Newswise — Ithaca College is already considered a “best buy” among colleges and universities, and a newly announced tuition award for New York State residents will help make an Ithaca education an even more affordable investment for prospective students and their families.

The Ithaca College New York State Tuition Award will provide up to $6,000 per year to incoming students from New York who would qualify for the state’s Excelsior Scholarship program, which can only be used at a state school. Though the state also offers an Enhanced Tuition Assistance (ETA) program for students attending private colleges and universities, both of those programs come with some catches.

“We created the Ithaca College New York State Tuition Award to provide funding comparable to the Excelsior Scholarship and the ETA, but without any of the strings that are attached to those programs,” said Gerard Turbide, vice president for enrollment management. “We applaud the governor’s efforts to make college more affordable, but chose not to participate in the ETA because we believe that may not be the best option for some students and their families. The Ithaca College New York State Tuition Award is fully funded by Ithaca College, renewable for up to four years of full-time enrollment, and will never become a loan.”

Both the Excelsior Scholarship and ETA require recipients to graduate in four years and remain in New York State after they graduate for the same number of years that they received funding. Failure to meet any of those requirements will result in their scholarship being turned into a loan that must be repaid to the state.

“We know that each student’s higher education is a journey,” said Turbide. “We are proud that Ithaca College alumni live and work across the country and around the world, and we encourage our graduates to pursue their goals no matter where they take them.”

Students who are permanent residents of New York State who apply and are admitted to the college and whose family’s adjusted gross income is $125,000 or less will receive Ithaca College’s New York State Tuition Award as part of their financial aid package. And unlike either of the state’s programs, students who are eligible for the New York Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) will not have that amount deducted from their Ithaca College award, which means IC students with lower family incomes will truly benefit.

“While a student’s net cost of attendance — the cost after financial aid is applied — will often be different at IC compared to that of attending a public institution, we believe in the value of an Ithaca education,” said Turbide. “This program reflects our commitment to help make an IC education continue to be an attainable investment for students from New York State.”

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From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for personal and professional success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 460 graduate students and offers over 100 degree programs in its schools of Business, Communications, Humanities and Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Performance, and Music.