, said she’s not sure how she would pay for college without the fund.
But without the trust fund, she doesn’t know how she could keep going to college. “It allows me to focus on my education and not have that concern about how my tuition is going to be paid,” she said.
Her mom is remarried to a retired police officer who recently had to go back to work as a security guard to make ends meet.
“I did pay the price of not having my father,” Bohach said. “If he were here, he’d be helping me get through school.”