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Molinaro Reiterates Support for Extending SUNY Tuition Benefits to Gold Star Families

Published: 4/18/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced today his continued support for the spouses, children and financial dependents of military service members who die or are missing in action or severely or permanently disabled to receive college tuition and related costs through New York State’s Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship.

Through the New York State Higher Education Services (HESC), the MERIT Scholarship, also known as  Military Service Recognition Scholarship (MSRS), provides financial aid to children, spouses, and dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state organized militia who, at any time on or after August 2, 1990, while a New York State resident, died or becomes severely and permanently disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for hostilities. A bipartisan bill that would have expanded the benefits of the MERIT Scholarship was held in the Assembly Higher Education Committee last week, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the HESC to broaden the interpretation of scholarship eligibility earlier this week.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Since our nation’s birth, brave men and women have selflessly protected their neighbors and fellow countrymen. As a nation and as a state, we owe these courageous veterans not just our undying gratitude, we owe their loved ones our full support, including access to a quality education. The very least we can do as a society to support those who have given their life for our country is to help ensure their families, their children have a bright future. Our institutions of higher learning will be better for it, our military families will be better for it, and our state and country will be better for it. I’m happy Gov. Cuomo has validated the compelling points the Assembly Minority raised in its proposal.”

Senator Sue Serino said, “Many issues transcend politics, and taking care of the families of fallen service members should absolutely be one. These heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, and we have an obligation to ensure that their families are taken care of. While politics should never have played a role in blocking this important legislation in the first place, New Yorkers and officials from across the state came together swiftly to express their outrage over these actions and their support for our Gold Star families, which ultimately drove the Governor to act. This welcome announcement is a great example of just how powerful our voices can be when we come together to do what is right.”

Marc Coviello, Director of the Dutchess County Division of Veterans’ Services, said, “Our veterans and their families deserve every benefit they’ve earned through their service, and Dutchess County will continue to advocate to ensure those who valiantly safeguarded our freedom will never be forgotten.”

The Dutchess County Division of Veterans’ Services informs, advises and assists veterans, service personnel and their families with the benefits they are entitled to from the federal, state and county government. Veterans’ Services staff serves as advocates for veterans and their families, and participates in and coordinates initiatives and events to highlight veterans and their needs in the community. More information about the Division of Veterans’ Services is available online.