Excelsior! Financial Aid Is on Its Way

NYS Excelsior Scholarship Aids Kids in College Process


College is expensive, really expensive. And for students whose parents cannot afford college, it seems extremely daunting. It does not have to be anymore, thanks to the New York State Excelsior Scholarship Program.

The Excelsior Scholarship Program allows students whose household adjusted income is less than $110,000 a year to qualify for free tuition to State Universities of New York. The income threshold will be rising to $125,000 next year. This only includes only tuition, so room and board and other extremities are not paid for by this scholarship.

Students also must reach or exceed 30 credits per term, but AP classes can count toward this total as well. After graduation students must work and live in New York state for at least four years.

The scholarship is a great substitute for Community College. It allows students to pay similar costs to attend a University with college experience. Students also receive deeper connections with professors, classmates, and admissions staff when they attend a four-year university rather than a community college for two years.

 The scholarship was rolled out in April 2017, which made New York state the first to make four-year public colleges tuition-free for those under an earnings threshold.

For seniors this year, it has provided an opportunity to receive an affordable education while still valuing the quality of school. Seniors Michael Abel and Nick Nugent both are considering SUNY schools and plan to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship when it opens.

New York state became the Nation’s first state to integrate a tuition-free college plan for middle class families.

“I definitely would have (considered community college) because of how much more affordable MCC is relative to private colleges. Finances are one of the most important factors in my decision-making process,” Abel said.

“The scholarship has greatly influenced my decision making in my college decision. For example, my plan was if I get into SUNY Geneseo, I would go there. I really liked Saint John Fisher, but the price is just not manageable,” Nugent said.

The College process is extremely daunting, especially for students in families who lack college experience.  Even the Excelsior scholarship is a bit confusing and tedious.  However, these stipulations do not make the scholarship not worth it.

“I believe these stipulations are not extreme enough to push me away from applying for the scholarship. Financially, it makes the most sense for me,” Abel said.

Director of Student Counseling & College Advising Mr. John Serafine believes students should be thorough when deciding if the scholarship is for them or not because they may lose their scholarship if they decide to take fewer classes or move out of state. There are a fair number of stipulations that are specific, but overall it is worth it.

College is changing. It is no longer necessary to break the bank to get a worthy education. Wealth should not be a stipulation to go to college and this scholarship is a way to eradicate that.