Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program


The following program provides financial assistance on the basis of academic achievement. Recipients are selected by the New York State Education Department and the Awards are paid through HESC.

This program provides a $1,500 annual award to outstanding high school seniors. The New York State Education Department selects recipients based on SAT or ACT scores and high school performance. HESC pays awards, which are intended to help students meet college expenses, through the school on a term basis. This is a federally funded program, and awards are subject to an annual congressional appropriation. Depending on funding, SED awards 340-400 scholarships annually to New York State students for study in or outside New York state.

Eligibility Requirement

To receive the scholarship the student must:

  • meet one of the United States citizenship requirements;
  • meet New York State residency requirements at time of initial award;
  • enroll as a full-time student;
  • have a matriculated status;
  • be in good academic standing;
  • not be in default on any guaranteed student loan HESC administers;
  • graduate from a New York State high school or receive a New York State High School Equivalency Diploma by the end of the school year in which the scholarship was awarded; and
  • enroll in any approved institution of higher education in the initial academic year for which the scholarship was awarded.


Students can receive a total of four years, or eight semesters, of payment.

Award Calculation

The scholarship provides $1,500 annually, prorated by term.

Application Procedure

HESC sends a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Payment Application and a Certification of Eligibility for Federal Assistance form to scholarship winners. Scholarship winners must complete both forms and return them to HESC by May 1 of the academic year for which assistance is being sought.

Leave of Absence

Leaves of absence are available for students unable to use the scholarship. Students must submit a written request for leave to HESC.

Concurrent Awards

Under federal regulations covering this Title IV program, the total of all Title IV federal aid cannot exceed cost of attendance. A federal Pell award cannot be reduced because a student received a Byrd award. The Byrd award would be reduced, and loans would be reduced before a Byrd award would be.


The scholarship can be revoked from a student for:

  • failing to graduate from high school;
  • failing to enroll in an institution of higher education in the year for which the scholarship was awarded;
  • not complying with the rules, regulations or conditions of the institution the student attends; or
  • receiving the scholarship through error or contrary to law.


The New York State Education Department will announce alternates, if any. Payment will be subject to the availability of funds.

Retroactive Payments

Retroactive payment of the scholarship is not permitted.

Service Requirements

There are no service requirements.

For additional information and applications, you may contact HESC’s Grants and Scholarships Unit at the address and telephone number listed below.

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
· Albany, New York 12255 · (888) NYS-HESC