The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. The Excelsior grant program covers tuition for eligible SUNY and CUNY students.
For the 2021-22 academic year, families who earned $125,000 or less in the tax year 2019 are eligible to apply.
Applicants who first enrolled in college in 2017 or earlier (2016 or earlier if in an approved five-year program or Opportunity Program) are not eligible to apply.
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 enrolment except for certain reasons that can be documented;
- if attended college prior to the 2021-22 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.
Catching Up on Credits
A student who is not on track to complete an Associate’s degree in two consecutive years or 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 to apply 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 may reapply to be eligible to receive an Excelsior Scholarship for the remainder of your undergraduate degree program.
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).
Students with Disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
To be eligible for an Excelsior grant, students with qualified disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act who attend less than full time must register with their college office for students with disabilities.
If you are a student with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Excelsior Scholarship program requires that you be continuously enrolled and complete the number of credits you attempted each semester to fulfil the requirement for on-time degree completion.
If you have not earned credits for all courses attempted, you can catch up on missing credits if you successfully earn additional credits during a Summer and/or Winter session(s) and get back on track for credits that were not previously completed.
Students with disabilities determined to be ineligible who can demonstrate good cause for completing fewer credits than attempted and/or a break in attendance may appeal the decision by completing the Scholarship Program Appeal Form.
For more information, visit NYS Student Financial Aid Programs and Students with Disabilities.
Award Amount for Excelsior Scholarship 2021-2022
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 a 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.
Note: Any award payment received may have tax implications. Any questions regarding this should be directed to a tax professional, the Internal Revenue Service, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.
Duration of Excelsior Scholarship 2021-2022
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.
Payment for Excelsior grant
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.
How to apply?
The 2021-22 application is now available. Deadline is 8/31/21
Please note that current Excelsior Scholarship recipients should not complete this application.
When is the deadline for Application Fall 2021?
NYS Excelsior Scholarship Application is now open for Fall 2021. The deadline to apply for Excelsior Scholarship Fall 2021 is August 31, 2021.
Is the Excelsior scholarship open for 2021?
The Scholarship Application is now open for Fall 2021 Deadline to file is August 31, 202. New applicants should apply at the NYS Excelsior page. Your 2021-22 FAFSA and NYS TAP applications must be attached prior to submitting the Excelsior application.
Excelsior Scholarship residency requirements
A student must be a resident of NYS and have lived in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term to be eligible for Excelsior. The residency of a dependent student is that of the parent.
Is Excelsior scholarship for CUNY and SUNY?
With the Scholarship you will be able to attend any SUNY and CUNY College tuition free if you meet all the Excelsior grant requirements and funding is available.
Contact HESC – Excelsior scholarship number on 866-312-9449. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include student name, date of birth, and the last four digits of his or her social security number or schedule an appointment to speak with HESC. Appointments are available between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday
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