Statement from SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson

August 2, 2018

"The Excelsior Scholarship Program is a monumental initiative that has transformed higher education in New York. New York was the first state in the Nation to provide free college tuition for an associates or bachelors degree for its middle class citizens. Last year the income threshold was $100,000, allowing nearly 23,000 new students to go to college tuition-free, and now we are entering the second year with an income level of $110,000, which will allow even more students to be eligible.

"This program has been a great success and we have witnessed a significant increase in applications. Yesterday, misstatements were aired by a handful of financial aid administrators about the process in implementing the program. Unofficial statements such as these create unnecessary confusion and are not productive in ensuring that this scholarship benefits as many students as possible. We are pleased with our strong partnership with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation and the multitude of resources they continue to provide."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2017, more than 430,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served nearly 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2016-17 academic year. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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Holly Liapis
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