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Student Scholarships and Grants


Student Scholarships |   Braille Challenge |  Space Camp

NYSAER College Scholarships

Since 1987, NYSAER has continued its fine tradition of helping people with financial assistance for college level coursework leading to a degree in the field of vision professionals, and a career providing services to those with visual impairments in New York State. If you or anyone you know are enrolled in a degree program to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, or Low Vision Therapist, please consider submitting an application. To be considered you must complete the following application, you must be a member of AER, and plan on working in New York State after graduation.


The following are the instructions for completing an application for the NYSAER scholarship. Anyone interested should send the following items to Sharon Schwalm no later than June 01, 2018


  1. Completed application form.
  2. Two page application narrative that demonstrates the intent and financial need of the potential candidate: Explain why you have chosen your specific field and what you would like to contribute upon program completion. Include a short description of any involvement with disabilities as a volunteer, paid professional, or both. Explain any extenuating circumstances, if any, resulting in economic need.
  3. Copy of grades achieved in program. All applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher in the major field of study. Applicants must live or work within New York State, but need not be enrolled within a program in NYS.
  4. Three letters of recommendation including one not related to the applicant?s educational institution.
  5. Copies of letters of acceptance or application (pending) from a college or university for a course of study in Orientation and Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Low Vision Therapist and/or Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
  6. Proof of current AER membership must be received before scholarship is awarded. (Photo copy of current membership card is acceptable.)


Selection is based on the evaluation of the materials submitted for examination by the NYSAER scholarship committee. A scoring rubric is used to assign point values to application requirements. Only one applicant will be chosen to be the recipient.

Individuals interested in applying for consideration for this year's NYSAER selection, download our Scholarship application here:

2018 Scholarship Application - PDF

2018 Scholarship Application - Word

For questions, please contact Sharon Schwalm at sschwalm1@rochester.rr.com.


2014 Scholarship Winners

NYSAER awarded scholarships to the following winners:

Fotini Tsillis, Dominican College - TVI/O&M

Melinda Gonzalez, Dominican College - VRT/O&M



NYSAER Space Camp Scholarship
U.S. Space Camp Scholarship Application for SCI-VIS
(up to awarded to a NYS student to attend Space Camp)

Sept. 23-28, 2016 in Huntsville, Alabama (travel home 9/29/2017)

Applications Deadline: Friday, May 5th, 2017

Application Link

Please send the completed scholarship application to:
Chelsea Hale
1764 Broadway Rd.
Darien Center, NY 14040
For questions: Contact Chelsea Hale at Chelseazem@gmail.com


Braille Challenge:

Dear Colleagues,

In 2008, NYSAER began supporting Braille Challenge winners in New York State who were selected to participate in the Braille Challenge finals in Los Angeles, by offering mini-grant scholarships to students. The National Braille Institute sponsors the annual Braille Challenge program, which is an academic contest designed to motivate school-age Braille readers to excel in reading and writing Braille.

Regional events are held in Batavia, Long Island, at the NY Institute for Special Education, as well as students participating at their home schools. Each student competing in the Challenge completed a variety of tests in both Braille reading and writing skills. The NYSAER chapter membership recognizes the importance of students with visual impairments learning Braille as well as the professionals who teach Braille literacy to students.

New York State Association for the Educations and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (NYSAER) is pleased to announce a scholarship program for students who are eligible to attend the Braille Challenge Competition Finals is Los Angeles in June 2017. For more information about the Braille Challenge Competition Finals please visit http://www.brailleinstitute.org/braille-challenge-homepage.html/.

NYSAER will be awarding up to $250.00 for a student(s) to help finance the cost of expenses when attending the competition.

Please pass this information along to your student(s) who qualify for the finals in Los Angeles. If you know of students who participated in the Braille Challenge competition with their TVIs in their home schools, please pass this information along to them or let me know the name and email of the TVI in order for me to send them this information.


Chelsea Hale

Chelsea Hale
AER Board Member

Link to the Application


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