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New York scholarships, student loans and grants

Students attending a SUNY college could get up to 100% of their tuition covered.

About 60% of students in New York graduate with an average debt load of $31,000. However, there are ways to reduce that amount through one of the many scholarships and grants available to residents of the Empire State.

Top 3 New York college scholarships

New York State offers a long list of scholarships to residents through the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

1. Excelsior Scholarship

AmountsUp to 100% of the cost of tuition at a SUNY or CUNY college
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship, you need to meet general criteria:

  • Residency for at least 12 months before applying
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Degree from a SUNY or CUNY college
  • Enrollment in at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • At least 30 credit hours each year
  • Residency and employment in New York throughout school
  • Combined federal adjusted gross income of $110,000 or less
  • No defaults on state or federal student loans
  • Compliance with conditions of other New York State awards
  • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

The Excelsior Scholarship covers up to 100% of the cost of tuition for New York residents to attend a SUNY or CUNY college — including community colleges. To qualify, you’ll need to sign a contract agreeing to live in New York during the length of your scholarship. And if you decide to work while in school, your job will also need to be in New York State.


2. New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence

AmountsUp to $1,500 per year — for up to five years.
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence, you need to meet the general criteria:

  • New York resident
  • Graduate of a New York high school
  • Full-time undergraduate student in good academic standing
  • Attend an eligible postsecondary institution in New York State
  • No defaults on any state or federal student loans
  • US citizen or qualifying noncitizen

The New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence is available to full-time students attending an eligible postsecondary institution in New York. Awards are determined by your grades on high school Regents exams.


3. New York State STEM Incentive Program

AmountsUp to 100% of the cost of tuition of SUNY — though you can put these funds toward any public or private New York State school.
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the New York State STEM Incentive Program, you need to meet general criteria:

  • Residency for at least 12 months before the Fall semester
  • In the top 10% of your high school graduating class
  • Full time student at a public or private college in New York State
  • Pursue a degree in a STEM program
  • 2.5 GPA or higher
  • Residency in New York throughout school
  • Employment in a STEM field at least five years after graduation
  • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

The STEM Incentive Program is designed to help students cover the cost of pursing a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. You need to be in the top 10% of your high school graduating class to qualify. And once you graduate, you’re required to live in New York and work in a STEM field in the state for at least five years.


Other New York scholarships

There are other scholarships available to New York residents attending specific New York State schools or pursuing degrees in particular fields. These include:

  • Enhanced Tuition Award. Students attending a private college may qualify for up to $6,000 per year to help pay for their degree.
  • New York State Part-time Scholarship (PTS) Award. Students enrolled at a SUNY or CUNY community college may qualify for up to $1,500 per semester for up to two years.
  • New York State Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program. Work at a New York State-licensed child welfare agency? You may qualify for an award to help you pay for an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree to further your work in the child welfare field.
  • New York State Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS). High school honor students may be eligible for a merit award of $500 for four years of undergraduate study — depending on your test scores, GPA and other criteria.
  • New York State Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship. Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers as math or science teachers could be eligible for an award that covers the full cost of tuition at SUNY — though you can put these funds toward any public or private New York State school.
  • New York State Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship. Interested in getting your master’s degree in education? You may qualify to have 100% of your tuition costs covered at a SUNY or CUNY college or university.
  • Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship. New York State-registered professional nurses interested in becoming nursing faculty or adjunct clinical faculty may qualify for up to $20,000 per year to cover the cost of a graduate degree.

Check the HESC website for even more scholarship opportunities, including several memorial scholarships available to the children and spouses of civil servants and service members killed in the line of duty.

Top 3 New York grants for school

New York State doesn’t offer many grants, but what it does have can help make tuition more affordable for low-income students.

1. New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

AmountsBetween $500 and $5,165 per year — depending on your school and degree
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Tuition Assistance Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Residency for at least 12 months before applying
  • Full-time enrollment at an approved postsecondary institution in New York State
  • Cost of tuition at least $200 annually
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Income eligibility requirements
  • Comply with service conditions set by a New York State scholarship award
  • No defaults on any state or federal student loans
  • US citizen or permanent resident
Income limits
To qualify for TAP, you need to meet one of the following income limits:
Type of studentIncome limit
Dependent or independent undergraduate student

  • Married
  • Have dependents

Independent undergraduate student

  • Not married
  • Have dependents
$80,000
Independent undergraduate student

  • Married
  • No dependents
$40,000
Independent undergraduate student

  • Not married
  • No dependents
$10,000

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to make education for New York students more affordable. Unlike many New York State-funded scholarships, it doesn’t have any residency or work requirements to meet during school or after graduation.

2. Part-time TAP

Amounts

How much you qualify for depends on how many credits you take and whether your school is based on semesters or trimesters.

  • Semester-based schools: Up to 91.67% of the full TAP award
  • Trimester-based schools: Up to 87.5% of the full TAP award
Eligibility requirementsIn addition to meeting the general TAP eligibility requirements, you also need to have earned a minimum of 24 credits before applying.

The Part-Time TAP award gives students who can only attend school part time a chance to have part of their college costs covered through the Tuition Assistance Program. Depending on the credits you take, you’ll receive a percentage of the full-time TAP award.

3. Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS)

AmountsUp to $2,000 per year
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for Aid for part-time study, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Residency for at least 12 months before applying
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay at least $100 in tuition annually
  • Exhaust TAP eligibility
  • Enroll as a part-time student in good academic standing
  • Attend an approved program of study at an eligible New York State institution
  • Meet income eligibility requirements
  • comply with conditions set by a New York State scholarship award
  • No defaults on any state or federal student loans
  • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

The Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) grant is meant for students who have already received a TAP grant but still need help with tuition costs. It has different income requirements than the TAP grant, though, so check the HESC website to make sure you qualify before applying.

Do I qualify for New York scholarships and grants if I go to school out of state?

Probably not. All of the scholarships and grants listed above require you to not only be a New York resident, but also attend school in the state. And many ask you to sign a contract agreeing to live and work in New York for a few years after graduation as well.

Read our article on applying to college out of state if you’re planning on attending school outside of New York.

Other ways to pay for school in New York

If you aren’t able to qualify for many of the grants or scholarships listed above, consider these alternate options:

Federal and college scholarships and grants

There are federal grants available to those with significant financial need, and quite a few national scholarship opportunities for academically competitive students. Plus, the specific school you’re attending likely offers its own financial aid awards as well. For instance, NYU has several need- and merit-based scholarships available to undergraduates and graduate students alike.

Federal and private student loans

When you’ve exhausted your other funding opportunities, it’s time to consider student loans. We recommend first filling out the FAFSA to see what federal loans you qualify for — they’re usually the least expensive. If there’s still a gap, consider private student loans. Many have flexible repayment terms and decent rates, though you’ll need to do your research.

Compare private student loan providers

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Stride Funding Income Share Agreement
As low as 2%
None
Up to $25,000
2 to 10 years
A student loan alternative for graduate students based on your future salary.
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
675
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
700
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Explore scholarships, student loans and grants in other states

Choose a loan provider from the list below for more information on its services.

Bottom line

New York can be an expensive place to live, but going to college there doesn’t have to break the bank. With a variety of state-funded scholarship and grant opportunities available to residents, you could get up to 100% of your tuition costs covered if you decide to go to a SUNY or CUNY school.

Need more financing? Read our guide to student loans to explore other ways to pay for college.

Frequently asked questions

Will I have to work in New York after graduation to be eligible for a scholarship?

It depends. Some scholarships have work or residency requirements after graduation. If you’re unsure, check the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation page on your award for more information.

What happens if I’m no longer eligible for a scholarship?

Many New York scholarships give you the chance to regain eligibility. If you can’t meet the requirements after this period — usually a semester — you’ll likely be required to pay back your scholarship.

How can I get in touch with the HESC if I have questions?

Not sure whether you’re eligible for a specific program? You can get in touch with HESC by calling 888-697-4372 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET or emailing customer support through the form on its website.

Does the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offer grants?

No. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York isn’t involved in any federal grant programs. If you’re contacted by someone claiming to represent the bank, take careful note and report this fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its website or by calling 877-382-4357.

Does New York offer special student loans to residents?

No, there are no student loans offered by the state of New York at this time.

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