Excelsior Scholarship Program


This program is the first of its kind in the country. It will enable many New York State residents to attend a CUNY college tuition-free and establish a national model broadening access to higher education.

The Excelsior Scholarship will be applied to each qualifying student’s financial aid package after all other aid, including TAP, Pell, City Council Scholarship, college scholarships and other grants or scholarships are applied.

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant must:

  • 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 $125,000 or less;

  • be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges;

  • 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 through continuous study with no break in enrollment except for certain reasons that can be documented;

  • if attended college prior to the 2019-20 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 any 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.

Contact info New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (NYSHESC):
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), NYS Grants and Scholarships

  • 1-888-NYSHESC (1-888-697-4372) toll free or 1-518-473-1574 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. If you have an account number, please have it ready.

Excelsior Scholarship/Enhanced Tuition Award

  • 1-888-NYSHESC (1-888-697-4372) Select option 4, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or excelsior@hesc.ny.gov. Please include student name, date of birth, and the last four digits of his or her social security number.

For more information, please visit the Hostos Community College Office of Financial Aid webpage at www.hostos.cuny.edu/ofa and click on the Excelsior Scholarship FAQ link.