Applications for Excelsior Scholarship starting to roll in

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of students are already applying for the Excelsior Scholarship.

“It would mean a lot to me,” said Mariel Buchtman.

Buchtman is online, applying for the scholarship just hours after the application became available.

“My family is trying really hard for me not to leave college in debt and this would be a big help,” said the rising sophomore who grew up in a single parent home. “Money is pretty tight.”

She says receiving it would be relieve the financial burden she is facing.

“Since I am pursuing the profession of a teacher, you don’t make that much so it would be a really big help not to worry about that.”

A number of students are like Buchtman – hopeful to receive the scholarship and curious about how it works.

The scholarship is awarded based on financial need- a student’s family cannot exceed $100,000 income. Almost a million families across the state qualify and more than 75% of Western New York families meet the requirements.

“It is always wonderful, as a financial aid administrator, to have another financial aid funding source; an opportunity to help students,” said Connie Cooke, the Director of Financial Aid at Buffalo State College.

Cooke says they’ve been fielding calls and emails about the scholarship since early Wednesday morning.

“We’re able to help students fund their education through this,” said Cooke. “The excelsior scholarship is the last dollar in. That means I have to look at the record, other scholarships and grants they’re receiving and then what’s the uncovered amount and we would determine what they’ll receive.”

Buchtman isn’t really sure how much she will receive but she is hopeful she will get assistance so she can stay at the school.

“I worked very hard to get here,” said the rising sophomore. “If I can’t support myself here, I would probably have to leave to go to a community college instead so I’m very hopeful I’ll receive it.”

The application is online through July 21st. Cooke says that state will review all applications as they come in then upon being deemed eligible, each school will determine how much is awarded to every student (capped at $5,500 per year) and will update that student’s financial aid package as soon as possible. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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