June 09, 2017

Fact Sheet 17-9: Excelsior Scholarship Program

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

The 2017-18 New York state budget established the Excelsior Scholarship Program, which provides scholarship awards for students that complete at least 12 credits per semester and 30 credits per year at a New York State public college or university.  SUNY and CUNY students shall be eligible for a scholarship of up to $5,500 or actual tuition, whichever is less.  Student scholarships will be considered “last dollar” meaning the award will cover the remaining cost of tuition after a student receives federal assistance funding through the Pell grant program (loans and work study are excluded), NYS Tuition Assistance Program grants, and any other programs covering the cost of attendance.  For each student the Excelsior Scholarship will be reduced by the amount of other awards and cover the remaining gap of the frozen 2016-2017 tuition level charged by the CUNY or SUNY institution.

2016 - 2017 Average Tuition Rates  Two Year Campuses  Four Year Campuses
 SUNY  $4,370  $6,470
 CUNY  $4,800  $6,330

Income Eligibility

Students from families with a federal household adjusted gross income up to $100,000 in 2017-18 will be eligible. In 2018-19, that amount increases to $110,000, and beginning in 2019-20 and beyond, the family’s adjusted gross income can total up to $125,000. Students must be matriculated in an approved program leading to an undergraduate degree in 2-year or 4-year academic degree programs at CUNY and SUNY community colleges, senior colleges and universities. This scholarship will cover tuition only and not fees or other costs associated with attending a public college in New York.

Funding for Campuses

The tuition rates will be frozen for students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship and campuses will have the ability to reset the tuition amount every four years to equal the amount established by the institution for the upcoming academic year. Campuses will defer the cost of tuition for students eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship and will receive the funds to cover the cost of the scholarship from New York State within a reasonable time after campuses certify the student met the requirements of 12 credits per semester and 30 credits per year with an achieved grade point average necessary for successful completion of their coursework.

Eligible Course of Study

Per the enacted regulations non-credit courses shall not be considered as contributing toward full-time attendance at the institution of higher education.  College credit earned toward a recipients degree program of study while the student is in high school or other non-matriculated status shall be considered as contributing toward full-time attendance.  Students that have completed an Associate’s degree will not be eligible to pursue another Associate’s degree under this program, and students that have completed a Bachelor’s degree will not be eligible to pursue another Bachelor’s degree.

Residency Requirements

Students will be held to a contractual obligation to reside only in New York State and be employed in New York State for a period equal to the duration of the award received.  For purposes of completing the contractual obligation, the duration a student resides in New York while completing undergraduate or graduate study, including medical residency, shall be credited toward the time necessary to satisfy the residency and employment requirement. Military personnel and those in the Reserves, ROTC that are legally residents of New York shall be deemed to be residing in and employed in New York regardless of where the individual is stationed or deployed.  All recipients that do not meet the requirements will have all award monies received converted into a 10-year no-interest loan.  The amount owed will be prorated to the length of time the recipient maintained employment and residency in New York State. 


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