Will I be able to attend college at CUNY tuition free?
You may be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship, if you are an undergraduate who is a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and reside in New York State for one year prior to enrollment and whose family’s adjusted gross income (as filed on your 2016 federal tax returns) does not exceed $110,000 and you complete thirty (30) credits per year. With the Excelsior Scholarship you will be able to attend CUNY tuition free for the 2018-19 academic year if you meet all these requirements and funding is available.
What are the credit requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship?
Students must be enrolled full-time (12 credits) and take thirty (30) credits per year toward their major, including summer and winter terms, in order to receive the Excelsior Scholarship. Students facing hardship are able to take fewer credits.
What are the general requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship?
An applicant must:
- be a 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;
- have either graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma, or passed a federally approved “Ability to Benefit” test, as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;
- have a combined federal adjusted gross income of 110,000 or less for the 2018-2019 academic year;
- be pursuing an undergraduate degree at CUNY;
- be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program;
- if attended college prior to the 2018-19 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her 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;
- be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by a NYS award that you have previously received; and
- 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.
Are continuing students eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship?
Students who are currently attending college are eligible to receive the scholarship provided they maintained full-time enrollment and completed thirty (30) credits toward their degree each year prior to applying for the scholarship.
How do I maintain my eligibility?
You will continue to receive the Excelsior Scholarship provided that you enroll full-time and successfully complete thirty (30) credits toward your degree in an academic year. Students who do not successfully complete thirty (30) credits per year can lose the scholarship.
How long can I receive the Excelsior Scholarship?
You are eligible to receive an Excelsior Scholarship for up to 2 years for students pursuing an Associate’s degree and up to 4 years for students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. Students in an undergraduate program of study normally requiring 5 years are eligible to receive the award for 5 years.
Can I get an Excelsior Scholarship award if I’m a transfer student?
A student who transferred between colleges is eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship provided they do not have a break in enrollment and are on track to complete their Associate’s degree in 2 years or their Bachelor’s degree in 4 years based on the number of credits accepted by their current college.
Do I qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship if I begin enrollment in the spring semester?
If you begin attending in the spring, you must complete thirty (30) credits by the start of the following spring term.
If I completed my Associate’s degree, can I receive this award to get my Bachelor’s degree?
Yes, provided the college that you are attending accepted all of the credits you earned while completing your Associate’s degree and you meet all other requirements for the Excelsior Scholarship. However, you will not be able to use the Scholarship for another Associate’s degree.
Are graduate students eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship?
No, they are not.
If I have an undergraduate degree, can I receive the Excelsior Scholarship to pursue a second undergraduate degree?
No. You cannot receive the Excelsior Scholarship to pursue a second undergraduate degree.
What is the definition of a New York State Resident for the purpose of the Excelsior Scholarship?
To be considered a NY State resident for the purpose of receiving the scholarship you must reside in New York State for one year prior to the term for which the scholarship is being sought.
Do the college credits I earn in High School (College Now and AP classes) count toward my thirty (30) credit requirement?
College Now and AP classes taken in High School will count toward the 30 credit requirement.
I do not have the equivalent of 30 credits per year to be on-track for graduation, can I make them up to qualify?
Yes, a student who is not on track to complete an Associate’s degree in two consecutive years or Bachelor’s degree in four consecutive years (which requires completion of the equivalent of 30 credits each academic year) can catch up on missing credits to become eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship. If you successfully earn additional credits during a term or an academic year and get back on track to completing your degree on time, you will be eligible to receive an Excelsior Scholarship for the remainder of your undergraduate degree program.
What if I fail to complete the 30 credit requirement?
If you fail to complete the 30 credits over a 365 day period, the Excelsior Scholarship will cover your first term; however, you will be responsible for the tuition for your second term. Since you will no longer be on track to complete your degree on time, you will be ineligible for the scholarship in the future.