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What is the Excelsior Scholarship?

Here on the blog, we try to offer you insight and information into the complicated college planning process. It's always best to reach out and talk to Jeff Boron, or one of our professionals to ask specific questions, but this blog can be a great resource for you or anyone in Western New York that has kids who will be going to college.. It's never too early to start planning! Here's a quick informative piece from Jeff Boron, Certified College Planning Specialist on the New York State Excelsior Scholarship...



What is the Excelsior Scholarship?

The Excelsior Scholarship allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.


The 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.


Eligibility Requirements:

  • 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.

  • Family adjusted gross income of $125,000 or less

  • Pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University;

  • Enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year with no break in enrollment.

  • If attended college prior to the 2021-22 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year toward a 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;

  • 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.

Award Amount

A recipient of an Excelsior Scholarship may receive up to $5,500.

How Does Other Financial Aid affect the Excelsior?

The Excelsior Scholarship is a "last dollar" scholarship, meaning that Federal aid and grants will be applied first, with the Excelsior Scholarship being applied to the remaining balance.

The Excelsior Scholarship will only cover remaining liability up to actual tuition.

To determine the amount of a recipient’s Excelsior Scholarship award, schools must deduct all aid listed below from the NY resident tuition rate charged by SUNY or CUNY:

Pell Grant • TAP Award • TAP Tuition Credit • SEOG Grant • ACCESS/VR

Institutional Scholarship (unless specifically designated as a non-tuition award only)

Outside scholarships

Financial assistance paid to opportunity program students through the EOP, SEEK or College Discovery


What happens if the Student Moves Out of NY State After Graduation?

Your award will be prorated when calculating your loan amount. For example, If you received awards for four years and resided in NYS for only three years, you will be required to repay one-fourth of the award as a no-interest loan. If you relocated due to an allowable hardship, your loan conversion may be waived.

There is nothing to lose here – Essentially, you will be granted a 10 year zero percent interest loan as a worst case scenario!


So What’s the Bottom Line?

If your student is eligible you have nothing to lose – Apply!


Stay tuned to the blog for more insight and info, and remember to "like" us on Facebook! Reminder... the deadline for the Young Achiever's Scholarship is June 30th! Don't Miss this opportunity for free money for college!