Applications for New York's Excelsior Scholarship Program will be available starting next month, and officials at Monroe Community College say students and parents have a lot of questions.
Melissa Jarkowski, interim director of MCC's financial operations, said people want to know about eligibility requirements and other details of the program that offers free tuition to many middle class students.
"What we're telling them is that they first need to apply for a federal Pell Grant and a state TAP Grant. The difference will be covered if they don't get a full Pell or a full TAP, with the Excelsior Scholarship."
MCC has scheduled a special information session on Thursday, April 20 from 6p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center on the Brighton campus. It's free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.
Financial aid representatives and admissions counselors will be on hand to explain the details of the scholarship program and answer questions.
Jarkowski said even financial aid experts themselves still have questions about eligibility and student requirements.
"Students will need to make progress toward their program, so if someone withdraws from a class or has a extenuating circumstance as sometimes happens during the semester with some students, how will that be accommodated?"
The scholarship program will be phased in over three years, beginning for New York residents making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019.
The state’s Higher Education Services Corporation has set up a web page to answer questions about the program. Students can sign up to receive an email alert when applications for the scholarships are available at www.hesc.ny.gov.