The Impact of the Excelsior Scholarship


Manhattanville College, along with many other private universities and colleges, are beginning to respond to the impact that might face them with the possibility of the Excelsior Scholarship.

The scholarship’s goal is to provide access to higher education to more young adults in the country. If approved, Governor Cuomo’s “Excelsior Scholarship” will provide free tuition to state (SUNY) or city (CUNY) institutions in New York to families earning up to $125,000. If the proposal passes on April 1st, the program will be instated in the fall of 2017 beginning with families earning up to $100,000, and then increasing to $110, 000 in 2018, and finally to the goal of $125,000 in 2019.

According to the Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York (CICU), revenue for “not-for-pro t colleges and universities would fall by 7- 15%,” which “equates to a revenue hit of $1.4 billion.”

“A plan such as this would go against the mission and values of Manhattanville. We are proud to serve students from diverse backgrounds while providing personalized attention and opportunities for access, development and career advancement for our students,” said Nikhil Kumar, Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment Management at Manhattanville College.

The scholarship was praised by groups in both parties when announced on Jan.3, 2017. Despite its initial popularity, the proposal has faced scrutiny from party members and leaders of private institutions. On March 13, Senate Democrats offered an alternate to Cuomo’s proposal that increases the number of students that could be assisted by covering the additional room & board charges. An email sent on the behalf of President Geisler regarding the proposed action was sent to alumni and parents on March 9th, asking them to reach out to elected officials to express concerns.

“Institutions like Manhattanville College pride themselves on the personal attention afforded to students…whether you are an alumna/us of the College, or a current or former parent, you know well how important that can be,” the email stated.

The piece of legislation has also been criticized for hidden costs and less coverage. A payment plan, through increased taxation is still underworks. Additionally, the plan does not cover housing costs at the SUNY and CUNY schools. Per a legislative analysis presented in the New York Times, it was “suggested that as few as 32,000 students could bene t from the state scholarship, a fraction of the hundreds of thousands that the governor’s office initially said it could impact.”