The Excelsior Scholarship is a unique program available in New York for local students who want to go to college. It awards money to students that they can use to pay for their tuition costs, though they are still responsible for paying for their own textbooks as well as living expenses like room and board. Two schools in the state actually reduced tuition rates to allow students using this scholarship to cover all their tuition costs with the award. You can find out more about the program like who receives the scholarship and how you can apply.

Who is Eligible?

According to the New York State Government website, students attending either a college in the State University of New York System or the City of New York System are eligible for the scholarship. These schools go by the names of SUNY and CUNY and have campuses all across the state. You must enroll in either a two-year associate’s or a four-year bachelor’s degree program and agree to take at least 30 credits of classes during the school year. The program requires that students agree to work in New York after they graduate too. Winners must work in the state for the same number of years that they spent getting money from the state. You can only apply if your family makes less than $100,000 a year. Only students who established residency in the state and lived in New York for one full year can apply.

How Long Does the Program Last?

One of the benefits of this program is that you can renew your scholarship from one year to the next. Though some students think that they can spend as much time as they want working on their degrees, the program limits how long you can receive money based on the average time it takes to earn a college degree. You will only get money for two years when working on an associate’s degree, but this increases to four years for those working on a bachelor’s degree. Some programs require five years of study, and this scholarship allows students to renew the award each year in one of those programs.

How Much Money Can You Get?

You probably want to know how much money you will get from an Excelsior Scholarship, but the exact amount depends on where you go to school. Those attending a community college and those in two-year programs will get $4,000 a year because tuition at those schools is less than what traditional colleges charge. If you enroll in a four-year program at a state college, you will get $6,500 a year. This scholarship does not cover room and board, which can cost as much as $10,000 a year or even more.

Can You Use Any Other Financial Aid?

Though you can get one of these scholarships and use other types of aid, you may find yourself limited to grants and loans. Grants usually only go to those with more financial need. With loans, you can borrow an amount to cover the cost of room and board as well as all your other expenses.

New York was the first state in the country to implement a financial aid program designed to help more students. The Excelsior Scholarship awards money to NY residents willing to live and work in the state after graduating.

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