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, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 opportunities, visit

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