NYS Excelsior Program and NYS Enhanced Tuition Award Program

What is the Excelsior Program?

New York state recently announced legislation that will cover the remaining tuition costs for state residents at public institutions of higher education after all other sources of aid are exhausted. To be eligible for the program, students must reside in New York state and demonstrate family incomes of no more than $100,000 for fall 2017, $110,000 for fall 2018 and $125,000 for fall 2019.

Is the Excelsior Program guaranteed for all students who meet income requirements?

No. A total of $87 million from the 2017 state budget was appropriated to fund the Excelsior Program. There will likely be an application process in late May, and, if demand exceeds funds, the state will devise a statewide lottery system to decide which students receive funds. 

What costs does the Excelsior Program cover?

The Excelsior Program only covers tuition at a SUNY or CUNY institution. Other costs, such as fees, books, room and board, and living expenses will not be covered.

In order to be – and stay – eligible for the Excelsior Program, students must:

  • Reside in New York state.
  • Demonstrate family incomes of no more than $100,000 for fall 2017, $110,000 for fall 2018 and $125,000 for fall 2019.
  • Be a full-time student and complete 30 credits per academic year.
  • Maintain a certain GPA and complete their programs on time – two years for associate degree programs and four years for bachelor degree programs.
  • Commit to residing and working in New York state after graduation for as many years as they received the award.

If a student is not able to meet these requirements, the grant will revert to a loan which will need to be repaid. If students do not fulfill these requirements – whether it be for family or personal illness, family emergency, change of major or other reasons – they will lose eligibility and be required to pay back the grant funds as if they were a loan. 

If a student receives the award, is it possible to lose it?

Yes.  Students must meet all eligibility requirements listed above – otherwise,  the award will be forfeited.

Does St. Joseph's University participate in the Enhanced Tuition Award program?

St. Joseph's University has decided not to opt in to the Enhanced Tuition Award program at this time. In partnership with its New York State elected officials, the University will monitor the ETA program and evaluate whether or not to participate for the 2019-20 academic year.

Why should students consider St. Joseph's University?

Students should consider factors such as class size, retention rates and graduation rates, along with affordability when selecting a college. St. Joseph's University has a combined campus – including Brooklyn and Long Island – six-year graduation rate of 72% and an 85% first-year retention rate, both of which are well above the national average. A faculty to student ratio of 14:1 means smaller class sizes, where students are able to get individual attention and engage with their professors on a personal level. St. Joseph’s offers competitive financial aid packages, awarding over $25 million in grants and scholarships during the 2015-16 academic year. Our grants and scholarships are more flexible than the Excelsior or Enhanced Tuition Award Program - there are no residency or work requirements attached, and our institutional grants and scholarships will not be converted into a loan.