Excelsior Scholarship Program NYS | How to Apply

If you’re a student who is interested in furthering your academics but lacks the full financial power to do so, here is an opportunity for you to actualize your dreams through the Excelsior scholarship program NYS. 

The Excelsior Scholarship program is a fantastic and remarkable New York State initiative designed to provide tuition-free education to eligible residents who attend public colleges and universities in New York.

The Excelsior Scholarship Program NYS was established to give students the chance to follow their dreams of attending a four-year university without having to worry about the cost of tuition. This initiative, which was initiated to increase affordability and easy access to higher education, has received a lot of support and praises.

So, in this post, we’ll be going deeper into everything you need to know about the Excelsior scholarship program NYS. We’ll also share the step-by-step guide on how to apply for the scholarship program and eligibility criteria to enable you to know if you’re qualified to apply. Come with us!

How Does The Excelsior Scholarship Program NYS work?

Before applying for the Excelsior scholarship program NYS, you should know and understand how it works. Excelsior scholarship program is designed by New York State for its residents to help those who do not have money for tuition fees. 

This scholarship program covers only tuition fees for students attending SUNY and CUNY colleges and Universities.

This scholarship program does not pay for the student’s textbooks and other expenses, but there are other financial aid programs students can qualify for to help them cover the costs of other things they need. The Excelsior scholarship program NYS can be renewed for up to 4 years once the students continue performing well in their studies.

Furthermore, any student who is qualified for the Excelsior Scholarship program and applies for the federal Pell Grant will receive the Pell Grant first, and then the Excelsior Scholarship will cover any remaining tuition costs up to $5,500.

When Did the Excelsior Scholarship Program Start?

The Excelsior scholarship program NYS became official on April 11, 2017. It was at the planning stage for over three years and finally launched at the beginning of 2017. It provides a tuition-free scholarship to New York resident students who meet all their eligibility criteria and requirements.

Excelsior Scholarship Requirements and Eligibility

To qualify for the Excelsior scholarship program NYS, you must meet all the requirements and eligibility criteria. Now, let’s take a look at some of the requirements and eligibility criteria you must meet before applying:

  • Applicants must be a New York State resident for not less than one year 
  • Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at a SUNY or CUNY college 
  • Candidates must have maintained and keep improving their GPA of not less than 2.0 
  • Candidates must comply with the terms and service condition(s) imposed by an NYS award that you have previously received
  • If an applicant has attended college before the 2023-2024 academic session, they must have earned nothing less than 30 credits each year 
  • The applicants must Have a family household income up to a specific limit. This can change at any given time because it’s not always a particular amount
  • Candidates must apply for the scholarship through the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) official web page before the application deadline 
  • For a candidate to complete the Excelsior scholarship program NYS application, they must need their IT-201 NYS Income Tax Return(s)
  • Have a household adjusted gross income of no more than $125,000

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How to Apply for the Excelsior Scholarship Program 

To apply for the Excelsior Scholarship program NYS, follow the following steps:

  • Ensure that you are eligible for the scholarship by checking the eligibility criteria and requirements 
  • The most important thing is the eligibility criteria and requirements, so make sure you have them handy 
  • Ensure to fill the provided space with your data on academics, incomes, and residency 
  • Proceed to submit your application. 

Ensure you provide your active email address when applying because that is where you will receive an email about your eligibility. If you’re qualified, you’ll be contacted to sign a contract in agreement to staying back and working in NYS after graduation. 

The number of years will be specified in the contract details. Furthermore, the deadline for those applying during the fall semester is usually March Ist, while those applying during the spring semester are October Ist.

Even if you’re not a United States citizen or you’re not an eligible citizen, you can qualify for the Excelsior scholarship program as long as you have a permanent residence card or refugee status.

Furthermore, you do not have to reapply for the Scholarship each year if you have previously gotten the scholarship. All you have to do is keep complying with the requirements for eligibility and finish the necessary amount of credits each year.

In addition to that, you should fill out the FAFSA and TAP application. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a federal form that determines your eligibility for financial aid, including the Excelsior Scholarship. The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a New York State grant that helps pay for college tuition. You can also file the FAFSA and TAP application at

How Long Does Excelsior Take to Process the Excelsior Scholarship Program NYS?

The Excelsior scholarship program application process takes 7 to 10 days. Applicants must exercise patience for 7 to 10 days before you can complete your application to enable the FAFSA and NYS to process your application. This is why candidates need to start early to meet the deadline. 

Check out this post on Top 10 Scholarships For Immigrants In August 2023.

How Much is the Excelsior Scholarship Award Amount?

The annual maximum payout for an Excelsior Scholarship program at NYS is $5,500. The difference between the yearly tuition and the highest value Excelsior Scholarship will be made up with a tuition credit, nevertheless. Only Excelsior Scholarship recipients who get the maximum award ($2,750 per semester) are eligible for the educational credit.

When Is the Excelsior Scholarship 2023 Application Deadline?

The Excelsior Scholarship program NYS application deadline is usually March Ist for individuals applying during the fall, while those applying during the spring semester is October Ist. To stay updated on when the 2024/2025 Excelsior scholarship program application will be opened, bookmark this blog for more updates.

Who Funds The Excelsior Scholarship Program?

The New York State government provides funding for the Excelsior Scholarship Program. Governor Andrew Cuomo established the initiative in 2017, his intention is to lower the cost of college for residents of New York. For those who qualify, the scholarship will pay their tuition fee at any SUNY or CUNY college. 

Families who made not more than $125,000 in the tax year 2021 are qualified to receive the scholarship for the 2023–2024 academic year. The Excelsior scholarship program is a grant; thus, you don’t need to worry about repayment.

Do Parents’ Assets Affect the Excelsior Scholarship Program?

Yes,  the Excelsior Scholarship Program is impacted by parents’ assets. When evaluating eligibility, the program considers the total federal adjusted gross income (AGI) of the student and their parents. This comprises all forms of income, such as wages, earnings from investments, and savings for retirement.

A dependent student’s AGI cannot exceed $125,000 to qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship. The top AGI for independent students is $100,000. The asset limitations do have some exceptions, though.

Does the Excelsior Scholarship Program Offer All Computer Courses?

Yes, the Excelsior Scholarship Program offers all computer courses at SUNY and CUNY colleges. It also includes associate and bachelor’s degree programs in computer science, information technology, software engineering, and other related fields.

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What Courses are Covered Under Excelsior Scholarship? 

The Excelsior Scholarship program at NYS covers many courses, including the following:

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science 
  • Information technology
  • Economics 
  • Engineering courses 
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Physics 
  • Software engineering
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology, etc.

Colleges and Universities that are part of the Excelsior scholarship program 

The Excelsior Scholarship program covers public colleges and Universities in New York, and some of them are: 

  • State University of New York (SUNY)
  • City University of New York (CUNY)
  • Cornell University statutory colleges (Cornell AgriTech and Cornell NYC Tech)
  • Alfred University Statutory college

Is the Excelsior Scholarship Program Per Year or Semester? 

The Excelsior Scholarship Program NYS  is a yearly program, and to stay qualified throughout your study years, you must complete a minimum of 30 credits annually. The scholarship payments are disbursed to students during the fall and spring semesters. 

Also, a student may only receive a maximum of two years which is four semester payments for a two-year degree and four years which is right  semester payments for a four-year degree.

Furthermore, for students in opportunity programs, there is a caveat, though. Opportunity programs are intended to assist students from low-income families or who face other challenges in achieving success in college. 

Students enrolled in opportunity programs can enroll in 24 credits annually and still qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Wrapping Up on Excelsior Scholarship Program | How to Apply

The Excelsior Scholarship program NYS is the New York State government initiative designed to help individuals willing to further their academics but lack finances achieve their dreams. The scholarship covers only the tuition fee. This program is for NYS citizens or those who have stayed in the City for up to 12 months. 

You should read to understand everything about the Excelsior scholarship programs above and how to apply. Also read-: Is Scholarships360 Legit?

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