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New York State Education Benefits

Before applying for any scholarship program or related opportunity, it is a good idea to complete a Federal Application Form for Student Aid or FAFSA. While FAFSA can’t help students with state-level education benefits, many such benefits have FAFSA requirements or require you to exhaust certain FAFSA options first. You can find New York colleges using our locator tool.

New York State Higher Education Programs

Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP)

The CSTEP program “provides academic enrichment and research experience in STEM content areas,” according to the official site and offers supervised research training, grad school prep, standardized test prep, and career development options for students in STEM fields.

Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP)

This is a college prep option for those in science and math concentrations. Core instruction, practical training, research training, test prep, and career development are all offered.

Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)

Developed to serve New York State students who are economically disadvantaged. Qualifying applicants must meet a household income cap requirement (less than 185 percent of the amount under federal poverty guidelines and there may be college-specific criteria to meet depending on circumstances.

Student support is provided via academic and career counseling, tutoring, and support services for qualifying students.

Find New York colleges at College Recon

New York State Higher Education Investment Program

New York State offers the NYS 529 College Savings Plan, which according to the NY State official site is, “a type of investment plan that enables you to save money for a beneficiary to pay for higher education expenses.”

According to the State of New York, withdrawals can be made from the plan tax-free for “nearly any type of college expense.” There may also be federal tax benefits associated with this plan, but tax laws change from year to year and it’s smart to check the current year’s requirements before proceeding.

NYS 529 plans allow contributions of up to $90,000 per year for a single student and double that amount for a married student who joint-files income taxes.

Contributions can be auto-deducted from paychecks, “qualified withdrawals” are not subject to federal taxation in 2024, and the account can be grown on a tax-deferred basis, according to the State of New York’s official site.

New York State Education Benefits For Military and Veterans

New York State offers scholarships and programs for various students, including military members, veterans, and military family members. They include:

  • Military Residency Waiver
  • MERIT Scholarship
  • Regents Awards for Children of Deceased & Disabled Veterans
  • Veterans Tuition Awards

Find New York colleges at College Recon

Residency Waiver for Qualifying Military Members and Family

The New York State residency requirement for education assistance offered by New York State Higher Education Services (HESC) “is waived for a member of, or for the spouse or dependent of a member of, the United States Armed Forces” stationed in New York State.

The Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship

The MERIT Scholarship is a college financial aid program for surviving family members of those who served as New York State residents and died on duty or became “severely and permanently disabled” on duty.

Learn more about the Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute – MERIT Scholarship

The Regents Awards is for Children of Deceased & Disabled Veterans

This program offers an annual stipend to “students whose parent(s) served in the United States Armed Forces during specified times of war or national emergency.”

The qualifying criteria for this program includes the require that, “as a result of such service, the Veteran either died, suffered a 40 percent or greater United States Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability rating percentage, was classified as missing in action, or was a prisoner of war.”

To qualify the veteran must be a New York resident or was a New York resident at the time of death.

Learn more about the Regents Awards for Children of Deceased & Disabled Veterans

Veterans Tuition Awards

Veteran Tuition Awards are offered for both full and part-time coursework in New York State. To qualify, students must be New York State residents and meet the following requirements as listed on the official site:

  • Vietnam Veterans who served in Indochina between November 1, 1955, and May 7, 1975.
  • Persian Gulf Veterans who served in the Persian Gulf on or after August 2, 1990.
  • Afghanistan Veterans who served in Afghanistan during hostilities on or after September 11, 2001.
  • Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in hostilities that occurred after February 28, 1961, and were awarded an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, or a Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.

Learn more about Veterans Tuition Awards

Select New York State Scholarships For College Students

SUNY Potsdam Merit Scholarship

SUNY Potsdam awards merit scholarships up to $5K, offered on a “while funds last” basis to the first qualifying applicants with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

SUNY Potsdam Tuition Match Program

New students from a select number of other states may attend SUNY Potsdam “for the same tuition they’d pay at their home state’s public university system flagship schools” according to the official site.

In 2024, applicants from the following states were allowed to apply:

Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California.

New York State (NYS) Higher Education Services Corporation Tuition Assistance Program

New York residents who are full-time students at a New York college may qualify for funds under this program, which includes scholarships at or near $5K. Students must be in good academic standing, and a small minimum cash investment in the student’s education is required annually. This program features income restrictions.

Find New York colleges at College Recon

New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence

These New York State scholarships are offered between $500 and $1000 to students at colleges or universities within New York State. Scholarships for Academic Excellence are renewable for four years.

New York State Scholarships for Part-Time Study

A common theme among some of the scholarships listed above? They require full-time course loads/ But this proram is specifically for part-time students attending New York colleges. There are income restrictions and you must attend a college within the state.

Horatio Alger NY State Scholarship

High school juniors can apply for this $10K scholarship, which requires a demonstration of financial need. This scholarship is for those with less than $55,000 in “adjusted gross family income” and also requires “a minimum 2.0 GPA and a record of community service.”

Crowned Princess Scholarship

The Crowned Princess Scholarship program offers “funding towards a young woman’s college education, providing up to $2 thousand in previous years to qualifying applicants.

Learn more about the Crowned Princess Scholarship program.

Select New York State Yellow Ribbon Colleges

At press time, all colleges in the list below are GI-Bill approved and participate in the Yellow Ribbon program. VA.gov reminds veterans that the Yellow Ribbon program is meant to help pay for higher out-of-state, private school, foreign school, or graduate school fees the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover, and if you’re considering any New York State-based education options, Yellow Ribbon can help.

New York University
Bonomi Family Admissions Center
27 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10003

Berkeley College
Central Admissions Office
Box 440
Little Falls, NJ 07424
Fax: 973-278-6243

Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, New York 10708

St. Lawrence University
23 Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
Admissions: 315-229-5261 or 800-285-1856

St. Joseph’s University Brooklyn
245 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Columbia University
212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
*Note: At press time, the official site says that “most” Columbia schools participate in Yellow Ribbon.

Fordham University

Lincoln Center Campus

113 W 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
Tel: 212-636-6000

Rose Hill Campus
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-1000

60 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023

Russell Sage College
Albany Campus: 140 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208
Troy Campus: 65 First Street, Troy, NY 12180

Marist College
3399 North Rd
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Daemen University
4380 Main St, Amherst, NY 14226
(800) 462-7652

Siena College
515 New Loudon Rd, Loudonville, NY 12211
(518) 783-2300

Skidmore College
815 N Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 580-5000

The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to help veterans pay for college expenses not covered by the GI Bill. Not all colleges participate in Yellow Ribbon, and not all colleges can be approved under the program.


About the author

Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.