Time is running out if you want to attend a SUNY or CUNY school for free this upcoming year.
The deadline to apply for the tuition-free scholarship is today.
The application period is open from June 7-July 24th. You can still apply online by midnight Friday.
In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the Excelsior Scholarship program and in April, lawmakers passed it as part of the state budget.
David Bloomfield, Professor of Education at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center says there's been an uptick in applications, but not everyone is eligible.
"Any student who has not applied should just apply and worry about the strings attached later but there are many strings attached," said Professor Bloomfield.
Some of those eligibility requirements:
- You must be a resident of New York State for 12 continuous months and a U.S. citizen.
- You must have a total household income less than $100,000. You will need to submit copies of the most recent New York State income tax return filed by you and your parents.
- You must complete 30 credits per year.
- You must live and work in New York after graduation for the same number of years you received the scholarship. If you leave the state, you will have to pay back the money in the form of a no-interest loan. If you attend graduate school out-of-state, you will be allowed to defer the requirement. Exceptions may be made for students who relocate due to applicable hardships.
The yearly savings are:
$6,470 if you attend a four-year school
$4,350 at a community college
However, students are still responsible for fees and other expenses.
"We talk about pulling kids up by the bootstraps, these are booties, it really is not going to take care of all the expenses as far as textbooks for example, but it will be helpful to a number of students and that's good," said Professor Bloomfield.
SUNY and CUNY applications are up likely due to word of free tuition. As of this week, over 70,000 students have applied for the savings.
More information on how you can apply for free tuition to a SUNY or CUNY school, go to this website