APTOPIX Free Tuition

In this Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, photo, Brooklyn College student leaders Truth Opaleye, left, and Florencia Salinas walk across campus for class, in New York. Salinas, who despite having her tuition nearly covered in full through scholarships and grants, still expects to graduate with a daunting $50,000 in debt. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Bebeto Matthews

The application period is open for those interested in receiving the Excelsior Scholarship, an aid program established by New York that helps state residents attend public colleges and universities, for the spring 2018 semester. 

Students whose family incomes are no more than $100,000 are eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship in the spring. The income ceiling will increase to $110,000 in 2018-19 and $125,000 in the 2019-20 school year. 

There are other eligibility requirements. Students must have a full-time workload, complete 30 credit hours in an academic year and maintain an adequate grade point average. 

The program also requires students who receive the aid to live and work in New York after graduation. For example, if you receive the Excelsior Scholarship during four years of undergraduate studies, you must remain in New York for four years after graduation or the aid will become a loan you will be required to pay back. 

There are nearly 22,000 students who have already been awarded the Excelsior Scholarship. The state determined approximately 45,000 students were eligible for the program. 

The remaining students — more than 23,000 — received enough aid from federal Pell grants, the state Tuition Assistance Program and other sources to cover the costs of tuition. 

"New York's Excelsior Scholarship has succeeded in opening doors to opportunity for students and families across the state and this week, we reopen the application process for these individuals to get a quality education tuition-free," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. 

The deadline for applications is Dec. 4. To apply, visit hesc.ny.gov/excelsior

Students already receiving the Excelsior Scholarship don't need to apply for spring aid. 

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