SUNY Excelsior Scholarship 'may have to be reduced' because of COVID losses |

SUNY Excelsior Scholarship 'may have to be reduced' because of COVID losses

Berkeley Brean
Updated: July 20, 2020 09:32 PM
Created: July 20, 2020 06:15 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) — We have new information tonight on a SUNY scholarship that helps thousands of middle-class families.

News10NBC told you last week the application process for Excelsior Scholarship was still closed despite the first tuition bills due next month. Now, we've learned the situation is more dire. 

"It was a little bit of a gut punch," Stephanie Miller said. 

That's how the latest information on Excelsior Scholarship felt to Miller in Ontario, Wayne County. She and her husband saved for their daughter Sydney to go to SUNY, but their budget banked on the Excelsior Scholarship to cover tuition. 

Here's the change. 

Last week the scholarship website would not allow students to apply for the scholarship. There was a portal to enter your email address to be notified when it opens. 

Monday, the portal was gone and replaced with a warning. 

It reads, "Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced state revenues and the processing of new applications is pending on Federal assistance, which has been delayed since April. Excelsior awards may have to be reduced and or prioritized for current recipients as provided for under the program."

"I don't blame anybody. We're in the middle of a global pandemic. And there's a lot of horrible things going on," Stephanie Miller said. "It's just for our family, this is the thing that we have to face as far as COVID goes."

When I contacted the governor's office about this last week, spokesman Jason Conwall emailed me writing the "state is contending with a devastating revenue loss, amounting to $61 billion over four years." But the email promised the scholarship application "will open soon."

At the state budget hearings in February, the President of New York State Higher Education Services Corporation said 30,000 students will be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship this school year. But that was before the COVID-19 crisis. 

Higher Ed has not replied to my emails. 

"This program was going to be godsend for people in our situation," Miller said. "I guess we're just going to have to go three steps backwards and figure it out."

SUNY tuition is $7,070.

The first semester bill is due in August. SUNY Geneseo told the Millers they're hopeful that will be pushed to September. 

When Excelsior Scholarship started three years ago, the household income cap was $100,000. 

This year it jumped to $125,000 which is why more and more families qualify. 

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