Excelsior Scholarship Program

This powerful new scholarship program was created in April 2017. It makes New York the first state in the country to provide tuition-free college, at SUNY Plattsburgh and other public institutions, to families making up to $125,000 a year.

This scholarship will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers with federal adjusted gross income of $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, $110,000 in 2018, and $125,000 in 2019.

Many details on the new scholarship are being worked out by state and college officials across New York. Applications are expected to be available in late May with an anticipated deadline for submission of late July. Some key links are below.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What is covered by the Excelsior Scholarship?

Answer: The program covers tuition for eligible SUNY Plattsburgh and other public college students after other grants and scholarships. Resident undergraduate tuition is currently $6,470. Information specific to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and other grants and scholarships can be found at www.hesc.ny.gov.

The program does not cover the other costs of college, which include but are not limited to fees, room and board, transportation, textbooks, meal plans, and more.

What are the requirements for students?

Answer: The program will be phased in over three years, beginning in Fall 2017. It would first apply to families who earn $100,000 or less, then to those who earn $110,000 or less in 2018, and eventually reaching $125,000 or less in 2019. The income calculation is based on federal adjusted gross income, as reported on federal income tax forms, for the student and their family.

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.

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.

What are the residency requirements?

Answer: Residency requirements are the same as requirements for other New York State financial aid programs.

Will current SUNY students be eligible next academic year?

Answer: Yes.

Are graduate students eligible?

Answer: No.

Is it possible for students to lose their Excelsior Scholarship?

Answer: Yes. 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. A student cannot regain eligibility if they lose the scholarship during their undergraduate work.

Will any exceptions be made for part-time students or those with disabilities?

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

How do I apply?

Answer: HESC is developing an application for the Excelsior Scholarship. Students applying for this scholarship must also complete the FAFSA and TAP applications.

Can the scholarship be interrupted?

Answer: The awards are limited to the length of the program (two-year, four-year, approved five-year). HESC will define allowable interruptions and deferments of post graduation requirements soon. The law allows for interruptions, including but not limited to a death of a family member, medical leave, military service and parental leave. Applicants cannot receive an Excelsior Scholarship if they already have a bachelor's degree and cannot receive a second associate's degree if they already have an associate degree.

Must I live in New York State after graduation?

Answer: The student is required to reside in New York State for the same number of years in which they received the award. The student does not need to be employed during this period, however they cannot be employed in another state. HESC has indicated postgraduate deferrals for residing in New York State will include military service and graduate school..

Contact Information

For more information about Financial Aid at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Financial Aid Office
Location: Kehoe Administration Building, Suite 401-410
Phone: (518) 564-2072
Toll-Free Phone: (877) 768-5976
Fax: (518)564-4079
Email: finaid@plattsburgh.edu

Our mailing address:

Financial Aid Office
SUNY Plattsburgh
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901-12681