Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute - MERIT Scholarship
The Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state organized militia who at any time, while New York State residents, died or became severely and permanently disabled while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not.
MERIT provides 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;
- 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.
- Study at an approved postsecondary institution in New York State.
- Have graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma by passing a General Educational Development Test (GED) , or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;
- Be enrolled as a full-time student taking 12 or more credits per semester.
- Be matriculated in an approved program of study.
- Be in good academic standing.
- Not be in default on any State or federal student loan or on any repayment of state awards.
How to Apply
Complete and submit the Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarships Web Supplement. Be sure to print the Web Supplement confirmation, sign it, and submit it, along with the required documentation including this Total & Permanent Disability Verification Form according to the instructions. NOTE: You should complete an application for every member of the family that will use this scholarship (even if they are not old enough to attend college at this time, no matter what the age). This will save having to retrieve and send proof of eligibility at a later date when that child is old enough to attend college.
Once you have established your eligibility and are assigned an account number by HESC, you must do one of the following by June 30 of each academic year to request payment:
- Current New York State residents – Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and TAP on the Web application. FAFSA and TAP applications and instructions are available on-line at HESC.ny.gov.
MERIT provides funds to help meet the cost of attending college. The award covers up to four years of full-time undergraduate study (or five years in an approved five-year bachelor's degree program) and includes the following components:
- Tuition: An amount equal to your actual tuition or the State University of New York’s (SUNY) in-state tuition, whichever is less.
- Non-tuition Costs: These include room and board and allowances for books, supplies and transportation up to the average cost at SUNY Colleges.
- Residence: A student living on campus will receive a higher room and board allowance than a commuter student. If housing is not available for students on campus they will receive the same allowance as students living on campus.
For the 2021-22 academic year, a recipient will receive a maximum of $25,620 if living on campus and a maximum of $16,290 if commuting to college. Note: Students choosing to live off campus when housing is available will be paid at the lower commuter rate.
HESC will make payments to schools on behalf of students upon certification of eligibility and submission of appropriate financial aid applications.