Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive & Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship

Scholarships for children, spouses, and financial dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state-organized militia who died or became severely and permanently disabled performing their military duties.

  • Covers the cost of attendance, not to exceed the average cost of attendance charged to NYS resident students at a state-operated SUNY college

  • Available to members of U.S. Armed Forces and their children, spouses or financial dependents who died or became severely and permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness suffered or incurred while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not; or are classified as missing in action while NYS residents

  • Enrolled in full-time study (at least 12 credits per term) 

Deadline

For the 2024-2025 Academic Year

Be sure to complete your FAFSA and apply for TAP first.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)Apply for TAP

Complete and submit the MERIT Scholarship Application. Be sure to print the Web Supplement confirmation, sign it, and submit it, along with the required documentation including the Total & Permanent Disabillity Verification Form according to the instructions.


 

AMOUNT

Covers the cost of attendance, not to exceed the average cost of attendance charged to NYS resident students at a state-operated SUNY college.

Frequency

Annual

Must complete the FAFSA and TAP application or Dream Act application each year for payment.

Duration

Dependent on the length of program

  • 2 years for students pursuing their associate degree full-time.
  • 4 years for students pursuing their bachelor’s degree full-time.
  • 5 years for approved five-year degree programs.

 

Any award payment received may have tax implications. Please direct any questions to a tax professional, the Internal Revenue Service, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Undocumented and other immigrant students: before submitting your MERIT application material, apply for eligibility under the NYS DREAM Act.  

To receive the Scholarship, you must meet the following residency requirements: 

  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • You are a legal resident of New York State and have resided in New York State for 12 continuous months.

Not a citizen or eligible noncitizen? Learn more about the NYS DREAM Act application.

MERIT Scholarships provide financial aid to children, spouses, and financial dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state-organized militia who provided eligible military service, while New York State residents and who: 

  • Died or became severely and permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness suffered or incurred while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not; or are classified as missing in action; OR: 
  • Were a member of the United States Armed Forces or state organized militia who provided eligible military service, is considered severely and permanently disabled when a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, licensed to practice in a state, has determined that such person is unable to engage in any occupation for remuneration or profit due to a physical or mental impairment. 

MERIT is also available to members of the United States Armed Forces or state-organized militia who provided eligible military service at any time while New York State residents and who became severely and permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness suffered or incurred while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not, and cannot work for pay as a result. 

High School, GED, or Ability to Benefit

  • Graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma (GED), or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test.

College & Program

  • Once in college, you must meet the following requirements: 
    • Be enrolled full-time. 
    • Be matriculated in an approved program of study.

There are no income limits for this scholarship. 

Financial Status 

To receive the scholarship, you must: 

  • Be in good standing (a non-default status) on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award.
  • Be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by any NYS award that you have previously received. 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, students with qualified disabilities who attend less than full-time must register with their college office for students with disabilities. 

Learn more

Have Questions? 

Schedule a call.

HESC is here to answer your questions or help you with a specific issue. 

Monday through Friday (excluding holidays)
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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