Monday, September 26, 2016


Elimination of fee will remove barrier to college application and enrollment 

Estimated 37,500 families able to save $65 application fee 

Fee Elimination part of College Access for All, one of Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence initiatives

   Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Fariña, and CUNY Chancellor Milliken announced today that the CUNY application fee will be eliminated for all low-income NYC public high school seniors starting this fall. The expansion increases the number of CUNY fee waivers more than fivefold – under the expansion, an estimated 37,500 high school seniors will qualify for fee waivers, up from approximately 6,500 waivers issued annually in previous years.

The elimination of the fee for low-income students removes a significant financial barrier to students applying to college and is part of the College Access for All initiative, one of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence reforms. The initiative builds on a high school graduation rate over 70 percent for the first time, and the highest-ever postsecondary enrollment rate and college readiness rate.

The CUNY application fee waiver allows a student to complete and submit an application listing up to six CUNY schools free of charge. Currently, over half of college-bound graduates of NYC public high schools enroll in CUNY colleges.

“We need to give all our children – no matter the neighborhood they live in, or background they come from – the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century, and that means removing barriers to applying, enrolling, and succeeding in college. Eliminating the application fee for low-income seniors will have a profound impact for thousands of students and their families” said Mayor de Blasio.

“As the first person in my family to attend college, I understand the barriers that stand between students and college, and we must break down those barriers to deliver equity and excellence for all students,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Today’s announcement will make a real difference for thousands of students and families across all five boroughs, and we are going to keep breaking down barriers through College Access for All and our Equity and Excellence initiatives.”  

“CUNY is proud to partner with Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Education's College Access for All initiative to expand waivers for the University’s $65 application fee from 6,500 to 37,500 high school seniors. Nearly 60 percent of New York City’s college-bound public school students enroll in CUNY and the application fee allows a student to apply to up to six CUNY schools,” said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken. “This dramatic increase in fee waivers eliminates a hurdle for thousands of low-income students seeking higher education and is consistent with CUNY’s historic mission to increase access to quality higher education.”

This initiative costs $2.4 million total annually, with this administration adding $2 million for the expansion and CUNY continuing to fund around 6,500 waivers for approximately $400,000.

Application fee waiver codes are being made available to DOE school administrators and counselors, who will provide them to eligible students. School administrators and counselors are already responsible for disbursing a number of application and test fee waivers to students; they will also receive additional specific guidance to ensure students and families are aware of the expanded CUNY fee waiver and able to utilize it.

In addition to providing waivers to students eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program, schools will be instructed to provide waivers to students living in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or who are homeless; and students whose families receive public assistance. Undocumented students who fit the above criteria are eligible for the waiver, as well.

College Access for All is one of the initiatives in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, and will ensure that, by the 2018-19 school year, every student will have the resources and support at their high school to graduate with an individual college and career plan. In addition to the expansion of the CUNY application fee waiver, College Access for All also includes the SAT School Day, through which all 68,000 New York City high school juniors will be able to take the SAT free of charge during the school day on April 5, 2017. The initiative is also supporting new training and funding at 100 high schools this year to build a schoolwide college and career culture.

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