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The Excelsior Scholarship was created with the passage of the New York State budget on April 10th, 2017. The program will be administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation [HESC, 518 473-1574]. With this scholarship being so new, there are still many unanswered questions. New York State has given us some information and we would like to share what we know.
Who may be considered for the Excelsior Scholarship?
For the 2017-2018 school year, you must be a New York State resident for at least 12 months prior to the start of your term and have a family adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 reported on your 2015 federal tax return. This includes students starting in the fall as well as students currently attending college and returning in the fall. If you’re a current student that started in the 2016-2017 academic year, you must complete and pass 30 credits prior to Fall 2017. Students may continue to receive the scholarship for up to four years for a bachelor’s degree. Second bachelor and graduate students are not eligible for this program.
Will college be free?
The Excelsior Scholarship is designed to help cover the cost of tuition only for students attending a college in the state system. There are many other costs related to attending college including fees, room, board, transportation, books, and other expenses that will not be covered by the scholarship.
How much will the Excelsior Scholarship pay for?
The Excelsior Scholarship will cover up to $5500 minus any amount the student receives from the Federal Pell Grant, the New York State Tuition Assistance Program [TAP], or other scholarships. If this does not equal the entire amount of tuition, the remainder will be covered by a tuition credit paid by the school. For Excelsior recipients, your tuition cost will be frozen for 4 years. The Excelsior Scholarship will last for up to 4 years if you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
What do I have to do?
You must apply for the Excelsior Scholarship. This can be done on the HESC website starting tentatively in late May with a due date in late July. Note that you can go to the HESC website now and sign up to receive a notification when the application becomes available. You must also have filed the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application. While enrolled, you must be full time and have passing grades for at least 30 credit hours each year (including winter and summer terms). After graduation, you must live and be employed (if working) in New York State for at least as many years as you received the scholarship.
What if I don’t pass 30 credit hours or I decide to move out of New York?
Eligibility will be reviewed every semester. If you do not pass 30 credit hours each year you will lose the Excelsior Scholarship and may not be able to reinstate it. After graduation, if you do not meet the New York State residency requirement for as many years as you received the Excelsior Scholarship, it becomes a loan which you will then be required to pay back.
Where can I get more information on-line?
You can go to the official web site at hesc.ny.gov and click on Excelsior Scholarship or search at www.niagaracc.suny.edu for more information.