New York Scholarships and Grants for College

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The coronavirus outbreak continues to alter the entire landscape of student loan repayment and refinance. Because New York scholarship and grant money is often given via nonprofit organizations, some former scholarships may not be available or may be on hiatus due to the pandemic. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.

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If you live in New York state, there are many ways to get help to pay for college. In fact, you may qualify for nearly free college tuition (for two-year community colleges and four-year public colleges and universities in the state) via the Excelsior Scholarship Program. However, the tuition break is contingent on income (the income cap for 2020 and beyond is set at $125,000).

But if you don’t qualify for this scholarship, don’t worry. There are numerous New York scholarships and grants available — you just have to look for them.

15 essential New York-centric grants and scholarships for college

If you call the Empire State home, we’ve compiled a list of 15 scholarships and grants for New Yorkers. Some of these are based on academic merit, while others are available to anyone who meets certain criteria.

Most of these 15 scholarships and grants are specifically for New York or tristate area residents, although some are open to anyone — check the relevant scholarship page for more details.

1. Excelsior Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program
3. Tuition Assistance Program
4. Aid for Part-Time Study
5. NYS Memorial Scholarship
6. New York Women in Communication Scholarships
7. Charles E. and Mabel E. Conklin Scholarship
8. Ascend Educational Fund
9. New York Water Environment Association Scholarships
10. PMI New York City Chapter Scholarship
11. New York Farm Bureau AG Youth Scholarship
12. Candice’s Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship
13. The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
14. Horatio Alger New York Scholarship Program
15. The Student Loan Hero Scholarship

Plus: Finding the right fit for your financial needs

1. Excelsior Scholarship Program

New York’s Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) offers three grant programs for lower-income families, including the Excelsior Scholarship Program, which allows recipients to attend a State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) school without paying for tuition. The scholarship winners receive up to $5,500 per year for up to two years (for an associate’s degree) or four to five years (for a bachelor’s degree). Your award amount is the difference between your cost of attendance and your other financial aid awards.

To be eligible for these funds, you’ll need to have a household federal adjusted gross income of $125,000 or less and enroll in at least 30 credits per year. Those credits must be for courses that count toward your degree. Applications for the Excelsior Scholarship are typically due in late August.

2. Educational Opportunity Program

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is administered by eligible campuses in the SUNY system. The EOP awards funds for non-tuition expenses, such as books, and it’s geared toward students who need special academic assistance to perform in college. These students could receive benefits including personal counseling and on-campus tutoring.

Similar to other grants from the state, the EOP is available to you if your family meets the income requirements. In addition, your individual school may have its own admission requirements, which would need to be confirmed through the school.

You can apply through the school as you’re researching your college options during your senior year of high school. Applications are processed depending on the admission date — for example, it will generally be due in early August for a fall admission or early January for the spring.

3. Tuition Assistance Program

HESC offers a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for part- and full-time students. Through TAP, you could receive up to $5,165 to attend an approved school in the state (both public and private schools are eligible). Your award amount would depend primarily on your level of financial need.

To qualify, your family must earn an income of $80,000 or less. You can apply for this program by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — make sure you keep track of the annual FAFSA deadlines (typically at the end of June) so you can file on time.

4. Aid for Part-Time Study

New York’s Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) program awards up to $2,000 per year to part-time students. Funds are awarded by your school’s financial aid administrators, and you can ask your school for an APTS application. Bear in mind there are income eligibility requirements for both dependent and independent students, and students must be enrolled for less than 12 hours of classes per semester (8 on a trimester schedule).

5. NYS Memorial Scholarship

If you are the child, spouse or financial dependent of a deceased emergency medical worker, firefighter, police or peace officer who died in the line of duty in service to the state of New York, you may qualify for a NYS Memorial Scholarship if you’re attending an in-state college or university.

There are other specific criteria for the award — U.S. citizenship (or non-citizen eligibility) and academic good standing are two examples, though you would not need to be a New York state resident. If you ultimately qualify, you could receive up to $24,880 (as of the 2019-2020 academic year) as a full-time, on-campus student, or up to $15,890 if you are a commuter student. Applications are due in early summer, and can be filled out online.

6. New York Women in Communication Scholarships

If you’re thinking of pursuing a degree in journalism or marketing, this scholarship offers the nonprofit, New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) offers approximately 15 to 20 scholarships each year. The funds range anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 and go to female undergraduates and postgraduates seeking work in communications fields such as journalism, broadcasting, publishing and public relations.

To be eligible, you must have at least a 3.2 GPA and reside in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Connecticut, or be enrolled in communications study at a New York state institution if you do not reside in any of those states. Applications are due in late January.

7. Charles E. and Mabel E. Conklin Scholarship

If you’re a resident of Dutchess County in New York’s Hudson Valley, you could receive two years tuition-free at Dutchess Community College via the Charles E. and Mabel E. Conklin Scholarship for Academic Excellence. Academic eligibility is strict — you must be in the top 10% of your graduating class to apply, and you must keep a 2.5 grade point average while at Dutchess Community College.

To apply, you must complete the scholarship application along with your application to Dutchess Community College. You’ll need to fill out and submit a FAFSA application and take a college placement test, as well.

8. Ascend Educational Fund

The Ascend program provides up to three generous scholarships a year covering up to $20,000 in tuition and fees for students living in New York City. Applicants must either have two parents born outside the U.S. or be an immigrant themselves and attend high school in any of the city’s five boroughs.

The money is to be used for study at an accredited private or public college or university in the United States. Interested students must take the ACT or SAT in order to meet the scholarship’s criteria and provide two written essays and letters of recommendation. Applications are due in the late winter and qualified finalists are notified of their status in the spring.

9. New York Water Environment Association Scholarships

The New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) offers as many as 14 scholarships worth up to $50,000 in awards to students who are looking to earn a degree in environmental sciences or other environment-related studies. In particular, the association offers New York state resident high school seniors the Nicholas J. Bartilucci Environmental Scholarship ($6,000) and the Environmental Career Scholarship (a four-year scholarship totaling $12,000) if they pursue their studies within the state.

If you’re interested in environmental studies, visit the NYWEA’s website to learn about eligibility requirements for these scholarships and other available awards.

10. PMI New York City Chapter Scholarship

The PMI New York City Chapter of the national nonprofit, the Project Manager Institute supports one academic scholarship of up to $2,500 is awarded to applicants who are applying for or enrolled in an accredited academic degree program in project management or a field that hires and benefits from project managers, including business administration, hotel management and information technology.

The award is renewable and the deadline for applications is usually May 1. For more information, interested applicants can visit the PMI New York City Chapter’s website.

11. New York Farm Bureau AG Youth Scholarship

New York state isn’t just the Big Apple — it’s also got a rural side to it, and farming is an important New York industry. Because of this, the New York Farm Bureau offers three scholarships of up to $1,500 to high school seniors with a proven track record of being involved with agriculture, via 4-H for example, and that plan on continuing their studies in the agricultural industry.

As required, you must hold a family or student Farm Bureau membership, and submit an application, essay and documentation of your work in the agriculture and community engagement to be reviewed by a panel of judges. The deadline for applications is on March 1.

12. Candice’s Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship

Candice’s Sickle Cell Fund, Inc. raises awareness among the public concerning sickle cell disease. The organization gives three annual scholarships in the amount of $1,500 to high school seniors in New York, along with students in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Applicants must submit a personal essay of 250 words that explains how the disease has impacted their lives, and include information about their educational goals and how they plan to reach them, as well as describing a person who has helped them towards their goals.

Other requirements include committing to at least five hours of volunteer work on one of Candice’s Sickle Cell Fund activities during their winning year. Deadline for submitting an application is in April.

13. The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship of $20,000 (disbursed over four years) is annually disbursed to one incoming freshman from New York, who is the child of a firefighter or law enforcement officer killed or permanently disbled in the line of duty. The award focuses on applicants who can show academic achievement, economic need and a strong commitment to community service. According to the website, preference will be given to applicants planning to major in engineering. The submission deadline for this scholarship is May 31, and funds will be disbursed in the fall.

14. Horatio Alger New York Scholarship Program

This $10,000 award from the Horatio Alger Association (which offers a scholarship award for New York students, as well as those in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia as well) is specifically designed to help students who have overcome huge challenges in their lives. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who are able to show proof of financial need, have a grade-point average of 2.0 or above and provide a personal essay, school transcript and a letter of recommendation.

In addition, students must show proof of community service and co-curricular activities, and plan to attend college no later than the fall after graduation. Deadline for application is in late October.

15. The Student Loan Hero Scholarship

While this isn’t just for New Yorkers, Student Loan Hero offers two $5,000 and four $2,000 scholarships to students seeking assistance to pay for educational expenses. Applicants must submit a 500 to 700 word essay answering the following question: “What financial challenges have you overcome growing up? How have they shaped your goals and career aspirations?” The awards are presented for summer/fall (deadline is in the spring), and spring (deadline is in the fall).

Finding the right fit for your financial needs

Before you decide to take out a student loan, consider that the HESC offers nearly 20 other scholarships and awards (some mentioned above) for many types of applicants.

New York grants and scholarships could go a long way toward covering part or all of your college expenses. Tracking down the right scholarships and grant money can take time, but once you figure out what you want to apply for, stay on top of your application deadlines.

And it’s important to remember that the roster of available scholarships may change from year-to-year depending on funding, decisions by the sponsors, and other reasons, so don’t be too disappointed if some of the awards in this post are no longer active.

If you’ve exhausted your state grant options, consider our ultimate guide to grants for college. You could find money for college via the federal government and your school, among other sources.

Maya Dollarhide contributed to this report.

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