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Governor Hochul Announces Transformation in Higher Education Enrollment Offering All New York High School Seniors a Place at SUNY and CUNY

Part of Governor’s 2023 State of the State Agenda to Eliminate Barriers to Higher Education

SUNY and CUNY Reaching Out to High School Seniors with Personalized Letters, Tutorials, and Multiple Points of Contact to Assist with Enrolling in College and Applying for Financial Aid

FAFSA and Excelsior Scholarship Applications Open for Financial Aid; Campuses Ready to Assist with Questions


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a transformation in how New York State’s public systems of higher education are making it easier for New York high school seniors to attend college. As part of her 2023 State of the State agenda to eliminate barriers to higher education, SUNY and CUNY are reaching out to high school seniors in new ways with personalized letters, enrollment coaching and tutorials, and multiple points of contact to assist with enrolling in college and applying for financial aid.

“Access to quality higher education is an engine for social mobility and we are taking comprehensive steps to ensure that college is affordable and accessible for students from all backgrounds,” Governor Hochul said. “My administration remains committed to removing barriers and easing the pathway to higher education for all high school seniors - lifting up students to build a brighter future for themselves and New York.”

In the coming days, SUNY will be sending a letter to 125,000 graduating New York State students outside of New York City — confirming they have been automatically accepted at their local community college to attend this fall. Sending personalized letters to high school seniors and their parents has been demonstrated to help students make the decision to enroll.

CUNY also announced its plans earlier this month and for the first time this coming fall, CUNY is partnering with the New York City Public Schools to send 65,000 seniors on pace to graduate personalized letters welcoming them to CUNY. The letters will lay out their college options at CUNY and invite them to submit a CUNY application.

SUNY and CUNY are also helping students with their financial aid questions through tutorials and multiple points of contact. The federal government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online here, is open for students to apply. In addition, New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship application, which opened on May 23, is available online here, and accepted through August 31, 2023.

New York State Department of Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “Eliminating barriers to higher education and creating an equitable playing field are critical to supporting all of New York’s students. The more information that students and families have, the better equipped they are for making the ultimate decisions that put them on their best paths to success.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “There is a place for every New Yorker at SUNY, and we are excited to make college an easy decision because our high school seniors and their parents understand their options. High-demand jobs increasingly require a college education, and thanks to New York’s generous financial aid offerings, SUNY is an extraordinary value proposition.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “More than 80% of CUNY freshmen come from New York City public schools and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible. That means connecting students before they start at one of our campuses. CUNY is sending seniors and their families the tools they need to find the right program at the right price. This partnership will increase the number of seniors going to college, enhance New York’s workforce and help end systemic inequities.”

About The State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

About The City University of New York
The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

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