State and federal benefits are available for the surviving family members of officers who have died in the line of duty. Most benefits also apply to the children and spouses of officers who have been permanently disabled in the line of duty. If you have educational costs that exceed the amount the student is eligible for under either or both of these programs, then the Police Officer Assistance Trust can provide assistance to help cover these expenses. Please contact the POAT office after first securing the benefits available at the state and federal level.
POAT Guidelines for Educational Assistance for Line of Duty Survivors:
Per the Police Officer Assistance Trust’s Bylaws, educational assistance is created exclusively for charitable and educational purposes and its funds shall be utilized to provide scholarship assistance to the spouses and/or dependent children of certified law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty while employed full-time within the boundaries of Miami-Dade County, Florida; or the spouses and/or dependent children of certified law enforcement officers disabled in the line of duty in Miami-Dade County, Florida, determined on an individual basis by the Board of Directors. Funds shall be utilized in pursuing an education at a vocational-technical school or in pursuing undergraduate and post-secondary studies at a college or university located within the continental United States. To be eligible for scholarship assistance under the Trust an applicant must:
a) Be the child or spouse of a sworn full-time certified law enforcement officer.
b) The child or spouse shall become and maintain throughout each school term the status of a full-time or part-time student. Full-time attendance is considered four or more courses during a regular semester. If attendance is less than full-time, the amount of assistance will be pro-rated based on the number of registered classes.
c) Maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a four point scale, or its equivalent, while in the vocational-technical school, college, or university being attended.
d) In the case where the student drops or withdraws from course(s) or receives a failing or incomplete grade, where no course credits were earned, the educational funds expended will be deducted from future scholarship allocations.
However, the student may provide a written appeal to the educational committee providing a verifiable explanation, as to illness, or other exigent circumstances which created a hardship whereby the course(s) could not be completed.
Persons eligible under the above mentioned criteria shall complete an application for educational assistance and submit it to the Police Officer Assistance Trust. The completed application will be forwarded to the Educational Committee for review. Upon review of the application, a recommendation shall be made to the Board of by the Educational Committee at the next scheduled monthly board meeting.
Assistance shall be granted according to the following guidelines:
a) All vocational-technical schools, colleges, and universities must be accredited.
b) For four-year undergraduate studies, assistance up to $4000 per semester, quarter, or term shall be considered to cover tuition costs, housing, lab fees, books, etc.
c) For two-year junior college studies, assistance up to $3000 per semester, quarter, or term shall be considered to cover tuition costs, housing, lab fees, books, etc.
d) For vocational or technical training, assistance will be determined on an individual basis but will not exceed the limits established under the junior college criteria.
e) For post-secondary (masters) studies, assistance up to $5000 per semester, quarter, or term shall be considered to cover tuition costs, housing, lab fees, books, etc. Postgraduate assistance shall not exceed a maximum of four years. Eligibility will be determined on an individual basis by the Board of Directors.
f) For doctoral degree, assistance up to $8000 per semester, quarter, or term shall be considered to cover tuition costs, housing, lab fees, books, etc. Postgraduate assistance shall not exceed a maximum of four years. Eligibility will be determined on an individual basis by the Board of Directors.
g) In cases where tuition is waived by the school or institute or paid for by other resources (scholarship, grant, philanthropic individual), the Board of Directors shall have the ability to award assistance consistent with the levels shown above.
h) Amounts shall follow the tuition criteria established for the applicable type of educational institution chosen by the applicant.
All tuition payments from the Trust shall be made directly to the educational institution or in the case of necessary expenses, payments shall be made to the applicant upon producing paid receipts.
Continuation of payments will be based upon receipt of the grade report form and schedule of classes and fees from the applicant. This is to verify both full-time or part-time status and grade point average.
The final decision to grant and/or continue all assistance shall be at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors.
Click here for the POAT application for Line of Duty Survivors. (Spouses and children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty serving Miami-Dade County)
The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program includes the Public Safety Officers’ Educational Assistance (PSOEA) Program, which expands on efforts started under the Federal Law Enforcement Dependents Assistance (FLEDA) Act (Public Law 104-238) of 1996. The PSOEA Program provides assistance for higher education for the spouses and children of federal, state, and local public safety officers who have been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
The spouse of a public safety office is eligible to receive PSOEA funds for educational expenses at any time during his or her lifetime. However, for a child of the deceased or disabled officer, eligibility is limited to educational expenses that occur prior to his or her 27th birthday. Also, a spouse or child is eligible to receive funds for a period no greater than 45 months of full-time education or a proportionate period of a part-time program.
PSOEA benefits may be used solely to defray educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and education-related fees. The amount of assistance is determined by whether the student attended school as a full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, or less-than-half-time student. The amount of assistance is subject to change.
In order to apply for this benefit, you must first apply for the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit Program. For more information, please follow the instructions here.
The State of Florida also provides financial assistance to surviving spouses and children which includes educational and insurance premium benefits. For more information please view the following PDF from the C.O.P.S. website here or call Florida Department of Labor, Division of Workers Compensation 800-342-1741.
C.O.P.S. Scholarship Programs
C.O.P.S. scholarships provide financial assistance to surviving children and to surviving spouses of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, according to Federal government criteria, who wish to pursue a course of study beyond high school. Scholarships are not awarded for post-graduate study or to survivors who are entitled to a tuition-free education as a state death benefit.
Please visit the C.O.P.S. website for more details.
American Police Hall of Fame Scholarship
The American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens (AFP&CC) honors the memory of men and women killed in the line of duty both as officers and as parents, by assisting their children in attaining a college education, an experience which has an immeasurable impact on a young adult’s life and future. Fallen officers leave behind a legacy of courage, commitment and honor. Unfortunately, that is not all they leave behind. Many of our fallen officers leave sons and daughters whose lives are forever changed by the hardship of losing a parent.
See website for additional information afpcc.org.
Police Officer Assistance Trust
POAT offers five scholarships yearly, each with its own guidelines. Please visit our Scholarship Page where you will find complete details on the requirements and the application for each.