Excelsior Scholarship

students graduating

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

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Excelsior Scholarship Information

Applying for the Scholarship

To complete the application and review application deadlines please visit the Higher Education Corporation website at hesc.ny.gov

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. 

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:

and beyond

Federal household adjusted gross income can total up to $125,000 as filed on your 2017 federal tax returns

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.

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 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. 


Students who have had a change in their financial circumstances due to disability, divorce or separation of a parent or spouse, or the death of a parent or spouse may appeal for reconsideration of eligibility based on current circumstances. An Income Appeal Form (found on the HESC website) must be completed and submitted directly to HESC at Income.Appeals@hesc.ny.gov.

Students who are determined to be ineligible for failure to meet the continuous enrollment or annual credit hour requirements and who can demonstrate good cause may appeal for reconsideration.  An Excelsior Scholarship Program Appeal Form (found on the HESC website) must be completed and submitted directly to HESC at Excelsior.Appeals@hesc.ny.gov.

Last Updated 9/22/22