ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – School is back in session in New York, but some college students hoping for financial help haven’t been notified if they were awarded the Excelsior Scholarship or for how much.
More than 75,000 students applied for the Excelsior Scholarship, and 4,000 are attending school at the University at Albany. The promise of free college had sophomore Michael Pickette excited, but he’s still waiting to find out if he’ll get any money from the Excelsior Scholarship.
“It’s a little worrying,” he said. “I’d like to know for sure if I’m going to get it or not.”
He’s not alone. Freshman Nekia Chery said she chose to attend UAlbany because of the scholarship. She still doesn’t know how much money she’ll receive or if she’ll receive any at all.
“You look at the bill and you just have to wait because it takes off some,” she said.
She also has another worry.
“Just scared I’m going to miss the due date when the payment is due,” she said.
Pickette said the school is working with him on payment.
“They pushed back the payment deadline for my bill,” he said.
Sophomore Su Chen is in a different situation all together.
“It was, like, ‘Oh yeah, I don’t have to take out loans,’” he said. “I may graduate college debt free or maybe pay back a little earlier.”
He qualifies for the Excelsior Scholarship but wasn’t awarded any money because he gets too much in federal aid. Even so, he still has to fill a large gap.
“Instead, now I have to come up with $6,000 or $7,000 out of my pocket, which I don’t know how to do,” he said.
A spokesperson from the governor’s office said students should know in the coming weeks how much assistance they will receive. The delay comes from an extension the state gave students to submit additional documents through the end of August.
However, students like Chery and Pickette said they feel left in the dark.
“I got enough financial aid, so it wouldn’t be that bad, but it would be great if I got the scholarship.”
“I’ll just have to figure out another way to get the money, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get it done, but it will be another thing that I don’t need on my plate.”
The state is also counting summer credits toward the scholarship requirements.
A spokesperson said they are working as quickly as possible to finish processing the applications so students know exactly how much they’ll be getting out of the scholarship soon.