The Excelsior Scholarship 2021-2022, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.
Excelsior Scholarship Coverage and Benefits
A recipient of an Excelsior Scholarship may receive up to $5,500.
To determine the award amount, the 2016-17 resident tuition rate charged by SUNY ($6,470) or CUNY ($6,330) will be reduced by the amount of certain other student financial aid awards which an applicant has or will receive for the academic year, including an NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award and/or federal Pell grant. The Excelsior Scholarship will cover any remaining tuition liability up to $5,500, and a tuition credit will cover any remaining tuition expenses not covered by the Excelsior Scholarship.
Excelsior Scholarship Eligibility
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, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University;
- be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program through continuous study with no break in enrollment except for certain reasons that can be documented;
- if attended college prior to the 2019-20 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her 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 any 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.
Excelsior Scholarship Duration
A recipient of an Excelsior Scholarship is eligible to receive award payments for not more than two years of full-time undergraduate study in a program leading to an associate’s degree or four years of full-time undergraduate study, or five years if the program of study normally requires five years, in a program leading to a bachelor’s degree.
Excelsior Scholarship Payment
To receive award payments after the initial application year, an Excelsior Scholarship recipient must annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the NYS Student Aid Payment Application each year.
Catching Up on Credits
A student who is not on track to complete an Associate’s degree in two consecutive years or a Bachelor’s degree in four consecutive years (which requires completion of the equivalent of 30 credits each academic year) can catch up on missing credits to become eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship. If you successfully earn additional credits during a term or academic year and get back on track to completing your degree on time, you will be eligible to receive an Excelsior Scholarship for the remainder of your undergraduate degree program.
If you are in an opportunity program, the Excelsior Scholarship program allows five years to complete your degree on time (which requires completion of the equivalent of 24 credits each academic year).
Five-Year Undergraduate Programs
If you are in an undergraduate program of study normally requiring five-years, the Excelsior Scholarship program allows five years to complete your degree on time (which requires completion of the equivalent of 30 credits each academic year).
How to apply for Excelsior Scholarship Program?
Students newly applying for NYS financial aid under the provisions of the DREAM Act must first apply for eligibility under the NYS DREAM Act before applying for the Excelsior Scholarship. If you have previously qualified under the NYS DREAM Act, you will simply need to add a new application to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship.