Tips for Completing the Excelsior Scholarship Application


What if I went to a non-NYS college and am transferring to a SUNY or CUNY college?

Students who are transferring to a SUNY or CUNY college from an out-of-state school are considered to meet the residency requirements if:
  • They are financially dependent on their parents’ income, and
  • Their parents resided in NYS while they attended a college outside of NYS.


What if I didn’t file the FAFSA / What if I have an incomplete FAFSA?

You must have filed a completed FAFSA in order to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship.

If you submitted your FAFSA online, then the U.S. Department of Education will process your application within 3-5 days. If you submitted a paper FAFSA, your application will be processed within 7-10 days.

You can check the status of your FAFSA immediately after submitting it online by going to and logging in.

You can check the status of a paper FAFSA after it has been processed (roughly 7–10 days from the date mailed).

Once your application is processed, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA. You should review your SAR and make sure all of the information is complete and accurate.

You can make changes or corrections to your FAFSA in one of the following ways:
  1. Make changes at
    • Click on the "Login" button and provide the information requested to get into your account.
    • On the My FAFSA page, click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
    • Enter your FSA ID (username and password).
    • Change your information.
    • Submit your new information.
  2. Write in the corrections or updates on your paper Student Aid Report (SAR), sign it, and mail it to the address provided on the SAR.

Check with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend; the school might be able to make changes for you electronically.

You should contact the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend to find out if there are additional requirements for receiving financial aid and to learn more about the process of applying for aid at that college.


What income information do I need?

You will be asked to provide your:
  1. Federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), as reported on your 2015 NYS Tax Return, and
  2. New York State Net Taxable Income (NTI), as reported on your 2015 NYS Tax Return.

Your AGI will be used to determine whether you meet the $100,000 income requirement to be eligible for an award for the 2017-18 academic year. Your NTI will be used to determine whether you meet the $80,000 TAP income eligibility requirement for a TAP award for the 2017-18 academic year.

If you were not required to file a NYS Income Tax Return for the 2015 tax year, you should enter $0 for your income.

Income information will be verified through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Whose income should I report?

If you are an applicant who was claimed as a dependent by your parent(s) on their income tax return, you should report both income which you earned and income which your parent(s) earned.

If you are an applicant who is married, you should report both income which you earned and income which your spouse earned, even if you filed separately.

What tax return do I need?

You will need to provide income tax information from your 2015 Form IT-201, New York State Resident Income Tax Return. 

You will be asked if you completed the Form IT-203, New York State Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return, so please make sure you know which form was filed.


What if I don’t have information about other types of financial aid that I will be receiving?

Your financial aid award information can be found on your financial aid award letter or may be available on your student account.

If you have not yet received information on your financial aid awards from your institution, you can either report amounts you received in the previous year or enter zero.


What if I am currently taking summer courses to meet my 30-credit per year requirement?

Courses that you complete this summer will count toward your 30-credit per year requirement.

Due to the July 21 close of the Excelsior application, students taking summer courses to fulfill the 30-credit requirement for the 2016-17 academic year should include the number of credits they will complete in their Spring 2017 semester total – even if the class is not yet completed.

Your college will verify the completion of summer session credits by August 31, 2017.

What if I only took college courses to be eligible for a job opportunity?

Applicants who have not pursued a degree, but took courses for employment or various other personal reasons are eligible to apply.

You should not enter credits taken as a high school student, or courses taken if you were not pursuing a degree (i.e., while you were a non-matriculated student).

What if I am in an Opportunity Program?

Applicants enrolled in an Opportunity Program, such as the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), SEEK, College Discovery are considered to be in a program of study normally requiring 5 years of study, and must have completed 24 credits per year to be eligible.

What if I have a disability under the ADA?

Students with disabilities covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) are exempt from the 30-credit per year requirement. Students with a disability under the ADA and who are certified by their college, may attend less than full-time, and will have their award prorated. Such students will not be asked to identify the number of credits completed.