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Excelsior Scholarship

The Excelsior Scholarship is Leading the Way to College Affordability

The Excelsior Scholarship provides tuition awards to eligible students attending New York State's public colleges and universities (SUNY and CUNY). This scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY college tuition-free.

2024 Excelsior Scholarship Application Now Available

The Excelsior Scholarship applies to tuition only and does not cover the other costs of college. To learn more about other college expenses such as fees, room and board, textbooks, and more, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Recipients must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the NYS Student Aid Payment Application every year in order to receive award payments.

To meet eligibility requirements, an applicant must:
  • be a resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have either graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma, or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test, as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;
  • have a combined federal adjusted gross income of $125,000 or less;
  • be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, (includes statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University);
  • be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term applicable toward your degree program and earn at least 30 credits each year, applicable toward your degree program;
  • if attended college prior to the academic year for which an award is sought, have earned at least 30 credits each year (continuously enrolled), applicable toward your degree program prior to applying for an Excelsior Scholarship;
  • be in a non-default status on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award;
  • be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by a NYS award that you have previously received; and
  • execute a contract agreeing to reside in NYS for the length of time the award was received, and, if employed during such time, be employed in NYS.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and to apply for the Excelsior scholarship go to: www.hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. File your FAFSA at fafsa.gov.
  2. Continue to the NYS TAP application and complete.
  3. Apply for the Excelsior Scholarship at www.hesc.ny.gov/excelsior

If you receive a federal or NYS grant or scholarship, including a federal Pell Grant, a NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant or scholarships for tuition or not designated for other costs, you must use those first. After those forms of aid are applied, the Excelsior Scholarship will cover the remaining cost of tuition.

The Excelsior Scholarship covers tuition only. You would be responsible for college fees and other costs such as room and board.

Credits earned in high school may count toward the combined annual thirty credits if they are accepted toward the student's program of study. For more information, speak with campus Admissions or Financial Aid.

Eligibility will be reviewed every semester. If you do not earn 30 credit hours each year you will lose the Excelsior Scholarship and may not be able to reinstate it.

You need to meet campus academic requirements for passing and earning credit toward your degree to maintain your Excelsior Scholarship.

After graduation, you must live and be employed (if working) in New York State for the number of years you received the scholarship. If you do not meet the residency requirement, it becomes a no-interest loan which you will then be required to pay back.

This is a scholarship. However, the scholarship converts to a loan when a student does not fulfill the residency requirement. The scholarship does not revert to a loan if the student becomes ineligible and loses the scholarship while continuing their undergraduate work prior to graduation. If the scholarship reverts to a loan, that loan will not incur interest.

Yes, provided the college that you attend accepts all of the credits you earned in completing your associate degree, and you meet all other requirements for the Excelsior Scholarship. You must also be continuously enrolled from the associate degree program to the bachelor's degree program, unless you have an approved interruption in enrollment.

Yes. As with the TAP grants, students with disabilities will not be required to register full-time to be eligible for the scholarship.

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