New York State Budget Includes First-in-the-Nation, Tuition-Free Scholarship Program

New York State Budget Includes First-in-the-Nation, Tuition-Free Scholarship Program

Photo: Susan Kahn

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on April 8, 2017, that the Excelsior Scholarship will provide tuition-free college at New York’s public colleges and universities. It is included in the fiscal year 2018 budget agreement. The program will be phased in over three years, beginning in fall 2017. It will first apply to families that earn $100,000 or less, then to those that earn $110,000 or less in 2018, and eventually reaching $125,000 or less in 2019.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo and the Legislature on a budget agreement that helps make college more affordable to a greater number of New York students and families,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “The Excelsior Scholarship expands access to many more deserving students and the five-year tuition plan approved ensures college costs are predictable and transparent for all SUNY students and their families.”

President Stanley added, “SUNY Oswego has a long-standing commitment to higher education access, college completion and cost predictability, and we look forward to further expanding our support of students and their families as a result of this budget agreement.”

SUNY Oswego students who receive the scholarship will still have a bill of approximately $16,000 a year to pay in room, board and other costs of attendance. Gifts to The Fund for Oswego help ease that burden of debt and ensure that the college provides the best support and resources to its students. Learn more about The Fund at, or 315-312-3003.

For more information, to access frequently asked questions or to sign up to receive updates on the Excelsior Scholarship, visit “The Excelsior Scholarship Is Leading the Way to College Affordability” or

—Wayne Westervelt

Highlights of the Excelsior Scholarship:

  • A student will need to complete 30 credit hours per year to maintain the award.
  • Family adjusted gross income must be less than $100,000 for fall 2017 recipients.
  • Students will need to maintain satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree.
  • If a student does not maintain satisfactory progress, they will lose the award and not be allowed to get it back.
  • Students must live in New York state after graduation for the same number of years they receive the award, or they will need to repay the award.
  • Students must complete their academic program in four years or five years (for applicable undergraduate programs).
  • New and current students may apply.
  • Receive notification when applications are available by registering your email at

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