On April 12, 2017, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law The Excelsior Scholarship program. It is meant to provide tuition-free college to students at public colleges and universities in New York.
What are some of the details of this program?
First, you must understand that there are some boundaries around this program that must be adhered to in order to qualify for it. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but I will list some of the more important ones. Your best place to find information on this is to go directly to the NY Excelsior Scholarship website at: https://www.ny.gov/programs/tuition-free-degree-program-excelsior-scholarship. Here are some of the basics:
- You must be a NY state resident for 12 months prior to applying for the term you want the award.
- For the 2018-2019 school year, your household adjusted gross income on your federal tax return for 2016 cannot exceed $110,000. This will increase to $125,000 for academic year 2019-2020 (2017 return) and beyond.
- You must attend a SUNY or CUNY two or four-year program, including community colleges, or the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University.
- The scholarship only covers tuition.
- You must earn a total of 30 credit hours (at least 12 per term) over the course of a year (including January and summer).
- You must complete the FAFSA application, and the NYS Student Aid Payment application each year.
- You must live in NY the number of years for the awards you receive. Meaning that if you get your Bachelor’s degree (4 years) and are awarded the scholarship every year, you will need to live in NY for 4 years after college.
- If you are working during the years you are living in NY, you also need to work in NY
- If you do not live and/or work in NY for those years after college, your scholarship will be converted to a zero-interest loan, and you will have to pay it back. Currently, it will be converted to a 10-year loan.
The Excelsior Scholarship will pay up to $5,500 per recipient, minus any amounts that are received from TAP, Pell, or other scholarships. If there is any tuition left to pay after that, a tuition credit will cover any remaining tuition expenses not covered by the scholarship.
Paying for your child’s education is a very personal decision. If it is something that you have decided you want to do, this program is a nice way to relieve some of that financial burden on both you, and your child. Everyone hears about the size of the debt loads that kids have coming out of college these days, and this Excelsior Scholarship program will certainly help them to graduate with less of that weight on their shoulders. You realize where they are going to live if they can’t afford to live and pay back their student loans, right? It is certainly worth looking into.
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Written by Joel R. Maness