Few students use Excelsior Scholarship here

Not many local students are rising to accept a “free tuition” Excelsior Scholarship.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s program, which touted free college tuition at state colleges to those who met its requirements, has not had much of an impact on enrollment at North Country Community College, according to Dean of Admissions Chris Tacea.

He said around 20 NCCC students have used the program, now in its second year.

Tacea supposed the low number was because many who may have needed the scholarship already qualified for state and federal tuition assistance that covered their tuition. The Excelsior grant doesn’t replace other aid; rather it fills the gap left over. He said that the scholarship program was likely to have a greater impact at other state schools, like SUNYs, rather than community colleges.

Shannon Oborne, Paul Smith’s College’s chief marketing officer, said the Excelsior Scholarship didn’t pull many prospective students away from the private school. She said PSC kept in contact with students who considered the college for higher education but chose to go elsewhere, and few chose a state school instead because they’d received an Excelsior award.

She said this was likely because of the strict requirements of the program.

In addition to having a household income below $110,000, students must be enrolled in 30 credits annually and 12 credits each term to receive Excelsior aid. They must also be state residents who agree to live and work in New York after college for the number of years they received the Excelsior aid.

According to a Center for an Urban Future study, 20,086 undergrads received funding from the Excelsior program in the 2017-18 school year, 3.2 percent of the 633,543 of the state undergrad population.

Managing Editor Peter Crowley contributed to this report.

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