Excelsior Scholarship Program
The Excelsior Scholarship
The Excelsior Scholarship Application is NOW available through February 11, 2021 for students looking to receive a first-time award for the Spring 2021 term.
The Excelsior Scholarship Program:
Eligibility: Attend a New York State public institution.
Income: As with the 2020-21 FAFSA and TAP application, Prior-Prior year (PPY) 2018 adjusted gross income (AGI) will be used.
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Thresholds:
2020-21: $125,000 (2018 AGI)
Application Process: The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation in Albany (HESC) is developing an application vehicle for The Excelsior Scholarship. Students applying for this scholarship must complete the FAFSA and TAP applications.
Verification of AGI: HESC will be verifying 2018 AGI through the NYS Tax and Finance Department.
Application of Other Financial Aid Award Programs: Pell, TAP, and the SUNY Tuition Credit along with some Institutional scholarships must be applied first. The Excelsior Scholarship is a last dollar scholarship which means all federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships will reduce the annual amount of the award.
GPA and Earned Credits: According to HESC, recipients must earn a passing grade in their coursework to maintain the scholarship.
Recipients must complete a total of 30 credit hours over the course of an academic year. In addition, students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Recipients may use intersessions and summer terms in accumulating the 30 credits within the academic year.
Duration of Award; allowable interruptions and deferments of post graduated requirements: The awards are limited to the length of the program (2 year, 4 year, approved 5 yr). HESC will define allowable interruptions and deferments of post graduation requirements in regulation. The law allows for interruptions including but not limited to a death of a family member, medical leave, military service and parental leave. HESC has indicated postgraduate deferrals for residing in NYS will include military service and graduate school. Applicants cannot receive an excelsior award if they already have a bachelor degree and cannot receive a second associates if they already have an associate degree.
NYS Residency: Applicants must be a NYS resident to be eligible for the scholarship.
Post Graduation Residency: The student is required to reside in NYS 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.
Citizenship: The Excelsior Scholarship program falls under the general award rule. As such, applicants must meet the same requirements for citizenship as for TAP.
Loan Information: The scholarship only reverts to a loan when a student does not fulfill the post graduation residency requirement. The scholarship does not revert to a loan if the student becomes ineligible and loses the scholarship during their undergraduate work prior to graduation.
Regaining eligibility: A student cannot regain eligibility if they lose the scholarship during their undergraduate study. There are some allowable interruptions listed in the statute and we anticipate more information will be detailed in regulation.