By Kassondra Gonzalez
Beginning this year, New York State’s new Excelsior Scholarship will allow tuition free attendance to a SUNY or CUNY college to residents whose family household income does not exceed $100,000.
“With the launch of the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship program, the dream of a college education and a better life is now within reach for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said, according to the official website of New York State. “…this program is the ticket to greater opportunity and will help build the stronger, smarter workforce New York needs to compete in the global economy.”
As a student who is halfway through four years at college, I was immediately concerned that the scholarship would only be available to students entering their first year. However, the scholarship is open to all eligible undergraduates and I was able to apply without an issue.
To qualify, whether U.S citizen or eligible non-citizen, one must confirm they have been a resident of New York State for at least one year prior to the beginning of the term for which they are applying. One must also have filed their Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application as well as their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
After confirming eligibility, including the requirement of an income less or equal to $100,000 according to 2015 New York State income tax returns, I was instructed to download and upload two documents in order to be approved. These two documents included an unofficial college transcript, found free of charge after signing in to my university’s website, and the Student Aid Report (SAR) that a student receives after completing their FAFSA, which I found by signing in to my FAFSA account.
Within as little as two days after submitting the documents, I was notified via email that my application was approved. Following approval, the last step is to print, sign and upload the Excelsior Scholarship contract by August 14, 2017 which would mark completion of the process and guarantee acceptance of the application.
The application and additional information about the scholarship are available on the official NYS Higher Education Services Corporation website. The deadline to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship is July 21, 2017.