As the pandemic continues to deepen inequities in our country, college enrollments are trending downward among first-time, first-generation college students from low-income households and underrepresented backgrounds. While families across the state struggle with the challenges brought about by COVID-19, the State University of New York (SUNY) is offering extra support to students to submit their college applications this year.
SUNY recently launched the 'Big Dreams, Small Step
' campaign to provide assistance to high school students who are at risk of being left behind this year — and who stand to benefit the most from a college degree. This new campaign builds on the 'SUNY For All' initiative, which aims to broaden access to the country's largest system of public higher education for learners at every stage of life.
We know that a college degree has the ability to change the trajectory of one's life and improve career success. However, even before the pandemic, students from low-income households or those from underrepresented groups had just a 10-25 percent chance of earning a degree. The 'Big Dreams, Small Step' initiative will provide additional support, resources, and guidance to help students navigate the admissions process this year.
Support options include:
- Designated Application Weeks featuring individual appointments and personal support on the SUNY application (including assistance on how to apply to SUNY's Educational Opportunity Program). The first of these is next week, March 15-19.
- Application fee waivers for eligible students, potentially adding up to $350 in savings when applying to multiple schools
- SUNY's 'personalized support service' expansion to help applicants complete an application fee waiver and secure the endorsement of their high school counselor remotely
- Enhanced 'College Advisor of the Day' programming, where high school students can book a focused, one-on-one conversation about SUNY's offerings and the application process
- Immediate, easy-to-follow guidance on applying to SUNY and where to get help
Please share the information above with current juniors and seniors, and visit the SUNY website to help your students access these additional supports to apply to college this year. Together, we can work to address the opportunity gaps that exist and strive for greater educational equity.
Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr.
Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents
Dr. Betty A. Rosa
Commissioner of Education