Home > News > MDC News > NY State Excelsior Scholarship Makes Free College a Reality for Thousands

Tuition-free college is now a reality in New York State, thanks to the recent launch of the Excelsior Scholarship. College education will become possible for thousands of families who might have put a dream of higher education on hold due to the steep cost.

Under the scholarship, SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $100,000 annually can apply for tuition-free college. When fully implemented, the Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other aid programs, will allow 52 percent of resident full-time students to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college tuition-free.

To be eligible, students must:

  • be New York State residents
  • plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year college
  • take 30 credits per year (including Summer and Winter sessions)
  • be on track to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in two years or a Bachelor’s Degree in four years
  • plan to live in New York State for the length of time they receive the award

Under this groundbreaking program, the first of its kind in the nation, nearly 80 percent – or 940,000 middle-class families and individuals – would qualify when the program is fully phased in. In New York City, an estimated 84.3 percent of all families with college-age children will be eligible for the scholarship.

To apply, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the NYS Tuition Assistance Program application, if applicable, and the Excelsior Scholarship application at hesc.ny.gov/excelsior. Applications will be accepted through Friday, July 21.

For more information, go to hesc.ny.gov.