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Financial Aid

New York State Excelsior Program

As a student who is preparing to enroll in college for Fall 2017, we are sure you have questions about the new New York State Excelsior Scholarship Program. We are hoping the information provided on this page will help to answer some of those questions.


What is the Excelsior Scholarship?

It is a new state program that offers New York State residents conditional and unguaranteed free tuition at a SUNY or CUNY school, effective Fall 2017. The program does not cover fees, room or board which means those expenses must still be paid in full by the student. In addition, the free tuition program comes with a number of requirements in order for students to qualify.

These requirements include:

  • Have an annual family income less than $100,000*
  • Complete 30 credits per academic year
  • Must graduate within four years
  • Must live and work in New York State after graduation for at least as many years they receive the scholarship
  • Students who do not maintain the residency requirement will have to repay their scholarships

Perhaps the biggest unknown for students and families is the likelihood of receiving the scholarship. The amount of funding available for the Excelsior Scholarship is very limited. Based on information released by the state, 97% of eligible students will not receive the scholarship. If demand for the awards outpaces available funding, the state will decide (potentially through a lottery) who gets the award. Preference will be given to upperclassmen already enrolled at SUNY and CUNY. With over 900,000 families ultimately eligible for free tuition, and only $87 million set aside in the budget for the Excelsior Program, most families will be turned away.

*income maximum for 2017-2018 academic year


What you need to know about Pace University:

Ranked #2 in the U.S. for providing economic mobility, Pace prepares students for their professions through the Pace Path - our unique combination of strong academics, dedicated mentors and advisers, career-building internships and a customized four-year plan. The value of our purposeful approach can be seen in our placement and salary rates. PayScale.com ranks Pace in the top 9% based on future salary potential.

Pace's robust and diversified employer network includes 650 employers in the tri-state area that hire Pace students. This network provides valuable support to students as they apply for internships and field placements, with more than 5,000 facilitated each year. As a result, 95% of Pace undergraduates that work with our Career Services are employed in professional positions after graduation. The value is life-long. More than 3,000 Pace alumni are in C-suite and executive level positions.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Who is eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship?
Students who are New York State residents and U.S. citizens who demonstrate family incomes less than $125,000 are considered for the award. The income requirement will be phased-in over 3 years.

  • In year one, Fall 2017, eligibility will extend to families with incomes up to $100,000
  • In year two, Fall 2018, eligibility will extend to families with incomes up to $110,000
  • In year three, Fall 2019, eligibility will extend to families with incomes up to $125,000

Additionally, in order to continue to be eligible for this scholarship students must:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA
  • Complete a minimum of 30 credits per year (full-time status)
  • Graduate within four years
  • Commit to residing and working in New York State after graduation for as long as they received the award.
  • If a student fails to uphold the residency agreement, the award must be repaid in its entirety, essentially converting to a loan.

If the above requirements are not met at any point, the student may lose all eligibility for the award.

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Is the Excelsior Scholarship guaranteed to all who meet the requirements?
Unfortunately it is not guaranteed. Currently there is only $87 million dollars of funding behind this program. If more students are eligible than total funding supports, the state will turn to a lottery-based system to determine who receives the award and currently enrolled students will receive priority consideration over new freshmen or transfer students.

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Does the Excelsior Scholarship cover all costs for students attending a SUNY or CUNY?
No it does not. This scholarship is meant to cover tuition costs only. Fees, room and board and all other expenses such as books and travel will be the student's responsibility to pay.

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Will this scholarship affect a student's eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)?
No it will not. TAP will remain separate. The application process will remain the same and award amounts will not change. For the 2017-2018 academic year, TAP awards will range from $500-$5,165 annually depending on several factors including family income.

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With the Excelsior Scholarship assisting students who decide to attend a SUNY or CUNY, are there any additional grants for students who decide to attend private institutions in New York State?
Pace University participates in the Enhanced Tuition Award (ETA), which was created for eligible students to use at private institutions within New York State.

The maximum Enhanced Tuition Award is $6,000. This amount is made up of a combination of your TAP award, your ETA and the private institutions match obligation. For example; if your TAP award totals $4,500 and your ETA is $750 combined with your schools match of $750 you will be receiving the maximum award allowed of $6,000 for the ETA.

For additional information please visit our New York State Enhanced Tuition Award (ETA) page.

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Why should a student choose Pace University if offered the Excelsior Scholarship at a SUNY or CUNY?
Pace University remains the right choice for college students who are seeking a strong return on their investment. We want you to know that Pace will maintain its commitment to providing opportunity to our students. We will continue to offer rich scholarships and need based aid in an environment where students know their professors. Our small class size and low student-to-teacher ratio, combined with personalized career preparation ensures a strong return on investment for parents and students.

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