NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program

Tuition award for students who graduate in the top 10% of their NYS high school class & pursue a degree in STEM at SUNY or CUNY.

  • Be in the top 10% of your NYS high school graduating class

  • Must apply in your high school senior year

  • Attend a SUNY or CUNY college immediately following high school graduation 

  • Pursue a degree in an approved STEM program of study

  •  Enrolled in full-time study (at least 12 credits per term)

  • Live in NYS and work in an approved STEM occupation for five years 


For the 2024-2025 Academic Year

Be sure to complete your FAFSA and apply for TAP first.

Complete the FAFSAApply for TAP

Then complete and submit the:

STEM Application



Covers tuition expenses at a SUNY or CUNY college.

  • Allows students to attend a state-operated SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. 
  • Awards are reduced by the amount of any other tuition assistance awards received, such as NYS TAP.

Dependent on the length of program

2 years for students pursuing their associate degree full-time.

4 years for students pursuing their bachelor’s degree full-time.

5 years for approved five-year degree programs.

Any award payment received may have tax implications. Please direct any questions to a tax professional, the Internal Revenue Service, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Undocumented and other immigrant students: before submitting your Excelsior Scholarship application, apply for eligibility under the NYS DREAM Act.


To receive the Scholarship, you must meet the following residency requirements: 

  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • You are a legal resident of New York State and have resided in New York State for 12 continuous months.

Not a citizen or eligible noncitizen? Learn more about the NYS DREAM Act application.

High School, GED, or Ability to Benefit

  • Graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma (GED), or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test.

High School

  • Be ranked in the top 10 percent of your high school graduating class at a New York State high school.
  • Must attend college immediately upon graduation.

College & Program

Once in college, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be matriculated in an approved undergraduate program leading to a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics at a public college located in NYS.  
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.
  • Be enrolled full-time.


There are no income limits for the NYS STEM Award.

  • Recipients must agree to reside in New York State for five years and be employed in an approved STEM occupation
  • If you move out of New York State before you complete your residency and work commitments, all or part of your award will be converted to a 10-year student loan plus interest.  Interest rate for the life of the loan shall be fixed and equal to that set annually by the U.S. Department of Education for federal undergraduate Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans at the time the Service Contract is signed.


    For more detailed information, please review the NYS STEM Incentive Program Service Contract.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, students with disabilities can take longer to complete their associate degree or bachelor’s degree and retain their Excelsior Scholarship eligibility if their disability requires them to attend less than full-time (30 credits per year, or its equivalent) or if they need to pause their studies due to their disability. 

Students with qualified disabilities who attend less than full-time must register with their college office for students with disabilities. 

Please note that neither students with disabilities nor students without disabilities can receive or retain an Excelsior Scholarship if they take longer to complete due to a change of majors or transfer to another college unless such change is a direct result of functional limitations resulting from the impairment that impacts the student’s ability to continue at the college or in the major. Specifically:

For individuals who have lost college credits due to a change in major or transfer of college, consideration for an award will only be given to students who provide medical documentation that clearly specifies that they (1) both (i) transferred to another college due to their disability or medical condition (e.g., the student must be cared for at home and, therefore, transferred to a college near their home) and (ii) changed majors, if applicable, because their previous major was not offered at their transfer college; or (2) were first diagnosed with their disability or medical condition after entering college/selecting their major, and their capacity to continue at that college or in pursuit of that major is or was limited by their disability or medical condition, resulting in the loss of credits.

Learn more about your rights under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990.


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