Mixed reviews after the first year of the Excelsior Scholarship

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There are mixed reviews in the first year of the Excelsior Scholarship.

94,000 people applied for the Excelsior Scholarship, but only half ended up being eligible. Out of the 46,000 that were eligible, half of those were already covered by TAP and Pell grants and couldn’t get the scholarship.

This is leaving some Assembly members to wonder.

“Did we do so much when it came to letting people know that the program existed but not enough in letting people know what the criteria was and raised false hopes,” Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) said.

“I don’t think we did,” Dan Fuller, of the governor’s office, said.

Fuller from the Governor’s office says the program was marketed appropriately.

“It was free tuition like we always said but you also have to get in and get out of college.”

Assembly members also took a look at how the Excelsior Scholarship is affecting private schools.

Many are concerned how it will affect their enrollment numbers.

There is an Enhanced Tuition Award program for private schools but only about a third of them chose to join. It carries many of the same restrictions and benefits as the Excelsior Scholarship.

“Private college enrollment has been declining since 2011 by 4.2 percent and as I said before so has SUNY. So the fact that this was passed in April and all of a sudden there was this exodus of people from private colleges. I don’t buy it.”

The Assembly is planning improvements for next year, including extended application deadlines and more user-friendly. Members will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the budget deficit.

“Having a year going through the process will definitely help forecast for future years,” Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (D-Suffolk County) said.

Next year, the governor’s office projects that the Excelsior Scholarship will cover around 27,000 to 28,000 students.

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