New York has become the first state in the nation to offer tuition-free college at public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000 for the 2020-21 academic year!
To learn more about this exciting new program and how you might be eligible to attend SUNY Canton tuition-free:
- Please review the Frequently Asked Questions or
- Call (800) 388-7123 and ask for Financial Aid or (315) 386-7616 or
- Submit an Inquiry
The Excelsior application for the Spring 2021 semester opens on Tuesday, December 29th. The deadline to apply is not yet determined.
As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced state revenues and the State is contending with a devastating revenue loss amounting to $61 billion over four years. In light of this, the processing of new Excelsior Scholarship applications is pending Federal assistance, which has been delayed since April. In the absence of multi-year federal funding for New York State awards, Excelsior Scholarship awards may have to be reduced and/or prioritized for current recipients, as provided for under the program.
New applications will be processed, but awards will not be sent to colleges until funding is secured. We will keep you updated on this.
If you already have an Excelsior Award for the 2020-21 academic year or prior, you do not need to complete this application again. If you have never applied, you may complete the Spring 2021 application to determine eligibility.
To complete the application you will need:
- To have already filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the TAP application.
- Copies of 2018 Federal and NYS Income Tax Returns filed by you and your parent(s) or your spouse, as applicable.
- If you are a transfer student or a student with a disability under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), an official transcript from all colleges attended.
- Tips for Completing the Excelsior Scholarship Application
"The Excelsior Scholarship will be a game-changer for the State University of New York by making higher education even more affordable for many families. It will create more opportunities in education, and ultimately careers, for SUNY Canton students."
Dr. Zvi Szafran,
SUNY Canton President
Frequently Asked Questions
The Excelsior Scholarship first began in Fall 2017. Have questions? Learn more below.
A: New York is the first state in the country to provide tuition-free college at New York’s public colleges and universities to New York students pursuing undergraduate degrees full-time and whose families make $110,000 for 2018-19, or $125,000 for 2019-20 and later academic years.
A:The scholarship covers tuition at SUNY Canton and other SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities.
The scholarship does not cover other costs of college, such as room and board, books, fees, transportation, etc.
Students enrolling in a two-year program are eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship for up to two years; students enrolling in a four-year program are eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship for up to four years (this may be extended to five years in cases where the program typically takes five years to complete).
Excelsior does not cover one-year Certificate programs.
A: For the 2018-19 academic year, the adjusted gross income of the students and their families (parents, spouses) must be $110,000 or less (as reported on 2016 federal taxes) and for 2019-20 and beyond, students and families earning $125,000 or less (as reported on 2018 federal taxes and beyond) will be eligible.
A: In order to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship, students must reside in New York State for twelve continuous months prior to the term for which the scholarship is being sought. This is the same requirement for TAP.
I already have a degree. Am I still eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if I want to go back to school?
A:Students that have earned an associate’s degree are not eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship for an additional associate’s degree.
Students that have earned a bachelor’s degree are not eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship for any additional coursework.
Students who have successfully completed a two-year degree are eligible for an additional two years of funding to complete a bachelor’s degree, as long as the college to which the student transfers accepts all of the credits from the two year program, there has been no break in attendance and they meet all other eligibility requirements.
A: Students must enroll full-time in a New York public college or university.
For any student receiving the Excelsior Scholarship they must enroll in a minimum of 12 (non-remedial) credits per semester applicable to the student’s degree program and to continue to be eligible, he/she must continue to successfully complete 30 credits per year (including winter and summer terms) toward their degree program. Remedial credits cannot count toward full time or the 30 credit hours.
Exceptions exist for students meeting ADA (American with Disabilities Act) definitions and students in EOP (Educational Opportunity Program).
A: Yes. Current students, must be enrolled full-time and have successfully completed 30 college credits toward their major each year (including winter and summer terms) prior to applying for the Excelsior Scholarship.
A. For any student receiving the Excelsior Scholarship to continue to be eligible, he/she must continue to successfully complete 30 credits per year toward their degree program (including winter and summer terms) and must enroll for at least 12 credits per semester toward their degree program.
Students who do not successfully complete at least 30 credits per year (including winter and summer terms) can lose this scholarship.
However, the program has built-in flexibility that allows students to interrupt their scholarship benefits and re-enter the program in extenuating circumstances, including but not limited to the death of a family member, medical leave, military service, and parental leave.
Students considered disabled as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act will not be subject to the 30-credit yearly requirement or the 12-credit semester requirement. These students may be part time but need to successfully complete all credits they enroll for.
A: There is not a GPA requirement for new students to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.
Once the Excelsior Scholarship is awarded, the student must maintain a GPA sufficient for continued progression toward on-time graduation in the student’s program of study.
A: Students whose tuition is covered in full by TAP and Pell Grants are not eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.
This is a “last dollar” scholarship, meaning that for eligible students, the State will cover the difference between full tuition minus all other grants and scholarships which can apply toward tuition.
A: Excelsior Scholarship recipients must agree to live in New York after completing their degree for the length of time equal to the awards received. For example, a student receiving the Excelsior Scholarship for two years must commit to living in New York – and not working in any other state – for at least two years following completion of the degree.
Students may defer this requirement if they go out of state to finish their undergraduate education or pursue a graduate degree, but upon completion of that degree they must return to New York for the specified time.
Failure to meet this requirement converts the award from a scholarship to a student loan which must be repaid in full.
Applying for the Scholarship
A: For Spring 2021 (new applicants only) you can apply at New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) beginning on December 29, 2020 at 9:00 am. Deadline to apply will be announced at a later date.
Don’t forget you must have already filed your FAFSA and NYS TAP applications for the 2020-21 academic year.