FAQ: Going to college tuition-free with the Excelsior Scholarship
Whether you’re looking to enter the workforce or transfer to a university, SUNY Broome will give you the start you need. With small class sizes, personal attention by faculty and staff, job placement and transfer counseling, support services and more, we’ll help you master the science of success – and make the most out of your Excelsior Scholarship.
Unsure what the Excelsior Scholarship Program means for you? This list of frequently asked questions is intended to help. For more information, go to hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.
Prior to applying for the 2021-2022 academic year you will need:
- A copy of your 2019 Federal Tax Return Adjusted Gross Income (student and parent if applicable)
- 2021-22 Student Aid Report (SAR) with Estimated Family Contribution
- 2021-22 Financial Aid Award Letter
- Completed 2021-22 TAP application
- If continuing student: a copy of your transcript reflecting credits earned. SUNY Broome Transcripts can be requested by going here: www.sunybroome.edu/
The Excelsior Scholarship application for the 2021-2022 academic year will be available in spring 2021. Current Excelsior Scholarship recipients should not complete this application. If you first received the award in the fall term of the current academic year, no additional action is needed for the spring term.
What is the Excelsior Scholarship Program?
The first of its kind in the nation, the Excelsior Scholarship Program will provide a tuition-free college education at New York’s public colleges and universities to families making up to $125,000 per year.
Is this the same as the Excelsior Partnership?
No. The SUNY Broome/Excelsior Partnership is unrelated to the scholarship program. Instead, it’s a transfer agreement with Excelsior College. Get more information on this program.
Am I eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship?
That depends on your income, and whether you’re a full-time student.
The program will be available to families who earned less than $125,000 in 2018. The income calculation would be based on federal adjusted gross income, as reported on federal income tax forms, for the student and his or her family. If your family makes more than the designated amount, you are not eligible for Excelsior.
Students must be enrolled in college full-time and average 30 credits per year (including Summer and January semesters) in order to receive the funding. However, the program has built-in flexibility so that any student facing hardship is able to pause and restart the program, or take fewer credits one semester than another. This requirement on students will encourage on-time degree completion.
Students receiving federal and state aid (Pell and TAP) may not be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if their Pell and/or TAP covers 100% of tuition.
Finally, students are required to maintain a grade point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework, and students will be required to live and work in-state for the same number of years after graduation as they received the scholarship while in school.
Are current students eligible for the Excelsior scholarship?
Yes, if they meet the income and credit requirements.
How many credits do I need to take to remain eligible for Excelsior?
After acceptance into the program, you need to complete at least 30 credits per year and at least 12 per semester in a program of study. During your last semester, you will need to complete at least 12 credits, with at least one course needed to meet graduation requirements.
Is there a GPA requirement to maintain the scholarship?
Yes. According to the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), recipients must earn a passing grade in their coursework to maintain the scholarship.
Can I become eligible in the future if I lose the scholarship?
No. If you lose the scholarship during your undergraduate course of study, you cannot regain eligibility. However, there are some allowable interruptions that will allow students to take time off. We will share more details on this as they become available.
What if I have a disability?
As with TAP, students with disabilities will not be required to register full-time to be eligible for the scholarship. Guidelines on this are available at hesc.ny.gov.
What if I’m a part-time student?
The New York State Part-Time Scholarship Award Program provides scholarship awards to students who attend a SUNY or CUNY Community College part-time and maintain a 2.0 GPA. Students can receive $1,500 per semester for up to 2 years.
Is there a residency requirement?
Yes. As with other New York State financial aid programs, you must live in New York for a year or more before applying for the Excelsior scholarship.
What happens if I leave New York State, or take a job in another state?
The Excelsior Program requires recipients to live in New York State for a continuous number of years equal to the duration of the award received. In other words, if you use Excelsior for two years, you need to live in New York State for two years. You’re not required to be employed during that period, but you cannot work in another state. If you fail to meet these requirements by leaving New York State or becoming employed in another state before the period expires, your scholarship will be converted into a student loan – which you will then need to repay. It does not become a loan if the student becomes ineligible and loses the scholarship during undergraduate work prior to graduation.
Do I still have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Yes, you must still apply for financial aid. Excelsior doesn’t change the amount of federal aid you receive; rather, it supplies the difference between federal aid, TAP and tuition costs so that tuition is covered.
Do I still need to apply for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)?
Yes, you must still apply for TAP. As above, Excelsior doesn’t change the amount of aid you receive, but supplies the difference between the aid and tuition costs.
Does the Excelsior Program cover all costs associated with college?
No. The Excelsior Scholarship Program only covers tuition. Housing (for residential students), meal plans, textbooks and other fees must still be covered by the student.
How do I apply for the Excelsior scholarship?
Students can apply during select times during the academic year at www.hesc.ny.gov. Sign up for Excelsior application updates to learn when you can apply!