Scholarship for Academic Excellence

The following program provides financial assistance on the basis of academic achievement. Recipients are selected by the New York State Education Department and the Awards are paid through HESC.

This academically competitive program provides scholarship assistance to outstanding New York State high school graduates. Each year 8,000 scholarships are awarded. Up to 2,000 scholarships of $1,500 are awarded to the top scholars in the state, and 6,000 scholarships of $500 each are awarded to other outstanding graduates. The New York State Education Department selects recipients.

Eligibility Criteria

To receive the scholarship, the student must:

  • meet one of the United States citizenship requirements;
  • meet New York State residency requirements;
  • enroll as a full-time student;
  • enroll in an approved undergraduate program of study in a New York State postsecondary institution;
  • have a matriculated status;
  • be in good academic standing; and have at least a cumulative "C" average after two annual payments;
  • not be in default on any guaranteed student loan HESC administers.
  • First-time award recipients as of the 1996-97 academic year must have graduated from high school, have a GED or other equivalent of a high school certificate, or have received a passing grade on an approved ability-to-benefit test.


The scholarship must be used within seven years commencing with the first academic year for which the scholarship was awarded. During this period, students are entitled to payment for up to four years of full-time study or five years if enrolled in a bachelor degree program approved as a program normally requiring five years of study. However, students enrolled in two-year programs cannot receive more than three years of payment.

Military service personnel and national welfare servants in, for example, the Peace Corps may receive an extension of up to three years of the seven-year period when the scholarship must be used. Extension requests must be made in writing. An approval does not increase or in any way alter the number, amount, or methods of payment made under the scholarship.

Award Calculation

Each year up to 2,000 scholarships of $1,500 are awarded to the top graduating scholar for each high school in New York State. Additionally 6,000 scholarships of $500 per year are awarded to other outstanding high school graduates. Scholarships are awarded to New York State high school graduates in ratio of a high school's number of graduating students in the previous school year to the total number of New York State graduates in the previous school year.

Application Procedure

The State Education Department will notify HESC and those students who have been selected to receive the scholarship. To receive scholarship payment, the student must also apply to HESC by May 1 of the academic year for which assistance is being sought.


The scholarship will be revoked if the student begins study at an out-of-state institution. A student who is ineligible for scholarship payment during the first academic year of eligibility because of being enrolled in an out-of-state institution loses all future eligibility for the award. HESC cannot reinstate the scholarship even if the student later enrolls in a program of study at a New York State institution.

For additional information and applications, you may contact HESC’s Grants and Scholarships Unit at the address and telephone number listed below.

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
· Albany, New York 12255 · (888) NYS-HESC