Excelsior Scholarship

Tuition-free college is here New York!

The new Excelsior Scholarship program makes an education at SUNY Oneonta more affordable than ever for New York State families.

To learn more about the Excelsior Scholarship, visit New York Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC)

The Excelsior Scholarship Application for Spring 2019 semester is now closed.

Information about the 2019-2020 Excelsior Scholarship Application will be available this Spring semester.

Excelsior Scholarship at a Glance

The Excelsior Scholarship is an innovative, tuition-free program aimed at making an education more affordable for New York State families. SUNY Oneonta is excited about the promise of this groundbreaking program and we are eager to answer your questions and share what we know:

  • Undergraduate students
  • New York State residents
  • Those students and families whose combined adjusted gross income for the 2016 tax year is $110,000.00 or less

More information on program details and eligibility criteria may be found at SUNY Smart Track

Excelsior Scholarship Award Recipient Obligations

Those students whom HESC has determined are eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship program must meet several criteria to retain their eligibility.

  • Enroll in at least 12 credits per semester applicable to their degree program
  • Complete at least 30 credits each consecutive year applicable to their degree program
  • Continue to meet the New York State Residency regulations

Please review the contract you signed for a complete list of Excelsior Scholarship award recipient obligations.

You may review your NYS Financial Aid information, including the status of your Excelsior application by visiting the HESC Student Access Portal.

Excelsior is available during open application periods here: Excelsior Scholarship Program

Application Tips

Current Excelsior Scholarship recipients do not need to complete new Excelsior Scholarship applications for each term or award year.

To renew your participation in the Excelsior Scholarship program you must:

  • complete your 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using your 2016 tax information; 
  • complete your 2018-19 New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application using your 2016 tax information; and
  • continue to meet the program eligibility requirements as they are outlined on HESC.

An Excelsior Scholarship recipient may receive up to $5,500 from the Excelsior Scholarship, minus any amounts received for TAP, Pell or other scholarships.

  • The remainder of your tuition charge will be covered through a tuition credit paid through SUNY 
  • Eligible award recipients will be issued a revised bill showing their Excelsior program awards
  • Excelsior scholarship awards do not cover other educational costs such as Comprehensive Student Fee, course fees, room, dining, or books.

TAP, Pell and any other grants or scholarships are subtracted from the frozen tuition amount of $6,470.00, the amount remaining is your Excelsior Scholarship award up to a maximum of $5,500.00. Any remaining tuition liability will be covered by a tuition credit paid through SUNY.

Bills for new and returning undergraduate students are available in myOneonta.

  • Excelsior applicants may notice that the scholarship is not reflected on their bill. 

If you have applied for the Excelsior Scholarship, the college is providing you with two options to “clear” your bill, pending determination of your eligibility:

  1. Option 1: Pay the balance in full and be reimbursed any excess payment resulting from an Excelsior Scholarship award.

  2. Option 2: Enroll in the Oneonta Installment Plan and pay the first installment (1/3 of the balance due).  If an Excelsior Scholarship is awarded, the remaining installments will be reduced or canceled, depending on the scholarship amount.

The Student Accounts office can be reached at 607-436-3389 and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your payment options.

Revised Bills

  • Students who are determined Excelsior eligible will receive a notification to login to myOneonta and review a revised financial aid award letter reflecting the addition of their estimated Excelsior Scholarship Award
  • The Excelsior Scholarship award will appear as a credit towards the tuition charge on the revised bill

Important note about Excelsior Scholarship “certification”

At the end of the fall and spring semesters, HESC will require the college to confirm final award eligibility for each student. This includes confirmation of minimum credits earned and certification of other grants and scholarships factored into the estimated Excelsior Scholarship award calculation. 

If a student does not meet the certification requirements, eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship program and associated awards will be rescinded. HESC determines final eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship program.

Students are responsible for all monies owed as a result of a loss of eligibility, regardless of when the loss is determined. 

  • The Excelsior Scholarship program has a post-graduation residency requirement. Students are required to reside in New York State for the same number of years for which they received the award.  Students do not need to be employed during this period; however, they cannot be employed in another state
  • Failure to meet these conditions will result in the conversion of the Excelsior Scholarship to an interest-free loan administered by HESC
  • Some deferments of post-graduation residency requirement such as out-of-state graduate study are allowed as defined in legislation and determined by HESC 

Excelsior Scholarship FAQs


We will continue to update this page as more details become available on this first-in-the-nation program to provide a tuition-free college experience to New York State students with qualifying income. You may also access additional information on the New York State Excelsior Scholarship by visiting SUNY Smart Track

Have a question that we have not addressed? Contact our Financial Aid office:

Inquiry Form