New report criticizes Excelsior Scholarship Program, College leaders disagree

Local News

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – “Wasteful and poorly designed,” that’s what a new report calls the Excelsior Scholarship, a program meant to give students that chance to attend college for free.

The Albany-Based Empire Center’s report, found that the program favors higher income families and students would benefit more by applying to other sources of financial aid.

The Excelsior Scholarship is meant to eliminate tuition for undergraduate students enrolling in SUNY and CUNY schools.

The scholarship is awarded to students whose families have a gross annual of $125,000 or less.

Students must also attend school full-time and live in New York state for however many years they accepted the scholarship.

Connie Cooke, who works in the financial aid department at Buffalo State, says she disagrees with the Empire Center’s report. Cooke says the program does help students.

“We have a lot of needy students who just don’t have money sitting in a 529 plan or in a bank account to pay their tuition but they have a desire so that’s access with this program we’re able to continue and further access to college students and that’s a great thing.”

The Excelsior Scholarship was established in 2017. Excelsior scholarships have been awarded to 24,000 students throughout that state for the 2018-2019 academic year.

About 1,100 students at Buffalo State have applied for the program for the Fall semester.

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