Governor Cuomo Announces proposal to Provide New York Nurses Priority Access to SUNY and CUNY Programs as Part of 2021 State of the State

January 10, 2021

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Heroic Nurses to Receive Priority Admission to State and City Run Universities to Fulfill Baccalaureate Credentials

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced legislation to provide New York nurses priority access to SUNY and CUNY programs as part of the 2021 State of the State. Under this proposal, licensed nurses and nursing candidates will receive priority admission to all SUNY and CUNY programs across the State beginning in the fall of 2021 to fulfill baccalaureate credentials and continue practicing.

"Health care workers showed up every day to help keep us safe. They worked tirelessly to save thousands of lives, all while putting their own lives at risk. When I asked them to step up, they did so blindly. They knew the risks and they still came to work every day to protect the rest of us. Many put their lives on hold to help." Governor Cuomo said. "They had our back, now we must have theirs. We're giving these COVID heroes priority to the greatest university system in the world, to complete their degrees and continue to do what they have done best throughout this pandemic: keep us all safe."

BSN in 10 was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2017 to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years of becoming a nurse to maintain licensure by the State. SUNY and CUNY will work with campuses to implement priority access for eligible candidates allowing the priority access to SUNY and CUNY nursing programs which will allow the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates who are required by law to complete their baccalaureate credentials access to quality and affordable education within the state.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "Within the darkest moments caused by this pandemic, our healthcare professionals have been an inspiration to us all for their heroic and selfless efforts as they provide life-saving care. This is especially true of our nurses who are the heartbeat of healthcare. Governor Cuomo's proposal to provide priority access for New York's licensed nurses is exactly what we need to strengthen and protect our healthcare system.  SUNY stands ready to meet the Governor's challenge."

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said, "We all owe a debt of gratitude to the selfless health care workers who throughout this terrifying pandemic have saved the lives of countless of our family members, friends and neighbors while courageously risking their own. The nurses on the frontlines have been nothing short of heroic in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus. Governor Cuomo's proposal will enable these brave professionals to complete their studies at first-class institutions and continue their life-saving work."      

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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