The Excelsior Scholarship & Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) New York State Aid

The Excelsior Scholarship & Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) New York State Aid

New York is the first state in the country to provide access to all public colleges and universities tuition-free. For questions not answered below, please contact Student Records & Financial Services or set up an appointment with HESC. HESC appointments are available between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Excelsior Scholarship questions can also be emailed to excelsior@hesc.ny.gov. Please email TAP forms requested by HESC to Tapforms@hesc.ny.gov (i.e., affirmation and consent forms, residency questionnaires, requests for information).

To request reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities please email Reasonableaccommodation@hesc.ny.gov.

School Codes
3005 Associate degrees (2 year) & undeclared major
6005 Bachelor's degrees (4 year) & BArch (5 year)

General eligibility requirements1:

  • Complete a FAFSA (only required for legal U.S. citizens/eligible non-citizens).
  • Be considered a NYS resident (see residency requirements below).
  • Meet income guidelines for award you are seeking (below).
  • Be a matriculated student registered for at least twelve major applicable credits per semester.
    • Review Degree Works to see if your credits apply to your major.

1Each award has additional eligibility requirements.

Residency requirements:

  • Current resident of NYS, and
  • Have been a resident of NYS for at least 12 months immediately preceding the first term for which the award is being sought, or
  • Have been a resident for the last two semesters of high school, or
  • Have been a resident of NYS at the time of entry into the armed forces, Peace Corps, or AmeriCorps Vista and re-establish NYS residency within six months of release from active duty.
  • Applicants who qualify for the awards under the NYS Dream Act must meet one of the eligible citizenship/immigration classifications as well as the high school or tuition charge requirements.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York State. Because TAP is a grant, it does not have to be paid back.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

Students must:

  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress or Pursuit of Program requirements
  • Have not exceeded the maximum number of payments, and
    • Associate degree (2 year) - up to six semesters
    • Bachelor's degree (4 year) - up to 8 semesters
    • BArch and EOP students (not including ASOP) - up to 10 semesters
      • EOP is an extended program with course work paced to enhance student success. Students must be NYS residents and meet established academic and economic guidelines. Priority is given to applicants from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. EOP students receive a grant (amount determined based on state funding) for each semester of eligibility. Funds are applied directly to the student bill.
  • Meet below income guidelines.
  • Student Status Type NYS Taxable Income Limit
    Dependent undergraduate students or independent students who are married and have tax dependents, or independent students who are unmarried and have tax dependents, or students who qualified as an orphan, foster child, or ward of the court at any time since the age of 13 $80,000
    Independent undergraduate students who are married and have no other tax dependents $40,000
    Single independent undergraduate students with no tax dependents $10,000
How do I apply?

First time users must register with HESC.

If you already completed a FAFSA for the current/upcoming academic year, or are not eligible to complete a FAFSA, please visit NYS Student Aid Payment Application and select Start my application.

If you have not completed a FAFSA for the current/upcoming academic year, and you are a U.S. Citizen/eligible non-citizen, please follow directions for Applying for Federal and State Aid. You can link to the TAP application in the FAFSA.

Students must apply every academic year.

How long does it take to process the application?

It may take three to five weeks after you submit all required documentation. During certain times of the academic year, processing times for requests for information and change forms may vary depending on additional review needed for income verification or residency review. Your award should be considered an estimate until we have certified your eligibility.

Why is my award $0 or unpaid?

Common reasons are:

  • You did not complete an application.
  • You are not registered for twelve major applicable credits.
  • You entered the incorrect school code.
  • You did not report your Alfred State ID (800/801) on the application.
  • If you are dependent, you may have forgotten to include your parent(s) information.
  • HESC determined you do not meet the income guidelines after completing its income verification process.
  • HESC may have requested additional information.
  • Changes made to your application are processing.

Please login to your HESC account to check for missing information or update the school code. Or, you can set up an appointment with HESC or contact Student Records & Financial Services.

Part-Time TAP

Eligibility for this NYS grant is limited to undergraduate students attending a SUNY, CUNY or not-for-profit independent degree granting college who were first-time freshmen in the 2006-2007 academic year or after. In addition, students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours but less than 12 per semester. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is also required. To apply students must complete both the FAFSA and the NYS Aid Payment Application.

Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS)

Student Records & Financial Services will notify students via Alfred State email when the application is available. The APTS program provides grant assistance for eligible part-time students enrolled in approved undergraduate studies. To qualify for APTS, students must:

Students must submit signed prior-prior year New York State Income Tax returns for student/parent (if applicable) with their application. Applications will be reviewed after all signed documentation is submitted. Submission of an application does not guarantee an award. It is awarded on a first come; first-served basis. Eligible students will be notified of an award through https://my.AlfredState.edu/finances. Ineligible students will receive notification via Alfred State email indicating the reason for ineligibility.

Excelsior Scholarship

The Excelsior Scholarship provides tuition awards to eligible New York residents attending SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities. This scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend college tuition-free (does not include room and board or mandatory fees). It is a last-dollar scholarship. Your scholarship will be $0 if your Federal Pell Grant, TAP award, and outside scholarships (if specified for tuition expenses) combined are greater than or equal to tuition.

Additional eligibility requirements.

Students must:

  • Have a household adjusted gross income of $125,000 or less (as filed with IRS).
  • Have no break in enrollment.
  • Earn 30 credits per year * (i.e., if first award is received in spring semester the student must complete 30 credits before the following spring semester begins).
  • Be in good standing on student loans made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award.
  • Follow the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by any NYS award that you have previously received.
  • Execute a Contract agreeing to reside in NYS for the length of time the award was received, and, if employed during such time, be employed in NYS.
  • *ADA students must earn the number of credits attempted each semester.

ASOP/EOP students must complete 24 credits per year. Any student in their final year of study only need to complete 24 credits whether all courses count toward their degree or not.

ASDC/remedial courses do not count towards Excelsior unless they fulfill a general education requirement. Unearned credits must be made up during summer and/or winter.

Students that earn college credit in high school can use the credits as banked credits if the credits count towards the major. If the student falls short credits, we can apply the credits to bring them to the required credits per year. Banked credits can only be applied once.

Students originally denied Excelsior due to being short credits can make up credits and apply later. For example, a student with 27 credits from 20-21 who is denied Excelsior beginning 21-22 can potentially be eligible in 22-23 if they complete 33 credits in 21-22. This only applies to first-time Excelsior applicants that are not on track at the time of the initial Excelsior application.

You will lose eligibility if you fail to meet the above requirements. Eligibility cannot be re-gained; however, if you have extenuating circumstances, please file an appeal with HESC.

How and when do I apply?

Please complete the application on HESC's website. Eligible students only need to apply once. Alfred State reviews eligibility for subsequent years.

HESC announces when the application open for each semester. Please click on the above link and enter your email address and/or mobile phone number to subscribe to Excelsior Scholarship application updates. Student Records & Financial Services will send notification once HESC announces the application is open.

It may take three to five weeks after you submit all required documentation. During certain times of the academic year, processing times for requests for information and change forms may vary depending on additional review needed for income verification or residency review. Your award should be considered an estimate until we have certified your eligibility.

Estimating your scholarship amount
Grants and Scholarships Offered Amount per Semester
NYS TAP $325
Federal Pell Grant $300
Alfred State Scholarship $1,000
Total Grants and Scholarships $1,625
Reduced Expected Tuition Charge for Eligible Recipients $3,535
(Tuition - Total of Grants and Scholarships) Excelsior Scholarship Amount $1,910
Will my eligibility be affected if I transfer/change majors?

Yes, if you cannot transfer enough credits to the new major/school. You must make up credits if you do not have enough transfer credits to remain on track to graduate. If you are transferring to a different school, please contact that school to inquire about your eligibility.

For example, if you transfer 27 credits to a different major/school you must complete 33 credits before the following academic year ends. This only applies to transfers that completed one full year before transferring. If you transfer majors/schools mid-year, you must be on track at the time of transfer.

You can perform What-if? scenarios in Degree Works.

Why is my award $0 or unpaid?

Your scholarship will not pay to your account until the Certifying Officer for State Aid verifies you met the credit requirements at the end of the academic year/365 days. Other common reasons are:

  • You did not complete an application.
  • You are not registered for twelve major applicable credits.
  • You entered the incorrect school code.
  • You did not report your Alfred State ID (800/801) on the application.
  • If you are dependent, you may have forgotten to include your parent(s) information.
  • HESC determined you do not meet the income guidelines after completing its income verification process.
  • HESC may have requested additional information.
  • Changes made to your application are processing.
  • You did not complete a TAP application (required for continuing students).

Please login to your HESC account to check for missing information or update the school code. Or, you can set up an appointment with HESC or contact Student Records & Financial Services.

Post-graduation residency requirements.

The post-award residency requirement begins when you are no longer receiving an award. You have up to six months after your last award payment before you must live in NYS to fulfill the residency requirement.

If you are working during those years, you must work in New York State. If you are pursuing a graduate or post-graduate degree at a NYS college, your residency requirement will begin while you are enrolled in graduate school. If you lost eligibility for the award and are continuing with your undergraduate studies at a NYS college, your residency requirement would begin while you are still in school.

Your post-award residency obligation is deferred while you continue your education outside of New York State. You have six months to return to NYS to begin fulfilling your residency requirement after you complete your degree or leave the school for any reason.

If you do not fulfill the residency requirement your scholarship will turn into a 10-year, 0% interest loan that must be repaid to HESC. Unpaid loans will be referred to the NYS Office of Attorney General. The award is prorated when calculating your loan amount. For example, if you received the scholarship for four years and resided in NYS for three years, you must repay one-fourth of the scholarship.