SUNY and CUNY Students Whose Families Make Up to $125,000 Annually Can Apply for Tuition-Free College

Applications Accepted Through August 31, 2023


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the application for the Excelsior Scholarship for new applicants for the 2023 – 2024 academic year is now open here. The Excelsior Scholarship allows eligible full-time students to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college tuition-free. The scholarship is administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

"The Excelsior Scholarship is one of the most promising programs in New York State. It provides access to an affordable college education for thousands of middle and lower-income New Yorkers, helping them reach their full potential,” Governor Hochul said. “At a time when economic disparities are widening, it is more important than ever to ensure that every student has access to the resources they need to succeed. The Excelsior Scholarship is an important step in fulfilling this goal.”

Students from households with federal adjusted gross incomes up to $125,000 are eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship award. Students must also:

  • Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two or four-year college  
  • Complete 30 credits per year towards their program of study (including Summer and Winter terms); and  
  • Be on track to graduate with an Associate's Degree in two years or a Bachelor's Degree in four years   

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation President Dr. Guillermo Linares said, "The Excelsior Scholarship is a testament to New York's commitment to making college more accessible to all students, regardless of their economic backgrounds. Enabling more New Yorkers the opportunity to pursue a college degree is an important step towards ensuring that every student has an opportunity to succeed. I thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to helping students reach their potential through this program."
SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, "New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program, Excelsior Scholarship, and other financial aid play a vital role in keeping college affordable and making SUNY such an extraordinarily value proposition. It is this ongoing commitment from our Governor and our legislators that ensures that 53% of full-time in-state students attend tuition free. Last year alone, over 20,000 students benefited from the Excelsior Scholarship, and we encourage New Yorkers with dreams of completing a higher education to apply and find out if they are eligible.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “The Excelsior Scholarship program has opened the doors of education and opportunity for thousands of CUNY students. By enabling qualifying students to attend college tuition-free, Excelsior has become an important part of CUNY's mission of providing pathways to career success and ultimately to upward economic and social mobility. We thank Governor Hochul for her continued recognition of the unmatched value and importance of higher education for all New Yorkers.”

The Excelsior Scholarship is just one of the many ways New York State makes college affordable and accessible. Thanks to New York State’s generous higher education funding programs, in 2021-22, more than 263,000 students received state financial aid, including approximately 30,000 students who attended a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free because of the Excelsior Scholarship.   Visit the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation website to explore other options available to help pay for college.
For more information about the Excelsior Scholarship Program, please visit

The 2023–2024 Excelsior Scholarship application is open to first-time students entering college in the Fall 2023 term and current college students who have never received the Excelsior Scholarship. Students currently receiving an Excelsior Scholarship do not need to complete this application to receive continued award payments. Students eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship under the Senator José Peralta New York State DREAM Act can apply here.  
Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2023.  

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