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Becoming a Police Officer: Scholarships, Grants, and Programs (page 2)

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Updated on Dec 2, 2010

STEP

The Student Educational Employment Program, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, his been streamlined into two separate programs used by various federal agencies as disparate as the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Bureau of Land Management and frequently leads to entry-level jobs. The assistance is available to virtually all levels of students, from those in high school, vocational or technical schools, and students pursuing an associate, baccalaureate, graduate, or professional degree. There are two types of assistance. One is designed to provide temporary employment during the school year or during summer vacations as long as the student remains in school. The second type offers the opportunity to engage in work directly related to your major field of study.

The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) must be renewed annually and the work you do is not necessarily related to your academic work. The Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) is a partnership involving the student and the agency. Work duties are designed to relate to your studies, including formal periods of work and study while attending school. This allows you to stay in school, obtain related on-the-job experience, and be paid for the work. It may also lead to permanent employment after you graduate.

The STEP and SCEP programs have similar eligibility requirements. You must be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, as a degree-seeking student, whether for a diploma, certificate, or another completion document. You must be at least sixteen years old, and be at least a halftime student at an accredited educational institution. The institution can be a high school, a technical or vocational school, a community college, a four-year college or university, or a graduate or professional school. You must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and be a U.S. citizen. Non-citizens may be considered if they are eligible to work in this country under U.S. immigration laws and if no qualified U.S. citizens are available for the position.

The National Guard

Another approach to work-study programs involves serving with the National Guard. Specifics vary from state to state, but enlisting with the National Guard can bring an enlistment bonus that can be used toward tuition or paying off an existing student loan. Credits can be earned toward tuition at in-state colleges, career training that qualifies for college credit, and a monthly paycheck. Service with the National Guard is prized by many law enforcement agencies, which will be a plus when you apply for a job.

Be mindful, though, that National Guard units are mobilized for emergencies such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and blizzards. If that happens, your regular routine—including attending classes—may be disrupted. National Guard units have also been deployed overseas, including to Afghanistan and Iraq; some personnel serve as long as a year or 18 months. While this can be a financially and emotionally enriching endeavor, it is not without risks.

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