Excelsior Scholarship

students graduating

Eligible students can apply for full tuition awards through the Excelsior Scholarship program. 

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Excelsior Scholarship Information

Applying for the Scholarship

The application deadline for the 2018-19 school year is July 23.

Frequently Asked Questions


Application & Process

Application Resources

Application Tips

Fact Sheet

Excelsior Infographic with cost

Eligibility Requirements

For the 2018-19 academic year, New York state residents whose family household adjusted gross income does not exceed $110,000 (as filed on your 2016 federal tax returns) are eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

You must be enrolled full time and complete an average 30 credits per year (including summer and January semesters) to receive the funding. However, the program has built in flexibility. Students facing hardship are able to pause and restart the program, or take fewer credits one semester than another.

First-time Students Must be a NYS resident whose family household adjusted gross income does not exceed $110,000.
Current Students Must be on track to complete your degree on time and meet the income guidelines.
Transfer Students

Must be on track to complete your degree on time based on the number of credits accepted by your current college and meet the income guidelines.

Students with 
an Associate's Degree
Must meet the academic requirements and income guidelines to use the scholarship to complete your bachelor's degree.

Exceptions for Individuals with Disabilities

As with the TAP grants, students with disabilities will not be required to register full-time to be eligible for the scholarship.

Award Amount

An Excelsior Scholarship recipient can receive up to $5,500, minus any amounts received for TAP, Pell, or other grants or scholarships (unless specifically indicated for non-tuition expenses). The remainder of your tuition charge will be covered through a tuition credit paid through SUNY.

Income Guidelines

Guidelines are based on household adjusted gross income:

Academic Year


Federal household adjusted gross income can total up to $110,000 as filed on your 2016 federal tax returns
and beyond


Federal household adjusted gross income can total up to $125,000 as filed on your 2017 federal tax returns

Award Length

You are eligible to get an award for up to 4 years for students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.

Academic Requirements

According to HESC, recipients must earn a passing grade in their coursework to maintain the scholarship. HESC regulations may give more detail regarding the timeframe for certification and what constitutes a passing grade, especially as it relates to programs which require a specified grade (e.g. "C" or better) in a course.

Recipients must complete a total of 30 credits over the course of a year and be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in a semester. Recipients may use intersessions and summer terms in accumulating 30 credits within the year. 

Keep in mind that that you may have other awards which also carry academic standards that differ from those required for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Maintaining Your Scholarship

You can lose the scholarship if you do not continue to meet all eligibility requirements. For example, you must enroll in at least 12 credits per term and complete 30 credits per year to continue to receive the scholarship.

Residency Requirement

You must live in New York state for the number of years equal to awards you received.

For example, if you received four Excelsior Scholarship awards while getting your bachelor’s degree, you must live in New York state for four years after college. In addition, if you are working during those years, you must work in New York state. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the conversion of your award to a loan.

No Age Limit

You can enroll at any age and don't have to be a recent high school graduate. However, you cannot be in default on existing federal or state student loans.

Undocumented Students

You must be a citizen, permanent resident, or refugee to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship. 

Last Updated 4/6/18

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