Excelsior Scholarship Answer Center

Guidance for Financial Aid Professionals

Excelsior Scholarship Answer Center

For Financial Aid Professionals

Access to financial aid makes college affordable for a greater range of students who may otherwise not attend. As SUNY and CUNY’s financial aid professionals, you are most directly responsible for connecting students to New York State financial aid opportunities, helping them manage their aid, and addressing any problems that might arise.

Financial aid professionals are crucial for helping determine Excelsior Scholarship recipients’ eligibility. Throughout the year, you help to determine student’s eligibility by verifying credits, calculating award amounts, and certifying payment eligibility at the end of the term. Below are step by step guides and resources for each of these processes.

For questions on the Excelsior Scholarship process call, 1-866-431-4372 and select option 3 or email [email protected].

Eligibility Requirements

To be an Excelsior Scholarship recipient, an applicant must meet all eligibility requirements including residency, citizenship, secondary education, income, post secondary education, credits earned prior to the scholarship and during, have default and compliance status and meet the post service requirement.

How to Verify Credits

Each college must verify credits for all students who have applied for an Excelsior Scholarship award to determine whether such applicants are on-track to complete an Associate’s degree in two years or a Bachelor’s degree in four years.

Additional Resources


To help outline the process HESC conducted webinars for reference.

How to Calculate Awards

To determine a recipient’s award amount, the 2016-17 resident tuition rate charged by SUNY State-operated campuses ($6,470) or CUNY Senior colleges ($6,330) or actual tuition, whichever is less, is reduced by the amount of certain other student financial aid the recipient has or will receive for the academic year.

How to Certify

At the end of each term the college will certify for each student the tuition rate charged, number of credits completed, cumulative credits earned, other scholarship amounts, number of credits enrolled/earned, Excelsior Scholarship award amount and the final term indicator.

Certification Guidelines Webinar

Learn about the Excelsior Scholarship certification requirements
Learn about the Excelsior Scholarship certification requirements

The Excelsior Scholarship

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.