SUNY System Sees Historic Increase in Applications

The 110% increase is largely attributed to application fee waivers and tuition match incentives for out-of-state students.
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  • SUNY experienced a 110% increase in total applications and a 70% increase in out-of-state applicants.
  • The system offered a two-week application fee waiver.
  • SUNY also offered a tuition match to out-of-state students in eligible states.

The State University of New York's (SUNY) work to tear down financial barriers to higher education paid big dividends for the fall 2023 semester.

SUNY this month announced a 110% increase in applications for fall 2023, according to a press release from the system. Applications increased from 97,257 to 204,437 year-over-year largely due to SUNY's new fee waiver initiative.

It's an historic application increase for the 64-institution system that challenges a national trend of decreased college enrollment.

According to SUNY, prospective students could apply to up to five SUNY schools for free during the two-week fee waiver, which saves each student $250. On average, each applicant applied to two schools.

"SUNY's fee waiver has been an incredible success and we are encouraged by the increase in potential students taking this step to pursue a college education," said SUNY interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. "New York State has significantly invested in higher education as a driving force for its economy, and we want to make sure all New Yorkers can avail themselves of a high-quality, affordable education across our state."

Another contributor to the application increase is SUNY's out-of-state tuition match option for students in eligible states. Alongside a total 110% increase, out-of-state applications increased by 70%.

The initiative takes a student's home state tuition and fees and adjusts SUNY tuition and fees to match them.

Eligible states for tuition-matching include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont

According to the release, 50% of full-time SUNY undergraduates pay $0 in tuition due to a significant state investment in financial aid.

Also, students in foster care, students with military connections, low-income students, and students at 500-plus eligible high schools can apply to up to seven SUNY schools for free. The waivers save each student $350 in application fees and apply to 60% of New York high school seniors.