Excelsior Scholarship

New SUNY Excelsior Scholarship at OCC

On April 8, 2017, it was announced that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship, a first-of-its-kind in the nation program, will provide tuition-free college at New York’s public colleges and universities to families making up to $125,000 a year!

As part of the SUNY system, Onondaga Community College is part of this new scholarship program.  

To learn more about this exciting new program and how you might be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free:

  • Please review the Frequently Asked Questions
  • Call (315) 498-2000 
  • or Complete the inquiry form
  • or Sign up for an info session to take the next steps to attending OCC
  • Frequently Asked Questions


    How do I apply?

    An application for the scholarship will be coming in June. To be notified when it is available please complete this inquiry form


    What is covered by the Excelsior Scholarship?

    The program would cover tuition for eligible SUNY and CUNY students. Resident undergraduate tuition at SUNY’s four-year colleges is currently $6,470. SUNY community college tuition is currently for $4,366, on average. Tuition at Onondaga Community College for the 2016-17 academic year is $4,570 per year (12 or more credits) and $190 per credit hour for part-time (11 credits or less).

    The Excelsior Scholarship program does not cover the other costs of attending college, which include but are not limited to fees, residence halls, transportation, textbooks, meal plans, and more. See more details on these costs.


    What are the requirements for students?

    The program is phased in over three years, beginning in Fall 2017. It would first apply to families who earn $100,000 or less, then to those who earn $110,000 or less in 2018, and eventually reaching $125,000 or less in 2019.  The income calculation would be based on federal adjusted gross income, as reported on federal income tax forms, for the student and their family.

    Students must be New York State residents, matriculated in a degree or certificate program, enrolled in college full-time and average 30 credits per year (including Summer and January semesters) in order to receive the funding. This requirement on students will encourage on-time degree completion. However, the program has built in flexibility so that students facing documented hardships are able to pause and restart the program, or take fewer credits one semester than another.  

    Finally, students are required to maintain a grade point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework, and students will be required to live and work in-state for the same number of years after graduation as they received the scholarship while in school.


    What are the residency requirements for the Excelsior Scholarship Program?

    Residency requirements are expected to be the same as requirements for other New York State financial aid programs.  


    What other resources are available to students to alleviate the costs of college?

    All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which is used to determine eligibility for federal and New York State (NYS) financial aid programs, including the NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).  Get more information here. Completion of the FAFSA each year is required in order to be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship Program and all state and federal financial aid programs.


    Will current SUNY students be eligible next year?

    Current students at Onondaga Community College and all SUNY institutions who have completed 30 credit hours for the 2016-17 academic year, including summer 2017, are eligible.


    Is it possible for students to lose their Excelsior Scholarship?

    Yes. Students must be New York State residents, matriculated in a degree or certificate program, enrolled in college full-time and average 30 credits per year (including Summer and January semesters) in order to receive the funding. This requirement on students will encourage on-time degree completion. However, the program has built in flexibility so that students facing documented hardships are able to pause and restart the program, or take fewer credits one semester than another.


    Will any exceptions be made for part-time students or those with disabilities?

    Yes. As with the TAP grants, students with disabilities will not be required to register full-time to be eligible for the scholarship. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources at Onondaga Community College upon enrollment.