State Offers Scholarships, Assistance with Higher Ed

By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Fall is the time of year when many graduating high school seniors start to look toward the future.  According to the New York State Education Department, in 2010, 82% of high school graduates in New York entered post-secondary education which includes either two- or four-year institutions.

In order to attend, most students will apply for some type of financial aid whether it is in the form of student loans or scholarships or a combination of both.

There are a number of grants and scholarships available through the state. I want to take some time this week to highlight some of the assistance programs available to state residents.

By far the largest grant program available is the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). This program helps eligible New York residents attending in-state postsecondary institutions pay for tuition. TAP grants are based on the applicant’s and his or her family’s New York State taxable income. This year the state budget increased the total TAP award.

New York is spending close to $1 billion on the program. The average TAP award is $2,497 per qualifying student.

Apart from TAP, there are several other programs and scholarship awards. Below is a list of some of those programs:

• Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship, which provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the armed forces who died or became severely and permanently disabled while engaged in hostilities.

• New York state Math and Science Teaching Incentives Scholarship provides grants to eligible full-time undergraduate or graduate students in approved programs that lead to math or science teaching careers in secondary education.

• NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence, awarded to outstanding graduates from registered NYS high schools. Awards are based on student’s grades in certain Regents exams.

• NYS Educational Opportunity Program provides assistance to state residents who are academically and financially disadvantaged, according to state guidelines. More information is available at college admission offices.

• NYS World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship guarantees access to a college education for families and financial dependents of the victims who died or were severely and permanently disabled in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

• Sen. Patricia McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship seeks to increase the number of educators and adjunct clinical faculty teaching nursing education in the state.

• NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program provides a full SUNY or CUNY tuition scholarship for the top 10% of students in each NYS high school if they pursue a STEM degree in an associates or bachelor degree program and agree to work in a STEM field in NYS for five years after graduation.

Other scholarship and assistance programs are available and a complete list of both state and federal scholarship and grant opportunities can be found at

More details are available on the website as well.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.