Excelsior Scholarship Regulations Approved, ”Free Tuition” Program Scheduled to start taking applications June 7th

First-in-the-Nation Program to Make NYS Public Universities Tuition-Free for Families Making Up to $125,000 Per Year Approved by HESC Board of Trustees
Application for Excelsior Scholarship to be Available June 7

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Board of Trustees voted to approve regulations governing the Excelsior Scholarship, the first-of-its-kind in the nation program to provide tuition-free college at New York’s public universities to families making up to $125,000 a year.

The Excelsior Scholarship application will be available June 7.  More information about the program and requirements can be found at the Higher Education Services Corporation’s website click here.
Key provisions adopted today provide flexibility for Excelsior Scholars by:

  • Allowing for the interruption of study and waiver of post-award obligations based on military service requirements


  • Allowing students to apply college credits earned in high school toward the 30-credits per year completion requirements


  • Prorating repayment of an award if residency/work requirements are not met, and making provisions for waiver/postponement of repayment in cases of extreme hardship


  • Allowing current college students who are six or less credits short of meeting the program’s credit requirements the opportunity to become eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship in 2018-2019, enabling them to “catch up” and qualify


  • Authorizing disabled students to attend part-time and receive a pro-rated award


“A college education has become a necessity, and with the Excelsior Scholarship, all New Yorkers, no matter where they come from or how much money their families make, will have access to a higher education,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program will open the door of a high quality college education to more students than ever before, and build the highly skilled workforce that is needed for New York to continue to compete on the world economic stage. I applaud the HESC Board for approving these regulations that will allow so many students to benefit from this program.”

Under the Excelsior Scholarship, nearly 80 percent of New York families, or 940,000 middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year, would qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges in New York State.

HESC Acting President Dr. Guillermo Linares said, “It is significant that the motion to approve the regulations came from the Board’s public sector student representatives.  With the majority to jobs requiring a college education, the Excelsior Scholarship will allow more students and families to access a college education so that they meet tomorrow’s workforce demands.”

The Board of Trustees also approved regulations to implement the Enhanced Tuition Awards program, which would provide scholarship awards to students from families making up to $125,000 a year and who are attending private colleges.