Cuomo Proposes Free Tuition at New York State Colleges for Eligible Students

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a plan Tuesday morning to offer free tuition at state colleges to hundreds of thousands of middle- and low-income New Yorkers, seizing on a popular liberal talking point on the eve of national Republican ascension.

Under the governor’s plan, any college student who has been accepted to a state or city university in New York — including two-year community colleges — will be eligible provided they or their family earn $125,000 or less annually.

If the plan is approved, the Cuomo administration estimates the program would allow nearly a million New York families with college-age children, or independent adults, to qualify. The estimated costs of the program, when fully put in place in 2019, would be $163 million, though the administration acknowledges that estimate could be too low — or too high — depending on participation

Application will be available on June 7, 2017

i will be one of the first ones to apply, i heard the application will be available on 6/7, but, i also heard late may as well.

we will see…

This is wonderful.

@sybbie719, I read the regulation, but please clarify. Students are required to take 30 credits per year and all of them have to count toward the degree? If they take 12 credits each in the fall and spring, can they take 3 each in the summer and winter? If so, will the tuition for summer and winter be covered or do parents have to pay out-of-pocket?

Yes winter and summer ‘count’ in the 30 credits.

@sybbie719, @MYOS1634

I need some help understanding the rules for upperclassmen to qualify for this grant. My son is a rising junior. His college’s suggested 8-semester plan doesn’t have 30 credits per year (which is required by the Excelsior Scholarship). The first two semesters had 14 each, which he took. The 3rd had 15, which he registered for, but he switched one 3-credit class to pass/fail fue to a personal issue (a close friend contemplating suicide) and missed the minimum grade by 3 points. He took 15 this spring, so he has 28 from the 1st year and 27 from the 2nd (55 total).

If he takes 6 credits this summer, they should count toward the 60 he needs to qualify because he started school in the fall. But do they have to count toward his major? He’s been combining requirements to cut down on the total number of courses he needs (ex. his writing intensive also counted as a history), so if he takes 6 required credits now he may not have enough to qualify later.

If he takes 15 credits per semester, do they all have to count toward what he needs to graduate (major, electives, gen eds)? He’s done with his electives and has 2 gen eds left to take. Most of his remaining courses are 4 credit tech type courses. His plan had been to take 3 of the 4 credit courses to be full-time for TAP and Pell and cross register at a local private college for a 3-credit course, but the 3-credit course won’t fit any requirements.

He’ll have 120 credits when he finishes his major requirements, so he doesn’t need extra courses. If he could take 12 credits in his major each semester plus any other a 3-credit course, he’ll graduate on time. But unless he starts taking two 4-credit comp sci (lab) courses and two 4-credit science (lab) courses per semester, there’s no combination of required courses that are a reasonable load and will count toward his degree. Does that mean we just won’t qualify?

I’ll defer to Sybbie for accuracy. My understanding - and I may be wrong, because the devil is in the details… hence the above - is that the 30 credits per year is so that students can graduate in 4 years, IE., 30*4=120. All credits count as long as they fit within these parameters, so that your son’s plan would work.

FAQs from HESC

As long as your son is on track to graduate in 4 years, he should have no problem. He should definitely see is counselor/adviser regarding recommendations for summer course.

Will they email you if you are qualify for the scholarship? In other words, will they email you if you got the scholarship

If you’ve ever taken a semester off or less than 30 credit a year, you are automatically disqualified. Not everybody has the luxury to just focus on school and certain life events may require you to take a semester off.

not “ever”, real-life events are taken into account (illness, pregnancy…)
But yes you have to take 15 credits per semester since that’s the minimum you need to take if you want to graduate in ’ years.

My son just graduated from high school on 6/25/17, he will be attending New England College this fall will he eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship?

No, excelsior scholarship is only for NEW YORK Schools

a quick question: does the 30 credit per year requirement applies to those with disabilities? how do they calculate that if you took time off due to disability? i have a disability and have taken classes on and off on a part-time basis since 1995, skipping a semester or more during this time…


i talked about this with ny higher education services and they said that emails will go out when they finish processing your application, so make sure your email address is current. sometimes it might show up as spam so look there as well on a regular basis (they seem to be backed up with applications at the present moment but keep checking in any case).

I didn’t send an application. But thanks for the remainder as other future readers will know what to do

ny higher ed services just answered my question i previously posted: the 30 credit per year requirement does not apply to persons with disabilities, rather the award will be prorated depending upon the number of credits you are taking, so for example if i was to go less than full time i could do so but the award would be proportionally reduced. so if i was taking 9 credits and 12 credits is full time i would get approximately 75% of the semester award. i am still unsure what they will do with the people who took time off due to their disability…hopefully they will not count this against me or anybody else who is a disabled student.

we shall see…

btw i did see the regulations posted somewhere…is it legal to post a link to it here?

maybe it’s me, but, i have heard through the grapevine that nontraditional students–namely older students who took a prolonged break from college for any reason several years ago—are not eligible to receive this scholarship. also students have not heard anything as to their status for this semester since they applied late last year, forcing them to use loans or pay out of pocket.

just thought everybody should know before applying…