Published November 29, 2023
SUNY and the Buffalo Public Schools have launched a partnership to encourage every high school senior in Buffalo to apply to college. Starting next week, about 2,000 personalized letters will be mailed to every Buffalo Public Schools senior encouraging them to apply to college for fall 2024.
SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. and Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Tonja M. Williams on Monday hand-delivered letters to high school seniors from PS 355, The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management, letting students know they have a place at SUNY.
The letter includes information about SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and financial aid options. Currently, 53% of full-time, New York State resident undergraduate SUNY students attend tuition-free, thanks to the combination of state investment from the Excelsior Scholarship and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), as well as federal and institutional aid. The simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is expected to launch in December. SUNY created the SUNY FAFSA Completion Corps to help students complete the new federal application.
King and Williams were joined at PS 355 by UB President Satish K. Tripathi, SUNY Board Trustee Eunice A. Lewin, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Member William Conrad, Buffalo State University Interim President Bonita Durand, Niagara County Community College President William Murabito, SUNY Erie Officer-in-Charge Adiam Tsegai and Buffalo community members.
This fall, SUNY is collaborating with public school systems across the state and reaching out to students at college fairs and informational sessions to build awareness about how to apply to college and for available financial aid as part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State agenda to eliminate barriers to higher education.
SUNY offers all students at more than 500 designated high-needs high schools statewide, including PS 355 and 14 other Buffalo Public Schools high schools, the ability to apply to up to seven SUNY campuses for free, saving up to $350 in application fees, throughout the year.
“There is a place at SUNY for every New Yorker, and it is an honor to collaborate with Superintendent Williams and Buffalo Public Schools to encourage more high school seniors to explore the excellence and affordability that SUNY offers,” King said. “My thanks to the students of PS 355 for sharing their vision for college and their career goals. SUNY campuses are eager to help Buffalo students achieve their college dreams.”
Tripathi noted that as the largest and most comprehensive public university system in the nation, “SUNY is committed to providing access and opportunity.”
“With today’s announcement, graduating students in the Buffalo Public Schools will be invited to explore the depth and breadth of SUNY’s academic programs, encouraging them to not only imagine the possibilities for their future but seize them,” Tripathi said.
Williams explained that removing barriers to higher education “is crucial to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to attain economic prosperity and develop into community leaders.”
“Enabling Buffalo Public School seniors to apply for free to as many as seven SUNY schools will pay big dividends for years to come.”
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