SUNY History and General Statement

The State University of New York (SUNY), was founded at Potsdam, N.Y., in 1816. Years later, the Morrill Act of 1862 led to the creation of four Ivy League land-grant SUNY colleges, which now currently exist at Cornell University. SUNY was officially established in February 1948 when New York became the 48th state, of the then 48 states, to create a state university system. SUNY initially represented a consolidation of 29 unaffiliated institutions, including 11 teachers colleges. All of these colleges, with their unique histories and backgrounds, united for a common goal: To serve New York State. Since 1948, SUNY has grown to include 64 individual colleges and universities that were either formerly independent institutions or directly founded by the State University of New York.

Today, the State University of New York’s 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Its 64 campuses are divided into four categories, based on educational mission, types of academic opportunities available, and degrees offered. SUNY offers students a wide variety of educational options including short-term vocational/technical courses; certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degree programs, graduate degrees and post-doctoral studies. SUNY provides access to almost every field of academic or professional study within the system via 7,500 degree and certificate programs.

SUNY students represent the society that surrounds them. In July 2013, 26.2 percent of all enrolled students were minorities. While SUNY students are predominantly New York State residents, representing every one of the state’s 62 counties, they also hail from every other state in the U.S., the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and more than 160 nations. Total enrollment is approximately 463,000, with nearly 2 million more in workforce and professional development programs. Forty percent of New York State high school graduates choose SUNY and 99.8 percent of New York residents live within 30 miles of a SUNY campus. SUNY alumni number nearly 3 million graduates who reside in New York State and throughout the world.

SUNY attracts the best and brightest scholars, scientists, artists and professionals, and boasts nationally and internationally recognized faculty in all major disciplines. Faculty are regular recipients of prestigious awards and honors. SUNY colleges and universities range from world-renowned community colleges, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, to first-rate graduate schools and the nation's top veterinary school. The highly-regarded doctoral degree granting universities are home to top research programs and attract experts in a variety of fields. Students study in campus classrooms and laboratories or work from a distance through Open SUNY, which provides educational opportunities for more than 87,000 students through courses and degree and certificate programs.

The State University of New York is committed to providing quality education at an affordable price to New Yorkers and students from across the country and the world.