BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday, April 17 unanimously passed a bill to expand eligibility for the Public Service Grant and amend the line of duty benefits to include families of Deputy Sheriffs killed in the line of duty, Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education and the Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security announced.

“The Commonwealth’s first responders and public safety personnel everyday make tremendous sacrifices to ensure our safety, evident by the recent losses of Lieutenant Walsh, Firefighter Kennedy, Officer Maloney and Officer Simmonds,” Senator Moore stated. “In this bill, the Senate honors their memories and service by ensuring the burden of their children’s higher education is removed. This is the least the Commonwealth can do for these families to show our appreciation for our fallen heroes.”

This bill adds to the existing Public Service Grant a scholarship that covers tuition, room and board and fees for an undergraduate degree at a state college or university and makes eligible children of first responders, public safety and Massachusetts veterans killed in the line of duty. The children of all families included in the Line of Duty Act are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants to this scholarship must also apply for federal education aid and will be required to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Individuals who have already received an undergraduate degree will not be eligible.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.