Students have until Dec. 4 to apply for the spring semester

HOPEWELL — Excelsior Scholarship applications for students planning to attend a State University of New York or City University of New York college free this coming spring are being accepted through Dec. 4.

The application window opened Monday.

To assist students and their parents in understanding the process and filling out forms, Finger Lakes Community College is hosting a series of financial aid workshops over the next few months. The college encourages students to explore their financing options early and to take advantage of the new workshops.

“We offered special sessions to help people understand the new Excelsior Scholarship earlier this year and found a real need in the community for more general assistance,” said Dawn Langdon, FLCC director of financial aid. “We will start a series of sessions in November and continue through February."

An FLCC representative will open each session with a brief discussion and then, using college computers, lead participants through completion of the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the New York State Aid Payment Application.

FAFSA workshop participants should get a federal student aid ID at least two days before their session by visiting fafsa.gov and clicking on the “FSA ID” button in the menu at the top of the homepage.

For more information, call 585-785-1276 or email to aid@flcc.edu.

"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 says in a release. "I encourage income-eligible students in every corner of this state to take advantage of this chance to go to one of New York's top-notch SUNY and CUNY institutions this spring."

The Excelsior Scholarship is being phased in over three years. For the 2017-18 academic year, New Yorkers with household incomes up to $100,000 are eligible, increasing to $110,000 in 2018-19, and reaching $125,000 in 2019-20.

Recipients will join the more than 210,000 students attending a public college or university tuition-free, and 45,000 deemed eligible in the fall.

Students who did not receive the Excelsior Scholarship this fall and who meet all eligibility requirements can apply at www.hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.

Students must be enrolled in college full-time and complete 30 credits per year (including summer and January semesters) to receive the funding. However, the program has built in flexibility so that any student facing hardship is able to pause and restart the program, and all recipients can take fewer credits one semester than another in completing 30 credits per year.

Students are required to maintain a grade-point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework, and scholars will be required to live and work in the state after graduation for a period of time equal to the number of years an Excelsior Scholarship was received.

"The opening of a spring application will enable many more students and families to benefit from this groundbreaking, first-in-nation program,” said Guillermo Linares, acting president of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, which administers the program. “The cost of college prevents many families with limited financial means from reaching their higher education goals. Tuition-free college removes that barrier for families in every corner of our state."

Approximately 45,000 students were determined eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship this fall and are attending SUNY or CUNY tuition-free this year, including more than 23,000 who have their tuition covered through TAP, Pell and other financial aid, and nearly 22,000 who have their remaining tuition costs covered by the scholarship.  Students who learned of their eligibility for TAP and Pell through the Excelsior Scholarship application process may have otherwise been unaware of their ability to qualify for cost-free tuition.

In total, approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students — more than 210,000 New York residents — are going to school tuition-free thanks to the addition of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship.

 

Upcoming workshops

Evening workshops run from 6 to 8 p.m. as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 7: Geneva Campus Center, 63 Pulteney St., Geneva

Wednesday, Nov. 15: Newark Campus Center, 1100 Technology Drive, off Route 88, south of the village of Newark

Monday, Dec. 4: Victor Campus Center, 200 Victor Heights Parkway, off Route 251, west of the village of Victor

Tuesday, Dec. 12: FLCC main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, off Lakeshore Drive, Hopewell

Entry is free, but registration, on a first-come, first-served basis, is required online at calendar.flcc.edu