HESC Celebrates April as the Month of the Military Child

State and federal benefits support the college costs for dependent children of active duty and deceased military members

(Albany, NY: April 14, 2015) April is the Month of the Military Child. Each day, nearly two million children nationally who have one or both parents in the military make their own unique sacrifices for our country. Caring for these military children helps sustain the men and women who actively serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) recognizes military children and reminds them of higher education benefits specifically for dependent children and spouses of military servicemembers.

New York State Higher Education Benefits:

The Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship, provides financial aid to children and spouses of those who, while New York State residents, served in the U.S. Armed Forces or state organized militia and who died, became 100 percent severely and permanently disabled, or were classified as missing in action in a combat zone while engaged in or training for hostilities. Awards to eligible students cover a tuition amount up to actual tuition or the State University of New York’s (SUNY) in-state tuition, whichever is less. Additionally stipends for room, board, books, supplies, and transportation costs are included.

The NYS Regents Award for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans awards $450 per year to children whose parent(s) served in the U.S. Armed Forces during specified periods of war or national emergency, and as a result of service, died, suffered a 40 percent or more disability, was classified as missing in action, or was a prisoner of war. The veteran must currently be a New York State resident or was a New York State resident at the time of death.

Visit HESC.ny.gov for details and to establish eligibility for each of these scholarships.

Federal Higher Education Benefits:

The Post-9/11 GI Bill now allows service members (officer or enlisted, active duty or Selected Reserve), to transfer unused education benefits to immediate family members (children and spouse). Family members must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer. A child must be a high school graduate (or equivalent) and may use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is available to children whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. To be eligible, students must be, at the time of parent’s death, under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time at a college or career school and not eligible for a Pell Grant on the basis of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), but meet the remaining Pell Grant eligibility requirements. The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Pell Grant award, but cannot exceed the cost of attendance for the award year, which for the 2015-16 award year is $5,775.

The Survivor’s and Dependent’s Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, missing in action, prisoner of war, or of Veterans who died while on active duty. Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training for up to 45 months.

Other scholarship opportunities are available for military dependents, including scholarships offered through each of the 249 post commissaries located around the world; the individual branches of the military also offer educational support for families. Learn more at Military.com.

About HESC:
HESC is New York State’s student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At HESC’s core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. HESC puts college within the reach of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors. In 2013-14, HESC helped more than 388,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $984 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $935.5 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).