SUNY and CUNY Chancellors Announce José Peralta New York State DREAM Act Application is Open for the 2019-20 Academic Year

July 9, 2019

HESC Now Accepting Applications, Allowing For Undocumented Students to Apply for Programs, Including TAP and the Excelsior Scholarship

Albany – The State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and the City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez today announced that qualifying undocumented students educated in New York high schools can apply for state financial aid and scholarships for higher education, including the Tuition Assistance Program and the Excelsior Scholarship, under the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act.

The Higher Education Services Corporation is managing the application. Students seeking qualification for the DREAM Act may apply for New York State financial aid and scholarships here.

"This is a proud moment in that all New Yorkers now have a chance to acquire an affordable, quality, higher education to pursue their American dream," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "For undocumented students, residents of this state, college is an exciting reality, and I urge them to apply. My thanks to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and our legislators for investing in the people of our state through critical financial aid and scholarships."

"CUNY has long supported Dreamers and embraced their presence on our campuses, and we cheer the implementation of this landmark measure that will help thousands of New Yorkers move forward with their education," said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. "We are grateful to Gov. Cuomo for championing this cause. We now encourage all qualifying undocumented students to apply for the financial support to which they are entitled through the José Peralta Dream Act, which gives them access to TAP, the Excelsior Scholarship and other student financial aid. The late Senator Peralta was an early outspoken champion of this cause, and he would be proud to know that this day has come. As a graduate of Queens College, he understood the many ways that extending opportunity to Dreamers and other undocumented New Yorkers would benefit the university and its students alike."

Enacted as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Enacted Budget, the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act is named in honor of the late Senator who championed efforts to allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for college tuition assistance. It removes a critical barrier to higher education for students who are undocumented, as well as those who meet certain other immigration requirements. Students must have earned their high school diplomas or high school equivalency diplomas in New York State to be eligible.

Guillermo Linares, Acting President of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, said, "The Senator José Peralta New York State DREAM Act opens the doors of higher education to thousands of bright, capable students who are the future of our State. By providing this access to student financial aid, we are recognizing the value of these young people to the continued economic vitality of New York State."

While undocumented students may seek to determine eligibility for state financial aid under the DREAM Act year round, they should also be aware of deadlines for specific state scholarship programs, including that of the Excelsior Scholarship, which is August 15, 2019. Deadlines are stated within the HESC website at

About the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation

HESC is New York State’s student financial aid agency and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At HESC’s core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the Excelsior Scholarship and numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. HESC puts college within the reach of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors. In 2017-18, HESC helped more than 357,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $1.06 billion in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $924 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

About The City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 24 MacArthur ("Genius") grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

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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