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210,000 New Yorkers attend school tuition-free thanks to Excelsior Scholarship

Staff Writer |
New York State and the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Fund made an agreement to provide $10 million to assist Buffalo students with the cost of attending college.

The agreement combines the efforts of Say Yes Buffalo and New York's Excelsior Scholarship program by covering books, fees and other non-tuition expenses for Say Yes Buffalo scholars with the most need.

In return, Say Yes will continue to provide tuition scholarships for all Buffalo students to attend state institutions, given they meet eligibility requirements.

The $10 million commitment from New York State to Say Yes Buffalo is part of Buffalo Billion II in an effort to continue to strengthen and better prepare the regional workforce.

Announced in January 2017, Buffalo Billion Phase II is intended to build upon the success of Phase I by extending the region's economic transformation to the neighborhood level.

Say Yes Buffalo is an education-based, economic revitalization initiative that will continue to offer unprecedented educational opportunity for an entire generation of Buffalo Public School students.

Established in 2012, Say Yes incentivizes graduation from the Buffalo Public Schools with a commitment to provide graduates with the tuition they need to attend a partner college or university to earn a degree or certificate.

Say Yes also provides student support services that are critical to educational success.

With volunteer mentors, local donors and internship providers, Say Yes is a landmark collaborative model.

It is based on a successful national initiative that has helped to boost graduation rates and post-secondary attainment rates in cities across the nation.

Governor Cuomo recently announced that SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $110,000 annually can now apply for tuition-free college.

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other aid programs, allows eligible full-time students to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college tuition-free.

To be eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship, students must be New York State residents, plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year college, take 30 credits per year (including Summer and Winter sessions), and be on track to graduate on time with an Associate's Degree in two years or a Bachelor's Degree in four years.

For the 2018-19 academic year, household federal adjusted gross income can total up to $110,000 to be eligible. In 2019-20 and beyond, New York State families can earn up to $125,000.

Recipients must also plan to live in New York State for the length of time they received the award.

Approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students, and more than 210,000 New York residents, now attend school tuition-free thanks to the addition of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship.

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