Excelsior Scholarship deadline approaching

Hunter Wallace
News Editor


Did you miss the opportunity to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship last spring? If so, have no fear! The Excelsior Scholarship application for the spring 2018 semester is open now through Dec. 4.

The application for the spring 2018 semester is open to students attending college for the first time in the spring 2018 term and students who caught up on credits during the fall 2017 term. In order to qualify, returning students must meet the credit requirement and current college students who missed the deadline for the fall 2017 application.

The Excelsior Scholarship offers a number of features that may benefit students.

“For income-eligible families, the Excelsior Scholarship provides free tuition for students who attend SUNY or CUNY colleges,” said Eric Bryant, assistant director of communications and marketing. “Students will still be responsible for certain fees, the cost of books and other cost of living items, but the hope is that this will reduce the barrier to higher education for those who could not afford it.”

To complete the application, students must fill out and submit the, 2017-2018 FERPA, TAP-on-The-Web Application and copies 2015 New York State income tax returns. Transfer students or students with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act have to provide an official college transcript. Current students need to include the current fall term in their count for the application question that asks, “During your lifetime college experience, how many terms did you complete?”

Applicants also have to meet several eligibility requirements, including being a U.S. citizen and resident of New York State for at least 12 months prior to the start of the term. Applicants must also have a combined federal gross-adjusted income of $100,000 or less and must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester, having earned 30 or more credits every year.

They must also agree to a contract requiring all Excelsior recipients to remain and work in New York State for the same length of time the award was received.

As of Oct. 2, 2017, 614 Hudson Valley students were receiving a tuition-free education. However, the number of students who applied remains unknown, according to Bryant, who referred to SUNY central figures.

The amount of students who apply for Excelsior can change with each semester.

“Generally, the numbers of students who start college in the spring are less than those who start in the fall, so the numbers will likely be less,” Bryant said. “If a student started this fall and believes they are eligible, did not have the chance to apply and wants to do so, the enrollment window is now open until Dec. 4.”

Students are advised to research all their options and make informed decisions when applying for the spring 2018 semester.

“Read the FAQs on the Higher Education Services Corporation page, see if you are eligible and read the parameters set up for those who receive the scholarship,” Bryant said. “You must be a full-time student and complete a certain number of credit hours each year to maintain eligibility, and you also must adhere to residency requirements after your education is complete. So, read carefully and consider your options.”

Nearly 22,000 students are attending college at SUNY and CUNY schools tuition-free thanks to the Excelsior Scholarship’s introduction earlier this year.

To view eligibility requirements, submit an application or read additional resources, visit hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.

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