Excelsior Scholarship


Westchester County’s most affordable college just got more affordable. 

Free tuition for eligible students.

Click here for applications which are now available and are due by July 21, 2017.

Watch the introduction to the Excelsior Scholarship

The new Excelsior Scholarship grants free tuition for students from households with income less than $100,000. The maximum household income maximum rises over the next few years. Starting in fall 2018, the maximum household income goes up to $110,000, and in fall 2019, it goes up to $125,000. For now, if you come from a household with income less than $100,000, and you plan to attend college full-time starting this fall, we’ve got you covered!

Westchester Community College has always been known as a quality institution with an affordable tuition. Now, with this new program from the state, students who are eligible may attend for free (the scholarship covers tuition but not college fees or other expenses).

To be eligible, you must:

  • Meet the same residency requirements as other New York State financial aid programs.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA (details forthcoming).
  • Enroll in thirty credits per year (including summer). So, if you take fewer classes in the fall and spring, you can always make up for it during future summers – not the summer of 2017 – to be eligible. One of the great things about the program is its flexibility. You can take a break and come back another semester and still qualify for the scholarship.
  • After graduation, you are required to live in New York State for the same number of years as you received the scholarship while in school. But with all the exciting opportunities for further study and employment, we don’t think you’ll want to leave! If you’re thinking of going out of state for graduate school—that’s okay—just come back when you’ve earned your advanced degree to meet this requirement.

Think about how easy this makes everything:

With the Excelsior Scholarship, you and your family have peace of mind knowing your tuition bills are covered. This scholarship covers the difference between our tuition and what you qualify for from other sources like the Federal Pell Grant and New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). Don’t worry—we’ll help you figure out the details. For now, make sure you apply for admission through the college, submit the FAFSA form, and connect with our Financial Aid Office.

For students who transfer to a four-year college, the deal is even sweeter because SUNY and CUNY schools are all covered by the same Excelsior Scholarship. This means you could earn a bachelor’s degree tuition-free! Many of our students transfer to private colleges, which also offer generous financial aid packages that help students achieve their dreams of bachelor’s degrees.

According to our records, a majority of Westchester Community College students come from households with income levels below $100,000, so they would be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Q & A

If I am interested in the scholarship, what are my first steps?

1. Submit the proper admissions paperwork in order to be accepted by the college. Visit our Admissions Office web pages for information (http://www.sunywcc.edu/admissions/admissions-information/checklist/).

2. At the same time, fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, fafsa.ed.gov/) form. After that is completed, connect with our Financial Aid Office in order to officially apply for aid through the college (www.sunywcc.edu/student-services/finaid/).

3. Sign up for email alerts for Excelsior at https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/the-excelsior-scholarship. The application is now available and is due on July 21, 2017.

If I am a continuing student, am I eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship?
Yes. New and continuing students will be eligible as long as the eligibility requirements are met.

If I already have a degree, may I apply for the Excelsior scholarship?
No, it is for those seeking their first degree.

What about other forms of scholarships and financial aid?
If you receive a need-based federal Pell Grant or a New York Tuition Assistance grant (TAP), you must use those first to pay for tuition. After those forms of aid are applied, the Excelsior Scholarship will cover the remaining cost of tuition.

What about other expenses such as books, etc.?
The Excelsior Scholarship covers tuition only. You would be responsible for college fees and other costs such as books.

What about undocumented students?
Undocumented students are not eligible for Excelsior Scholarships.

How do the income limits work?
It is the same as it is with Pell and TAP awards. Prior year (PPY) adjusted gross income (AGI) will be used. Combined family income reported on the federal income tax return for the calendar year coinciding with the tax year established by the Department of Education to qualify applicants for federal financial aid programs will be used. For this first year of the program, the 2017-18 academic year, you will report the 2015 AGI.  AGI thresholds:

  • 2017-18: $100,000
  • 2018-19: 110,000
  • 2019-20: $125,000

What about credits earned in high school?
Credits earned in high school may count toward the combined annual thirty credits if they are accepted toward the incoming student’s program of study.

Is this a scholarship or a loan?
This is a scholarship. However, the scholarship converts to a loan when a student does not fulfill the post graduation residency requirement. The scholarship does not revert to a loan if the student becomes ineligible and loses the scholarship during their undergraduate work prior to graduation. If the scholarship reverts to a loan, that loan will not incur interest.

Where can I get more information?
If you still have questions, visit https://www.suny.edu/smarttrack/types-of-financial-aid/scholarships/excelsior/. Or email the college at finaid@sunywcc.edu