What is Excelsior College?


Many students and adults with some prior college credits are keen to figure out if Excelsior college is the route to their college degree completion.

Excelsior college is an accredited, degree completion college located in Albany, New York. Excelsior evaluates adult student’s prior learning such as CLEP or DSST exams, previous college courses, and even work experience for college credits. Additionally, the college offers its own online college courses and UExcel exams for college credits.

Excelsior college is unlike the regular brick-and-mortar college campus setting. Instead the focus at Excelsior college is to enable anyone to learn in any of the multitude of ways and gather up all their learning into a Excelsior bachelors or associate degree.

How Does Excelsior College Work?

The process at Excelsior college begins immediately upon submitting your college application. As long as you have your high school diploma and have earned a few previous college credits, getting admission at Excelsior is a simple and straight-forward process.

After the initial evaluation of your college application, you will be sent a transcript listing all the previous courses or learning that are acceptable as equivalent to the college’s degree requirements.

There is no residency requirement for studying at Excelsior college and you can be located anywhere in the United States or just about most parts of the world.

Upon initial enrollment and after paying your annual enrollment fee, you will be assigned a dedicated student advisor or college counselor. The college counselor will then assist you in figuring out your degree plan and answers your questions about how to go about completing the degree.

To make the degree more affordable, it is important for you to take more of the external exams such as CLEP/DSST, and online courses from Study.com/ Sophia and so on. This is because Excelsior’s own online college courses tend to be more expensive and its far more affordable to earn credits with external sources instead.

Then as you complete more of the courses and exams, simply have the original transcripts forwarded to the college for evaluation. As part of the annual enrollment fee, multiple course evaluation and transfer credits can be awarded during the duration of the student’s enrollment in the degree program.

Is Excelsior College A Real School?

Yes, Excelsior is definitely a real college. In 1998, Excelsior moved from being a public college as part of USNY (University of the State of New York) to becoming a private college. At this time, the college underwent a name change from Regents college to Excelsior college.

Initially, the college was focused mainly on evaluating external learning. But sometime around 2005 or so, the college started to offer a lot of its own online course offerings.

Excelsior is the largest of all the degree completion colleges and annually enrolls over 16,000 students. The college also has a very large and diverse alumni network with professionals in various industries and senior occupations.

What Is The Key Benefit Of Excelsior College?

At Excelsior college, it is a deeply-held belief that knowledge is important and worthy of college credit no matter where or how the learning was acquired. Though Excelsior college is intended for adult learners, anyone with a few college credits can complete their affordable college degree with Excelsior, including traditional 18+ yrs college students.

Excelsior is the largest among the colleges that are transfer-friendly, and which provide many low cost ways for students to earn college credits.

Also, students can attend Excelsior college from any part of the United States and from many other countries. This is especially so because there is no residency requirement and students can combine the following to complete their college degree with Excelsior:

  • Online courses that are ACE or NCCRS accredited such as from Study.com, Sophia.org or StraighterLine. Study.com charges a flat fee of $199 per month for unlimited courses, whereas Sophia charges $79 per month
  • Exams such as AP tests, CLEP, DSST, UExcel and TECEP
  • Classroom college courses right where you live
  • Industry certifications from CompTIA, Google, Microsoft and so on
  • Foreign courses that are recognized by the government of that country at the undergraduate college level. Foreign courses will be evaluated by a foreign credential evaluator for equivalent US college credits
  • In some cases, work experience that is closely related to the college courses may also be evaluated via a portfolio/ prior-learning assessment

Is Excelsior College Expensive?

Excelsior college’s online courses are as expensive as most other colleges but where the college stands out is with its degree completion program structure. By awarding credit for learning the student has acquired by a variety of means, the overall cost of the college degree is kept extremely low.

In fact, it is quite common for Excelsior college students to complete their entire 4 year bachelors degree for anywhere between $5,000 to about $10,000.

All students are invited to complete the FAFSA application for federal financial aid and numerous Excelsior scholarships. This further can reduce the cost of an already inexpensive college education.

Excelsior College History

Excelsior college was founded in the year 1971 and was originally known as Regents External Degree Program (REX). The college was initially developed through funding from Ford foundation and Carnegie foundation. The college was a public college as part of the USNY (University of the State of New York) initially.

In 1998, the college became a private college after getting the approval of the board of Regents. Excelsior college is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

There is a very large Excelsior alumni community and there are also many notable figures in government and private organizations, celebrities, authors, senior military personnel and more.

Excelsior College Degrees

Excelsior college offers associate degrees, bachelors degrees and masters degrees in a variety of fields such as Liberal Arts, Business, Public Service, Healthcare, Nursing and Technology.

Each of these degree areas have many majors and options to choose from. There is almost some degree or certificate for anyone looking for an education here.

There are a variety of scholarships offered by Excelsior and active military personnel and veterans are offered discounted pricing for tuition and other fees.

What are some other colleges like Excelsior?

Other smaller colleges that offer a similar unlimited credits transfer policy, and many low cost ways to earn external college credits include:

  • Charter Oak State College (CT)
  • Thomas Edison State College (NJ)
  • Granite State College (NH)
  • Empire State College (NY)
  • Southern New Hampshire University (NH)

Excelsior for International Students

As a prior student/ alumni of Excelsior, I know for a fact that international students are given all the support in completing their degree programs at Excelsior. All foreign transcripts or score reports are submitted to a foreign credential evaluator such as ECE which then recommends US credit equivalents to meet Excelsior’s degree requirements.

English language proficiency with a TOEFL score is also required for international admissions. The annual enrollment fees and course fees are the same for in-state students, out-of-state students and international students.

What Colleges Accept Credits From Excelsior College?

Excelsior is a private, regionally accredited college and therefore any online courses you complete at the college can be transferred to other accredited US colleges. Each college is likely to have their own credits transfer policies and credits transfer is generally accepted when there is a close match in course curriculum between the prior course and the similar course at the accepting college.

What States Do Not Recognize Excelsior RN?

Though Excelsior is a regionally accredited school, some states such as California, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland do not accept Excelsior’s Nursing program graduates. So this is something to keep in mind about the Nursing degree programs.

Also, requirements frequently change and it is best to check the licensing requirements for each state with that state’s board of nurses.

How Long Does A Bachelor’s Degree Take At Excelsior?

This can vary from student to student. Some students come in with many previous college credits and some others have substantial work experience which can qualify for college credits.

Still other students have very few previous credits, but are able to take online courses and CLEP/DSST exams at a faster pace to graduate sooner.

So it all depends on prior learning, transfer credits, the student’s lifestyle and motivation to succeed with college while balancing work and family.

Some students can complete an Excelsior college degree in about 2 years, some in 4 years or more.

Does Excelsior Have An Annual Fee?

For the first year, students pay an enrollment fee of about $1095 and then for subsequent years, students pay about $495 as a student services annual fee.

Though this fee is quite affordable, the sooner a student completes the degree requirements, the less expensive the college degree will be.

Recent Posts