SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras on Monday announced that beginning March 1 students from families that meet certain income guidelines could apply to up to seven SUNY campuses with no application fee, savings of up to $350 for a student.
SUNY officials estimated that about 110,000 high school seniors would be eligible for the new application fee waiver, easing the path for more low-income students to apply to and pursue a college education.
“It’s on us to knock down every barrier to empower students,” Malatras said in announcing the fee waiver in Utica. “This is an easy way to do it.”
Under the current application process, students can seek a fee waiver if a school guidance counselor signs off or if the students files a separate application for the waiver. Malatras said that requirement represented a hurdle to many low-income students and complicated the application process unnecessarily. Only about 50 percent of eligible students actually take advantage of the current fee waivers, SUNY officials said in a release about the new waiver.
When the new policy goes into effect March 1, students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch programs, whose household income does not exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty line or are from foster homes automatically qualify for the fee waiver. The application fees are $50 per college, and the fees can be waived for up to seven campuses.
“They can just check a box,” Malatras said of the new streamlined fee waiver process. “I don’t want students to feel they don’t have enough money or the wherewithal to even apply to SUNY.”