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State universities see jump in enrollment from Excelsior Scholarships

Posted 7 February 2018 at 8:24 am

Community colleges only see 2% increase

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that applications at State University of New York four-year schools and City University of New York institutions across the state increased by 10 percent as a result of the Excelsior Scholarship, the first-in-the-nation program providing cost-free tuition at New York’s public colleges and universities.

SUNY institutions saw a nine percent increase in year over year freshman applicants received through SUNY’s Application Services Center and CUNY institutions saw an 11 percent increase in applicants.

“The Excelsior Scholarship opens the door to higher education and a brighter economic future, and this increase in applications is proof positive that students are seizing this unprecedented opportunity,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to help more New Yorkers achieve a high-quality college education, we are helping to build the highly skilled workforce of the future, as well as the next generation of Empire State leaders.”

By December 22, 2017, SUNY received an increase of 9 percent in unique applicants for Fall 2018 through the SUNY Application Services Center, the primary processing center for the university system’s state-operated campuses. SUNY’s 30 community colleges also reported an increase of two percent.

In Fall 2017, 66,770 full-time freshman enrolled at SUNY, among which 61.8 percent, or 41,282 students, took 15 credits or more. This is an increase of nearly 11 percent from the 37,270 full-time freshman who took 15 credits or more in Fall 2016.

Freshman applications at CUNY for Fall 2018 have risen to a record 50,546 in one year – a more than 11 percent increase as of Dec. 24, 2017. This increase follows a previous record nine percent increase in applications in December 2016 from 2015, resulting in the largest-ever CUNY freshman class of 38,372 enrolling in Fall 2017. Additionally, this fall, CUNY saw a 39 percent increase in the number of full-time freshmen taking 15 credits or more in their first semester.

“Since the introduction of the Excelsior Scholarship, more New Yorkers from middle income households have the opportunity for free tuition, making a high-quality college education attainable,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Now, as we enter the second year of this program, we are encouraged to see a significant increase in the number of students applying to SUNY and taking that first step toward making their college dream a reality.”

About The Excelsior Scholarship

In the 2018-19 academic year, New Yorkers with household incomes up to $110,000 are now eligible to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship, reaching $125,000 in 2019-20.

Students must be enrolled in college full-time and complete 30 credits per year, with flexibility to complete courses during summer and winter semesters. The program is designed to work for students, allowing New Yorkers facing hardship to pause and restart the program, and all recipients can take fewer credits one semester than another in completing 30 credits per year.

With the addition of the 23,000 students attending college tuition free under Excelsior; New York has over 53 percent, or 210,000, of our full-time New York students going to college tuition-free.

Students are required to maintain a grade point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework, and, as the program makes a major investment in the state’s greatest asset – our young people – scholars will be required to live and work in-state after graduation for a duration equal to the number of years an Excelsior Scholarship was received.

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