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Student Scholarships and Grants


Student Scholarships |   Braille Challenge |  Space Camp

College Scholarships    

Since 1987, AERNYS 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 continuing education for a degree as a teacher of the visually impaired, Orientation and Mobility Instructor, or Vision Rehabilitation Specialist, please consider submitting an application. To be considered you must complete the following application, and you must be a member of AER. If enrolled in continuing education, you may apply for membership at the student rate.


The following are the instructions for completing an application for the AERNYS scholarship.  Anyone interested should send the following items to Grace Ambrose Zaken, AERNYS Scholarship Committee, by August 31, 2016



  • Application narrative that demonstrates the need and intent of the potential candidate.
  • Copy of grades achieved in program (if in second year)
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • 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 and/or Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
  • Proof of current AER membership. (Photo copy of current membership care is acceptable).
  • Statement of financial resources (including grants, scholarships, agency support, household income (copy of 2011 tax return should be submitted), and expenses.

All documentation under criteria must be received by the Chair of the Scholarship Committee on or before August 31, 2016 in order for the person to be considered as a candidate for the award year.  Notification will be made to all candidates by the end of September 15, 2016.


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

2016 Scholarship Application - PDF
2016 Scholarship Application - Word

For questions, please contact Grace Ambrose Zaken at gambrose@hunter.cuny.edu.


2014 Scholarship Winners

AERNYS awarded scholarships to the following winners:

Fotini Tsillis, Dominican College - TVI/O&M

Melinda Gonzalez, Dominican College - VRT/O&M



Student Scholarships:


Braille Challenge Scholarship

History: In 2008, AERNYS began supporting Braille Challenge™, winners from one of the two New York State Regional events, by offering mini-grant scholarships to students who received first place in one of the age groups. Those eligible have the opportunity to attend the Braille Challenge Competition Finals in Los Angeles. The National Braille Institute sponsors the annual Braille Challenge program which is an academic contest designed to motivate schoole-age Braille readers to excel in reading and writing Braille.

Regional events were held in Batavia, NY and Long Island, NY to promote Braille reading and writing skills. The AERNYS chapter membership recognizes the importance of students with visual impairments learning Braille as well as the professionals who teach Braille literacy to students.

2011 Braille challenge Scholarship Winners were Kelly Cusak, Nicholas Hilfilka and Michael Taylor who received a $250 scholarship to help defray the cost of expenses for travel to Los Angeles in order to participate in the finals with winners from other regional contests around the United States. 

To apply for funding to attend the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles, download the Braille Challenge application here: Word - 2012 Application and PDF - 2012 Application

Space Camp

U.S. Space Camp Scholarship Application for SCI-VI:

Space Camp offers school age students who are blind or visually impaired, an opportunity to participate in Space Camp. NYSAER offers a combined total of up to $725 per year towards one or more students who have been selected for Space Camp.

                                        Space Camp dates:  September 24-29, 2012 in Huntsville, Alabama (travel home 9/30/12)

                                        Scholarship Application Deadline: June 1, 2012

Please go to http://www.tsbvi.edu/space for more information on the SCI-VIS program and applications for the camp.


In 2010, AERNYS supported two students with their expenses to attend Space Camp, a program for students who are blind or visually impaired. They were John Diodato and Christian Diaz, who are students of the NY Institute. In 2011, AERNYS did not receive any applications. If you know of students who want to go to Space Camp, and need some financial assistance, download this Space Camp application in Word - 2012 space camp application or in PDF - 2012 space camp application

For questions, please contact Elaine Frew at stressed100@hotmail.com




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