Students, parents sort through the NYS Excelsior Scholarship

Local News

New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship is known as the new program that will “make college possible” for everyone, but so far, many have been asking questions as they find it impossible to understand.

“More questions created yet more questions,” said Tim Campbell, a parent of a West Genesee student.

Like Campbell, parents posed specific questions about their child’s college plans in hopes of scoring an Excelsior Scholarship during an information session held at Onondaga Community College Wednesday night.

“We really didn’t know how the whole program was going to work,” Campbell said. “Really we just knew the basic headline, ‘free tuition,’ when we came in here. We actually have a much better understanding now.”

After students fill out a FAFSA and apply for the Excelsior Scholarship between June 7th and July 21st, there are several requirements students must meet. 

“We give you a Tuition Assistance Program award. You’re also getting a SUNY credit which is a credit the campus is giving you,” said Lonnie Threatte, Vice President of Higher Education Service Corporation. “You might be getting Pell which is coming from the Federal Government…once you get all those awards, whatever is left over for tuition, if you are below $100,000 or below $125,000 in three years – Excelsior will fill that gap.”

One example of how the Excelsior Scholarship works is that a student can attend Onondaga Community College for two years and earn an associates degree. After graduation, the student will be required to live in New York state for two years whether or not they find a job.

If a job takes you out of state after graduation, your scholarship becomes a loan with zero percent interest, which needs to be paid off in 10 years.

Cayuga Community College is hosting a similar informational session for students and parents on Thursday, May 18, on its Auburn Campus. The free session starts at 6 p.m. in the Admissions Office in Room M265. 

For more information about the Excelsior Scholarship and how it works, visit the Higher Education Services Corporation.

Scholarship Eligibility:
NYS resident
SUNY or CUNY school
2- or 4-year degree
30 credits per year
Good academic standing
Graduate on time

Leaving NYS for a job after graduation:
Scholarship becomes a loan
0% interest rate
10 years to pay loan

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