Free Tuition Fee: The Excelsior Scholarship 2018-2019 (all you need to know)


Free Tuition Fee: The Excelsior Scholarship 2018-2019

The Excelsior Scholarship is a state of New York financial aid program to provide free tuition for students attending either a State University of New York (SUNY) or a City University of New York (CUNY) institution. SUNY Empire State College is encouraging its students and prospective students to participate if they are eligible. The award is capped at $5,500 a year and can only be used for the cost of tuition.

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.

who is eligible for The Excelsior Scholarship???

An applicant must:

  • be a resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have either graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma, or passed a federally approved “Ability to Benefit” test, as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;
  • have a combined federal adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less;
  • be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University;
  • be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program;
  • if attended college prior to the 2017-18 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program prior to applying for an Excelsior Scholarship;
  • be in a non-default status on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award;
  • be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by a NYS award that you have previously received; and
  • execute a Contract agreeing to reside in NYS for the length of time the award was received, and, if employed during such time, be employed in NYS.
Catch-Up Year

Applicants who first entered college as a freshman student in the 2015-16 and who have earned 54 credits, or who first entered college as a freshman student in 2016-17 academic year and who earned 24 credits can make up those 6 credits in 2017-18. Students who successfully earn 36 credits in the 2017-18 academic year can become eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.


How to Apply:

To apply for the scholarship, the applicants can visit the given link:

Supporting Documents:

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):


Financial Aid and Award Money:

  • The Budget additionally includes $8 million to provide open educational resources, including e-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY colleges to help defray the prohibitive cost of textbooks.
  • An Excelsior Scholarship recipient can receive up to $5,500 from the Excelsior Scholarship, minus any amounts received for TAP, Pell or other scholarships. The remainder of your tuition charge will be covered by a tuition credit paid through SUNY or CUNY.
  • The Excelsior Scholarship makes SUNY tuition-free for thousands of students.
  • The program covers tuition for eligible SUNY and CUNY students.
  • Resident undergraduate tuition at SUNY’s four-year colleges is currently $6,470.
  • SUNY community college tuition is currently for $4,366, on average.
  • The students are eligible to get an award for up to two years for students pursuing an associate’s degree and up to four years for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Link for More Information:


A recipient of an Excelsior Scholarship is eligible to receive award payments for not more than two years of full-time undergraduate study in a program leading to an associate’s degree or four years of full-time undergraduate study, or five years if the program of study normally requires five years, in a program leading to a bachelor’s degree.


To receive payments each subsequent year (after the initial application year), Excelsior Scholarship recipient must annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the TAP-on-The-Web Application each year.


The deadline for the Excelsior Scholarship Program was midnight Friday, July 21, 2017.  Please check back this fall for updates regarding the application period for spring 2018.


  1. I don’t believe the terms were clear enough in the beginning. I applied for the scholarship day one because I met the income requirements, and planned on taking courses full time to be eligible. I was approved, and registered for classes only to be denied at the last minute. The reason being: I didn’t get 30 credits a year when I went to school for my associates. They’re advertising this scholarship as something that can help everyone, and yet they’re imposing terms on your past, before the Excelsior scholarship EXISTED. These terms are ridiculous, and they’re not being upfront about all this. I think we should be alarmed by how many people are being rejected, because they are probably in a similar boat to mine. It’s not right that someone who was a good student gets denied for stupid reasons like this. So, the only people who are truly eligible are people who have never been to school, or who are currently in school and happened to take 30 credits every year. If you don’t fall into those two categories, you’re screwed. What about people who can only go to school part time because they have to work? What about the people who had to drop out of school? What about the people who were taking 12 credits a year(still full time) but didn’t realize they would be screwed over retroactively because they didn’t HAPPEN to take 30 credits a year? I don’t know why I had high hopes for something coming from the government. I should have known better.

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