Governor Cuomo Announces Excelsior Scholarship Application Open for New Applicants for 2021-22 Academic Year

May 19, 2021

From the office of Governor Cuomo

SUNY and CUNY Students Whose Families Make Up to $125,000 Annually Can Apply for Tuition-Free College

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the application for the Excelsior Scholarship for new applicants for the 2021-22 academic school year is now open here.

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other aid programs, allows eligible full-time students to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college tuition-free.

"Given the economic impact families are facing throughout our State, it is more important than ever that students have access to financial support that enables them to realize their dream of pursuing their education regardless of race, class or social status," Governor Cuomo said. "The Excelsior Scholarship provides the financial resources for tens of thousands of students to receive a high-quality education in New York's world-class education system without the burden of worry or debt."

To be eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year, household federal adjusted gross income can total up to $125,000.  Student must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two or four-year college
  • Complete 30 credits per year towards their program of study (including Summer and Winter terms)
  • Be on track to graduate on time with an Associate's Degree in two years or a Bachelor's Degree in four years
  • Recipients must also plan to live in New York State for the length of time they received the award.

Guillermo Linares, President of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to eliminate financial barriers and in helping to combat inequities in our education system. Valuable education programs, like the Excelsior Scholarship program, can provide the opportunity for students to pursue their educational goals without financial constraints and open the door to better opportunities for thousands."

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "While relieved to finally restore some normalcy on our campuses this fall, the pandemic's financial impact on New York State families will reverberate for years to come. College access and affordability is more important today than ever. Individuals should not have to take on debilitating amounts of debt to pay for college, while their families suffer and try to recover from the economic repercussions COVID. The Excelsior Scholarship will give New Yorkers a real chance at attaining a world class education, achieving social mobility, and pursuing their dreams—regardless of how their lives and families were affected by COVID-19."

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "The Excelsior Scholarship is an important component of the State's unparalleled portfolio of tuition assistance programs, including help for undocumented students who were denied assistance by the federal government under the previous White House administration. Governor Cuomo's sustained commitment to preserving the financial assistance of the Excelsior Scholarship has been crucial to the academic success of college students at CUNY and throughout New York State in these times of unprecedented challenge." 

The 2021-22 Excelsior Scholarship application is open to first-time students entering college in the Fall 2021 and current college students who have never received the Excelsior Scholarship. Current Excelsior Scholarship recipients should not complete this application. Students eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship under the Senator José Peralta New York State DREAM Act can apply apply here.

Nearly 230,000 New York residents attend CUNY or SUNY tuition-free thanks to the addition of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship.

Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2021. 

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, 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 2023, 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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