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New York State Excelsior Scholarship and “free tuition” at public institutions

Many families may have questions regarding this State of New York initiative introduced effective fall 2017 for resident students. (This will be a phased-in approach: eligibility will extend to families with incomes up to $100,000 in Fall 2017, $110,000 in Fall 2018, and $125,000 in Fall 2019.)

There are a number of significant requirements to this program that families and students must meet in order to be eligible. It is important to recognize that an Iona College Scholarship provides much more flexibility in an affordable package. Iona College provides $52.8 million in grants and scholarships per year and meets or exceeds the funds available through the Excelsior program. Iona merit awards are NOT loans, nor subject to the New York State Excelsior restrictions below:
  • The Excelsior Scholarship requires students to complete their degree program within four years. A four-year deadline limits opportunities to change majors, take a smaller course load, work part-time or pursue internships. These options enhance a student’s ability to get their first job or to gain entry to the graduate school or the professional program of their choice.
  • The Excelsior Scholarship requires that a student complete 30 credits per year. This may not be possible if a student is contemplating a change in their major or should a personal or medical issue arise.
  • The Excelsior Scholarship requires that students live and work in New York State after graduation for as many years as they receive the grant. If students do not fulfill this requirement, the grant becomes a loan which must be repaid. Therefore, even if an employment opportunity arose in a state which is close by, such as Connecticut or New Jersey, repayment of the grant would be required.
All families should compare total costs, not just the cost of tuition alone. Room, board and fees are not covered by the Excelsior. These will add charges that need to be calculated.

Iona gives students the benefit of:
  • Flexible course load options that provide the ability to personalize career choices
  • Small class sizes
  • Professional advising
  • Enhanced career services with a robust alumni network
  • No triggers which will turn a scholarship into a loan
  • Record scholarship funding
  • Tailored career advising and support
All of which contribute to 94 percent of Iona students being employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation, according to an annual survey of graduates.