NYS Exposed: Enrollment for free-tuition plan starts next week

June 01, 2017 11:49 PM

The time to apply to get free tuition at SUNY schools starts next week. The application window for the Excelsior Scholarship opens next Wednesday. The state has clarified one rule which should allow more students to be eligible.

There are a ton of rules to get this scholarship which gets you tuition free. 

Here's a new one. 

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The state says if you get scholarships for things other than tuition -- that will not count against you.

Andrew Burch is a freshman at MCC. He wants to get into advertising.

Andrew Burch, MCC freshman: How would it help someone like me? Well obviously reducing the burden of attending college.

Stacey Boose is a single mom taking extra courses at MCC so she can go back to school and get a better nursing job. She already has tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Stacey Boose, MCC student: It's like a back pack on top of their back, added to the back pack with the books in it.

So a break on tuition is what she needs.

The official term is the Excelsior Scholarship. 

Here's how it works. 

SUNY tuition at a four year college: $6,470.
If a student gets $2,000 in state tuition-assistance, known as TAP and another $2,000 in federal grants, the Excelsior Scholarship would cover the remaining $2,470.

Susan Romano, Dir. of Financial Aid SUNY Geneseo: I've been in the financial aid business for over 20 years now.

Susan Romano is the director of financial aid at SUNY Geneseo. She just reviewed the state's new guidelines for the scholarship.

Brean: What you read, do you think it's fair?
Susan Romano, Dir. of Financial Aid SUNY Geneseo: I do. I think they tried to be as flexible as they could with the regulations.

For instance, scholarships that don't cover tuition won't count against you.

Brean: So you're talking about scholarships for residency or books or anything other than tuition.
Romano: Exactly.

There are a ton of rules to get the Excelsior Scholarship.
Here are the top three.
Your household income must be under $100,000. You have to take 30 credits a year and stay on track to graduate on time.

Brean: If you're a student coming into SUNY wanting this scholarship, what's the bottom line?
Susan Romano, Dir. of Financial Aid SUNY Geneseo: The bottom line is we want you to apply.

The state will decide whether you qualify.

Stacey Boose, MCC student: Being a recipient of that scholarship would mean a lot.

The application window for the Excelsior Scholarship opens next Wednesday, June 7. The window closes on July 21st. You apply online. You can actually get started tonight.

Click on this link and sign up for an email alert telling you exactly when you can apply.

The governor says the scholarship will cost the state $163 million. The household income eligibility cap is $100,000 this year. It goes up to $125,000 in 2019.


Berkeley Brean

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