SUNY Launches “Start Today, Succeed Tomorrow” to Assess College Readiness in 10th and 11th Grade

June 9, 2015

Chancellor Zimpher Announces Universal Diagnostic at Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) Meeting

Denver, CO – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that SUNY is creating a universal diagnostic to assess and track college readiness among 10th and 11th grade students in diverse communities across the state. The pilot, "Start Today, Succeed Tomorrow," will provide evidence-based interventions and support to ensure that more students are ready for college when they graduate from high school.

The initiative will be made possible through SUNY's existing partnerships with K-12 school districts and stakeholders across New York, as well as its Statewide Cradle-to-Career Alliance. 

Chancellor Zimpher made the announcement at the CGI America meeting today in Denver, CO. Those invited to the convening were challenged to make a Commitment to Action containing “a specific plan to address pressing issues, such as unemployment, renewable energy or education opportunities.” 

“For every 100 ninth graders in New York, on average, 51 will go directly to college after graduation. Of those, only 37 will return for their sophomore year, and only 23 will complete their degree even close to on time,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “There are a number of factors that contribute to this glaring achievement gap, but for a majority of students who either don’t attend or graduate from college, it’s a matter of readiness; and that’s something SUNY is equipped to address.”

SUNY will use the results of the diagnostic to help provide remedial support to students who are underprepared for high school graduation and college. For high-performing students, SUNY will work with school districts to provide opportunities to earn college credit during high school, setting students on a path for on-time or early college completion.

In addition, all participating students will have access to a College Readiness MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) SUNY is developing that will use gamification to encourage students to complete financial literacy programs, social readiness activities, and academic planning modules that prepare them for college. Students will also be able to use DegreeWorks, which provides access to college advising and tracks progress toward degree completion.

“The nation’s colleges and universities – and our students – spend too much time and money on remediation, and K-12 does not shoulder that burden alone. It’s on us, too,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “By extending higher education’s reach into K-12, we can play a larger role in ensuring that more students are coming to our campuses with the capacity to understand and successfully complete the coursework. We have to reach these students earlier on in the education pipeline if we want to better prepare the next generation for long-term college and career success.”

SUNY will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) this Fall for the development of the universal diagnostic, with initial implementation in Fall 2016.

The readiness diagnostic is one of several strategies that SUNY is employing or expanding as part of a Completion Agenda first announced by Chancellor Zimpher in January. By bringing a number of evidence-based programs to scale across its 64-campus university system, SUNY aims to increase its number of graduates from 93,000 to 150,000 annually by 2020.

About Clinton Global Initiative America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 400 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.

CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI will also convene CGI Middle East & Africa, which will bring together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at

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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