Governor Cuomo Announces SUNY and CUNY will Waive Application Fees for Veterans and Their Spouses

November 10, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

State Landmarks to be Lit Red, White and Blue for Veterans Day on Monday, November 11

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced SUNY and CUNY will waive application fees for veterans and their spouses. Applicants are required to pay a fee ranging from $50 to $65 when applying to SUNY or CUNY campuses, and this measure will waive that fee for all veterans and their spouses for all state operated campuses. The Board of Trustees for both SUNY and CUNY will include resolutions on the agenda for their next board meetings to implement the change. The Governor also announced One World Trade Center, the Kosciuszko Bridge, the Alfred E. Smith building, SUNY System Administration, the State Education building and the State Fair Expo Center will be lit red, white, and blue on Monday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.

"Generations of New Yorkers have fought to preserve the freedoms and ideals of this state and nation at great personal sacrifice, and we must do everything we can to support them once they get home," Governor Cuomo said. "Waiving the SUNY and CUNY application fees for veterans and their spouses will help these brave men and women and their families take the next steps in adapting back to civilian life and will help ensure they have the tools they need to succeed. And in honor of all those who served in our nation's military, landmarks across the state will be lit in the colors of the American flag on Veterans Day as a reminder of their service, bravery and sacrifice."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "The least we can do for our servicemen and women who have served valiantly is to assist in any way possible with their education ambitions to study, learn and advance their lives. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recommending this needed action that will serve as a constant reminder to our veterans that at SUNY we honor their service and sacrifice and we stand ready to provide the highest quality education as they transition into civilian life."

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "CUNY is proud of the diversity and academic excellence that the more than 3,300 veterans enrolled in the university bring to our campuses. Extending the fee waiver to their spouses will represent an important addition to the roster of services and opportunities the university already provides its student-veterans. CUNY applauds Governor Cuomo for this worthy recognition of the contributions of veterans, not only to our country, but to our campus communities as well."

New York State Division of Veterans' Services Director Colonel (U.S. Army, Ret.) Jim McDonough said, "SUNY and CUNY are home to some of the largest student Veteran populations in the country. This is a testament to the value they bring to Veterans and their families who are advancing themselves through education. The elimination of application fees for those who have served and their spouses represents another way Governor Cuomo and New York are working to create an easy and affordable transition back home with this important measure." 

Senator John E. Brooks, Chair of the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said, "It is a simple enough thing to honor military service with words but today we hope to demonstrate our appreciation with the deeds of a grateful public. By waving application fees for SUNY and CUNY institutions to New York veterans and their spouses, Governor Cuomo is providing an important head start on achieving higher education and success for our veterans in returning to civilian life."

Assembly Member Didi Barrett, Chair of the NYS Assembly Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Johnson for their commitment to our veterans and military families. Waiving admission fees is a key step in ensuring all our SUNY campuses can create a welcoming culture for our returning service men and women."

Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee in Higher Education, said, "Our service members today deserve support to make applying to college as easy as possible. Waiving application fees removes a barrier to college that shouldn't exist for those who have served their country. CUNY and SUNY offer first class education and hopefully this will encourage more veterans to apply."

Today's announcements build upon Governor Cuomo's longstanding commitment to the nearly 750,000 veterans living in New York State. Under his administration, New York has enacted the nation's largest fund for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, certifying over 600 businesses to date; convened the State's first-ever Summit on Veterans and Military Families; launched the Justice for Heroes Initiative to fund legal clinics at law schools that provide assistance to veterans; provided funding for nonprofits that offer peer-to-peer support for veterans and their families; promoting the Ambassador Carl Spielvogel Fund to boost education opportunities for thousands of military students and their dependents at SUNY campuses and waived the application fee for veterans taking Civil Service exams. Governor Cuomo's efforts have made New York the most veteran-friendly state in America.

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 country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-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 2023, 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 opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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