Excelsior Scholarship Is A College Gamechanger For New York Residents (and Coaches)

April 26 – New York State is the first in the nation to make their public colleges tuition-free. The state recently changed the way that the SUNY and CUNY University tuition system is structured, and this will allow residents who have established their address here in New York for the previous 12 months and fall under specific income guidelines to take advantage of a tuition-free education. These changes can and should change the way Coaches at these Universities recruit ballplayers as well.

The Excelsior Scholarship comes with some specific requirements that prospective collegians must meet. Aside from the previous tenure as a New York State resident, the combined household income for the 2017-2018 application year must be under $100,000. For the 2018-2019 year that amount increases to $110,000 and for 2019-2020 it increases again to $125,000. PELL and TAP grants will be deducted from the tuition portion of the Excelsior Scholarship amount.

Prospective students must be enrolled full time, taking a 30 credit per year course-load total, not going below 12 credits per semester. There will also be a minimum GPA requirement. If the program is a declared five year program, the Excelsior Scholarship will honor five years worth of tuition. Transfer students and students with associate degrees (2-yr degree, Junior College) are also eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship but must have taken 30 credits their prior year. Lastly, you will be expected to remain in New York State as a resident a minimum of four years (or a number of years equal to the number of years you received the scholarship) upon the completion of your degree, or all Excelsior Scholarship monies will be converted into loans.

This Scholarship should change the way all CUNY and SUNY coaches recruit players. Any prospective student-athlete who has the appropriate admissions requirements (GPA and SAT), meets residency and financial guidelines and has the athletic ability to compete at the level of the institution now can be viewed as a player who does not count against the allotted number of athletic scholarships that the coach has to distribute. For Division 3 schools, they become a more attractive destination to some athletes who would have gone lower D1 or D2, but would have had to pull the fiscal weight of tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

At the New York Nine, we look to remain at the forefront of the college process without charging our student-athletes thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” or a “percentage of the value of the scholarship the coach secures for the student athlete”. We don’t prey on parent/guardian fear, turning them upside down and shaking their pockets empty. We also have full access to one of the top college counselors around, who happens to be a multiple time NYC guidance counselor of the year recipient and personally has more awards and accolades than he has wall space. For a small organization who prides itself on top level teams, in less than a decade, our student-athletes have been offered millions of dollars in scholarship aid and have either signed or been offered over 50 professional contracts. We pride ourselves on helping New Yorkers use baseball to improve their lives and futures, and the Excelsior Scholarship is a great new avenue that we at the Nine will look at to save our players and families tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.