We have two incredible institutions of higher education here in Cayuga County. Wells College is a private, four-year college located in Aurora. Cayuga Community College (CCC) is part of the SUNY system, but focuses more on associates degrees, certifications, and non-credit education. I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about New York State’s new Excelsior Scholarship program for SUNY and CUNY students. What you may not know is that, first, this program can be utilized by full-time students at CCC, and second, there are additional tuition programs being launched in tandem with the Excelsior Scholarships that could help students who want to attend private schools in New York State or attend school part-time, as many CCC students do. That being the case, I urge you not to cross CCC and Wells off of your list.

Excelsior Scholarships:  This program offers middle class families the opportunity to attend college at SUNY and CUNY schools tuition-free. While this program only applies to tuition costs and has some restrictions, selected students and families could realize significant savings over the course of a degree program.

Enhanced Tuition Award: The Enhanced Tuition Award program supports students opting to attend private institutions, such as Wells College. This program includes three parts: first, a student receives their NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant, which is already available to students; second, the NYS Enhanced Tuition Award can grant additional tuition assistance up to a total of $3,000 between the two NYS programs; third, Wells College then matches the Enhanced Tuition Award amount. This can all add up to $6,000 in tuition assistance. Scholarships and awards from the College remain in place. Wells College is dedicated to helping students through this process, so have staff available to assist one-on-one with the application and tracking.

Part-time Scholarship Award: Students attending a SUNY or CUNY community college, like CCC, on a part-time basis and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA could be eligible to receive up to $1,500 a semester for up to two years through the Part-Time Scholarship Award Program. This award can be combined with Part-time TAP or Aid for Part-time Study awards.

Funding is limited for all of these programs, so awards are not guaranteed and students must apply. All three of these programs are available to current students, and applications are expected to be opening between mid-May and mid-June. If you go to any of the program pages as linked above, you can sign up to receive alert emails regarding the availability of each program. Both CCC and Wells have fantastic programs that deserve consideration, and could still end up being very affordable choices.