Students on campus at Stony Brook University in August 2021. The...

Students on campus at Stony Brook University in August 2021. The free waiver period last fall resulted in a surge of applications, according to the university.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

High school seniors will get a break this fall as SUNY and CUNY schools and, for the first time, over 40 private colleges and universities are waiving fees for college applications this month, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

College applications will be free for two weeks starting Oct. 16 through Oct. 29 at all 64 SUNY system schools. CUNY is waiving application fees across all 25 campuses all month for high school seniors in New York City public schools and for all state residents who apply as a freshman between Oct. 16 and 31.

"Removing financial barriers enables students who may not have considered completing an application due to financial constraints to take the first steps of their educational journey," Hochul said in a statement. "I urge all seniors in the state to apply to at least one college this month and make the most of this unprecedented initiative.”

While some community colleges are waiving fees year-round, those on Long Island will waive them for two weeks starting Oct. 16. Admissions to CUNY community colleges is guaranteed to high school graduates.

The private institutions, which include Adelphi and Molloy universities on Long Island, have varying waiver periods. Adelphi, in Garden City, and Molloy, in Rockville Centre, are waiving fees all month long.

"We see this as a wonderful opportunity to help students who may have had difficulty paying an application fee," said Molloy's dean of admissions, Stephen Ostendorff, in a statement. "This will enable them to be considered for admission into a program they otherwise may not have had access to."

Shawana Singletary, assistant vice president and chief enrollment officer at Adelphi, said, “We are actively seeking to engage with students who may not have previously considered Adelphi University."

"Our focused efforts are directed towards engaging with students in New York City, recognizing that not all of them prefer the SUNY or CUNY options," Singletary said. 

This is the second consecutive year that the SUNY system has had the two-week waiver period in the fall, said SUNY spokeswoman Holly Liapis, adding that there have been spring waiver periods in prior years. For the last several years, the system has offered waivers for low-income students in high schools in high-needs areas, and others, too.

SUNY system schools' free waiver period last fall resulted in a surge of applications, according to Stony Brook University, which is admitting its largest first-year class ever. Applications for the 2023-24 school year rose by 24.2% overall at Stony Brook compared to the prior year, while freshmen application rates increased by 23.9% and transfer student applications rose by 26.8%.

The fee waivers are a highlight of the state's College Application Month, part of a growing national observance that began in 2005.

The NY Higher Education Services Corp., SUNY and CUNY will host in-person and virtual events to inform high school students about college options and financial aid, and assist in completing applications. The SUNY events are listed at

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