Thousands of low-income students across the city will no longer have to pay a $65 application fee to apply to CUNY colleges.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and CUNY Chancellor James Milliken announced on Monday that starting on Oct. 17, high school students will be qualified for the waiver. Previously, 6,500 students were qualified and this initiative will increase that number to an estimated 37,500 students.
The CUNY application fee waiver allows a student to submit an application listing up to six CUNY schools free of charge. More than half of college-bound graduates of New York City public high schools enroll in CUNY colleges.
There are five colleges in Queens that are a part of the CUNY system including Queens College in Flushing, York College in Jamaica, Queensborough Community College in Bayside, and LaGuardia Community College and CUNY School of Law, which are both in Long Island City.
“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,” de Blasio said. “Eliminating the application fee for low-income seniors will have a profound impact for thousands of students and their families.”
Waivers will be provided to students eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program, 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 this criteria will also eligible for the waiver.
The initiative costs $2.4 million annually with the de Blasio administration contributing $2 million and CUNY continuing its contribution of $400,000 for 6,500 students.
“Many New Yorkers are barely scraping by,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, who chairs the council’s Education Committee. “Application fees are a heavy burden for low-income students and families struggling to pay rent, food and utility bills.”
The waiver is a part of the College Access for All initiative under the Equity and Access for All Agenda created by Fariña and de Blasio to provide all New York City high schoolers with a college and career plan before they graduate.
Under this plan, high school seniors can also participate in SAT School day where all 68,000 seniors can take the SAT for free on April 5, 2017.
“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,” Fariña said. “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.”