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Excelsior Scholarship Program Information

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Excelsior Scholarship Fact Sheet

HESC Excelsior Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions


Spring 2018 Excelsior Scholarship Application  

The Excelsior scholarship application for the spring 2018 semester is available here.
The Spring 2018 application is open to the following students:
·         Students who missed the deadline for the Fall 2017 application
·         Students first entering college in the Spring 2018 semester
·         Students who “caught up” on credits during the Fall 2017 semester to meet the credit requirements for program eligibility
Example: A student enters their 2nd year with 27 credits, 3 credits short of the required 30 credits per year. If the student completes 18 credits during the Fall 2017 semester, they would be considered to have “caught up” on the required credits and could reapply for the program for the Spring 2018 semester.
Do not delay! The application deadline is December 4th, 2017.
Current Excelsior Scholarship recipients do not need to reapply for the Spring 2018 semester.

However, students transferring for the Spring 2018 semester will need to notify Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) of their plans so the school code can be updated. The HESC school code for New Paltz is 0925.


Important Note: As pre-registration for the Spring 2018 semester approaches, current and potential Excelsior Scholarship recipients should plan their course schedules carefully to ensure they are meeting the academic requirements of the program. To maintain academic eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship, students must enroll full time each semester, complete 30 degree applicable credits each year and remain on track to graduate in four consecutive years if enrolled in a four year program. Detailed program information and complete eligibility requirements can be found at hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.
Questions regarding the program can be directed to Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) at 888-697-4372 or the Financial Aid Office at 845-257-3250. 



SUNY New Paltz recognizes that the Excelsior Scholarship Program is a valuable tool to assist New York State residents with the cost of college tuition. We will keep this web page updated as new information regarding the Excelsior Program becomes available. Below are some guidelines that have been made available regarding this program:

  • Students must apply for the program before the deadline to be considered for the 2017-18 academic year. Applications are expected to be available at hesc.ny.gov in late-May with a due date in July. We encourage our students to sign-up on the HESC website to be notified when the applications are available.
  • An Excelsior Scholarship recipient can receive up to $5,500 from the Excelsior Scholarship with the remainder of your tuition charge covered through a SUNY tuition credit. The scholarship is calculated as a “last dollar” award which means a student must complete the FAFSA and TAP application before an award can be determined based on the cost of TUITION (not including fees, room, board, and other expenses) minus other grants and scholarships such as the Pell and TAP grant. Click here for instructions regarding completing the FAFSA and TAP application.
  • Basic eligibility requirements for the 2017-18 academic year include:
    • Applicants must be a NYS resident, and you must have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the 2017-18 academic year.
    • The federal household adjusted gross income (2015) can total up to $100,000.
    • SUNY recipients must be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree, with the first eligible semester to receive the scholarship of Fall 2017
    • Students must be scheduled to graduate on time. This means they must finish the four-year degree in four years or less, they must successfully complete 30 academic credits per year (fall, winter, spring, summer); 12 credits must be successfully completed per semester.
  • A recipient of the Excelsior Scholarship must reside and work (if employed) in NYS for the same number of years as the scholarship was received. If not, the scholarship will become a loan with a 0% interest rate.


Additional Information for Upperclassmen:

  • Current students at SUNY New Paltz must be on track to complete their degree requirements in four years.
  • Must earn a passing grade to maintain the scholarship and earn a total of 30 credits over the course of a year. Note: You may have other awards with academic standards that differ from the Excelsior Scholarship’s academic requirements.
  • Transfer students must be on track to complete their degree requirements on time based on the number of credits accepted by SUNY New Paltz.
  • Recipients of an associate’s degree can receive the Excelsior Scholarship provided SUNY New Paltz accepted all of the credits you earned in completing your associate’s degree and you meet all other requirements.


Common Questions:


Q:           When will I be notified if I will receive an Excelsior Scholarship for 2017-18?

A:            It is anticipated that guidance from HESC will not be available for several months, therefore, award letters in May from SUNY New Paltz will not include estimated scholarships. When Excelsior Scholarship rosters are received (possibly in August), the academic eligibility will be reviewed and eligible students will receive a revised financial aid package.


Q:           If I receive this scholarship, is it possible to lose it?

A:            Yes, if you don’t continue to meet all of the requirements such as completing 30 credits.


Q:           Is there an age limit to the Excelsior Scholarship Program?

A:            No, you can enroll at any age.


Q:           Can undocumented students receive this scholarship?

A:            No, you must be a citizen, permanent resident, or refugee to be eligible.


Q:           Are their exceptions for individuals with disabilities?

A:            Similar to the TAP grant, students with disabilities will not be required to register full- time to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.


Q:           Can I receive this scholarship to pursue a second degree?

A:            No, this scholarship is not available to students pursuing a second associate’s or bachelor’s degree.


Q:           Once I graduate, can I lose the Excelsior Scholarship?

A:            Yes, you must live and work (if employed) in NYS for the number of years equal to the number of years awards were received. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the conversion of your award to a loan with a 0% interest rate.


Q:           Is there an appeal process if I do not qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship due to academic and/or financial special circumstances?

A:            No, at this point there is no appeal process for this scholarship.