Study: Excelsior scholarship not as accessible as expected

Posted: Updated:
VALHALLA -

The Excelsior scholarship was created to make college affordable for all New Yorkers, but a new study says it's not as accessible as expected.

Only 1 percent of students at Westchester Community College received the Excelsior Award, the new scholarship program created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The goal of the new program was to provide free tuition to a large number of low- and middle-income New Yorkers, but data from a study released by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit group, shows that very few of the students who could benefit from free tuition qualify.

Only 3 percent of undergraduates statewide received the award, and the writer of the report says that's because of the fine print.

Students need to maintain 30 credits every year, and this requirement is screening out the majority of applicants.

A spokesperson for the governor says that requirement forces on-time graduation, but that they will accommodate students who can't meet the credits requirement. The bottom line, according to Cuomo's office, is that New York is expanding college access and making it affordable for students who would otherwise be denied the opportunity.

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