Tuition-Free Degree Program: The Excelsior Scholarship

New York State is now home to the nation's first accessible college program.

TOP Tuition-Free Degree Program: The Excelsior...

Leading the Way to College Affordability

We've made college tuition-free for middle class New Yorkers.

With the passage of the FY 2018 State Budget, New York is now home to the nation's first accessible college program - The Excelsior Scholarship.

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 and SUNY two- and four-year colleges in New York State. The new program begins in the fall of 2017 and will be phased in over three years.

In order to apply, students must:

- Be residents of New York State
- Plan to attend SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year college
- Complete 30 credits per year towards their program of study (including January and Summer sessions)
- Plan to live and work in New York following graduation for the length of time they participate in the scholarship program

Learn more about eligibility and the next application period.


Enhanced Tuition Awards

Learn more about the Enhanced Tuition Awards program and sign up to get notified when you can apply for the award.

First-in-the-Nation Excelsior Scholarship

Enabling Thousands of Students to Realize their Dream of a College Education

Begins in Fall 2017

The first-in-the-nation plan will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019.

Crushing the Burden of Student Loans

Making New York State's public universities tuition-free will alleviate the financial stresses of student loans and put more New Yorkers on a path to financial security.

Promote On-Time Completion

By making college affordable, the Excelsior Scholarship Program will encourage more students to graduate on time and will grow the number of graduates from our public universities.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

"What Governor Cuomo is proposing is a revolutionary idea for higher education. It’s an idea that’s going to reverberate not only throughout the State of New York, but throughout this country.”