New York’s Excelsior Scholarship: Does It Help Students with Limited Financial Means Afford College?

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The Institute for Higher Education Policy


Launched in 2017, New York’s Excelsior Scholarship makes the state’s public colleges tuition-free for low- and middle-income state residents who meet several conditions. The program, championed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is billed as a middle-class program that aims to make City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) colleges more accessible while requiring beneficiaries to stay in the state after graduation. But program details matter. This analysis of Excelsior examines the effects of the program’s design and recommends further enhancements that will redirect program resources to help low-income students pay for college.



financial barriers, barriers to entry (postsecondary education), free college, low-income students, education, higher--government policy, New York