Students in their graduation cap and gown

Eligible students can apply for full tuition awards through the Excelsior Scholarship program.

Main Page Content

Excelsior Scholarship Information

Applying for the Scholarship

To complete the application and review application deadlines please visit the Higher Education Corporation website at

Frequently Asked Questions


Application & Process

Application Resources

Fact Sheet


Scholarships up to:


annually for four years

Eligibility Requirements

New York state residents whose family household adjusted gross income does not exceed $125,000 are eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

You must be enrolled full time and complete 30 degree applicable credits per year (defined as 365 days). Students can use credits earned during winter or summer semesters to meet the 30 credit per year requirement.

Student Year
First-time Students Must be a NYS resident whose family household adjusted gross income does not exceed $110,000.
Current Students Must be on track to complete your degree on time and meet the income guidelines.
Transfer Students Must be on track to complete your degree on time based on the number of credits accepted by your current college and meet the income guidelines.
Students with an Associate’s Degree Must meet the academic requirements and income guidelines to use the scholarship to complete your bachelor’s degree.

Exceptions for Individuals with Disabilities

As with the TAP grants, students with disabilities will not be required to register full-time to be eligible for the scholarship, but must remain continuously enrolled and complete the number of credits that they attempt each semester.

Award Amount

An Excelsior Scholarship recipient can receive up to $5,500, minus any amounts received for TAP, Pell, or other grants or scholarships (unless specifically indicated for non-tuition expenses). The remainder of your tuition charge will be covered through a tuition credit paid through SUNY.

Income Guidelines

Guidelines are based on household adjusted gross income:

For 2019 and beyond, $125,000 (Federal household adjusted gross income can total up to $125,000 as filed on your 2020 federal tax return)

Award Length

You are eligible to get an award for up to 4 years for students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.

Academic Requirements

According to HESC, recipients must earn a passing grade in their coursework to maintain the scholarship. HESC regulations may give more detail regarding the timeframe for certification and what constitutes a passing grade, especially as it relates to programs which require a specified grade (e.g. “C” or better) in a course.

Recipients must complete a total of 30 degree applicable credits over the course of a year (defined as 365 days) and be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in a semester. Recipients may use intersessions and summer terms in accumulating 30 credits within the year.

Keep in mind that that you may have other awards which also carry academic standards that differ from those required for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Maintaining Your Scholarship

You can lose the scholarship if you do not continue to meet all eligibility requirements. For example, you must enroll in at least 12 credits per term and complete 30 credits per year to continue to receive the scholarship. Students who do not meet all eligibility requirements will have their 2nd semester Excelsior award rescinded by NYS.

Residency Requirement

You must live in New York state for the number of years equal to awards you received.

For example, if you received four Excelsior Scholarship awards while getting your bachelor’s degree, you must live in New York state for four years after college. In addition, if you are working during those years, you must work in New York state. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the conversion of your award to a 10-year, 0% interest loan.

No Age Limit

You can enroll at any age and don’t have to be a recent high school graduate. However, you cannot be in default on existing federal or state student loans.

Undocumented Students

You must be a citizen, permanent resident, or refugee to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Eligibility Determination

Incoming students who have had a change in their financial circumstances due to death, disability, divorce or separation of a parent or spouse may request an eligibility determination review based on current circumstances. An Income Appeal Form must be completed and submitted directly to HESC at

Current recipients who do not meet the annual credit or continuous enrollment requirements due to one of the conditions indicated below may be able to retain their Excelsior Scholarship awards. If you meet any of the following conditions, please fill out the Excelsior Eligibility Determination Form. Please note that documentation will be required. The Office of Registration & Records will notify HESC if it is determined that you are eligible to receive your award.

  • You experience a death of an immediate family member
  • You are called to active military duty
  • You interrupt your studies to take care of your new-born child (parental leave)
  • Your medical or health care provider determines that your medical condition or mental health prevents you from beginning or continuing the term or from continuing a full-time course load.
  • You interrupt your studies to care for an immediate family member, whose medical or heath care provider has determined to need additional support or care, which impacts your ability to begin or continue the term or from continuing a full-time course load.”