Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Attend College in New York Tuition-Free: The Excelsior Scholarship US' First Accessible College Program

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Attend College in New York Tuition-Free: The Excelsior Scholarship US' First Accessible College Program

Article excerpt

The bottom ribbon on the state seal of New York has a single word on it: Excelsior. The term means "ever upward" or "still higher" and has recently taken on new significance for The Empire State with the creation of the Excelsior Scholarship.

Dubbed the nation's first accessible college program, the Excelsior Scholarship gives residents of New York State (NYS) an opportunity to attend college tuition-free.

According to the official website for New York State, "Under this groundbreaking program, more than 940,000 middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year will qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY [The City University of New York] and SUNY [The State University of New York] two- and four-year colleges in New York State."

"It should be a wake-up call to this nation to say if you really want to be competitive globally, we have to have the best educated workforce, and that means we have to have college for every child, man or woman who wants to attend," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at LaGuardia Community College in Queens when he unveiled his plans for the scholarship last January. The New York State legislature passed the program on April 9, and it officially began in the fall of 2017.

In order to be eligible, all applicants must, according to New York State's official website, meet the following requirements:

* be a resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term;

* be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;

* have either graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma, or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test, as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;

* have a combined federal adjusted gross income of $110,000 or less;

* be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University;

* be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program;

* if attended college prior to the 2018-19 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program prior to applying for an Excelsior Scholarship;

* be in a non-default status on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award;

* be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by a NYS award that you have previously received; and

* execute a Contract agreeing to reside in NYS for the length of time the award was received, and, if employed during such time, be employed in NYS. …

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