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Governor Cuomo: Free SUNY, CUNY Tuition to STEM Students in Top 10% of HS Class

STEM Free tuition at SUNY

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on May 6, 2014 a scholarship that provides a full SUNY or CUNY tuition scholarship for top-performing students who pursue and work in the STEM field in New York State for five years after graduation.

The New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program will encourage the best and brightest high school students to pursue high-demand, high-tech careers and build their future in New York.



“By helping New York’s best and brightest students launch their careers in-state and in STEM fields, we are laying the foundation for a truly world-class workforce,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program offers a tremendous step forward to the top ten percent of our high school students, and it will open doors not just for them but for our State as a whole. I am proud to launch the STEM Incentive Program this year, and I encourage all eligible students to apply today.”

“Across New York, STEM careers are growing 2.5 times faster than those in any other field, and the Governor’s incentive program is a valuable opportunity for the next generation to fill the gap,” said SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. “The program gives top-of-their-class students a world-class education in high-need fields while creating a pipeline of elite talent for the state where our workforce and economy need it the most. At SUNY, we are looking forward to getting this innovative program up and running.”

STEM Job Growth US Department of Labor 2022The sponsoring New York State Agency, called HESC, is the student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students.

Programs that it oversees include the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. In the 2011-12 school year alone, HESC provided more than $979.4 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $931 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program, to students.

To be eligible for a STEM award, a student must be attending a New York State high school and be ranked in the top ten percent of his/her graduating class (beginning with the 2014 graduating class), and enroll in full-time study at a SUNY or CUNY college in the fall term following high school graduation.


Award details and applications are available at the HESC website and due August 15, 2014.


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    Written by Maxwell Morgan

    Maxwell was a Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.

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    There are 8 comments

  • Jonathan Gunther says:

    Interesting , non-citizen applicants are eligible as well, I think that is unfair to those who are legal here and have paid taxes for decades whose kids will not qualify for any of these programs because we decided to work hard in our lives and follow the rules that once were a principle and cornerstone in our civilization.

  • Unfortunately, this will dissuade kids from taking the harder level courses in high school, since class standing only considers GPA, not course difficulty.

  • Mike says:

    I worked my butt of and graduated with a 4.0 gpa in a masters program. Along the way I was awarded about 5 merit scholarship from my college. With my lowest grade ever being an A , I feel someone should fund my doctorate in STEM. Anyone knows of any leads?

  • Ivonne says:

    No initiative will change the fact that STEM graduates are underpaid or jobless and forced to invest in higher education in order to achieve a job that in they might never obtain. So ehy to have more jobless graduates for the marker that does not express interest in acquiring more knowledge through STEM majors?

  • Lillian Vito says:

    If it weren’t for free tuition, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Queens College in 1957. I’m so happy to see that the 10% policy is being brought back again. My mother was unable to work because of a severe heart condition, and my father could no longer work in construction. He was able to get a job as a maintenance worker for the City because he was a WW2 vet. There are a lot of families still struggling and would love to see their children have opportunities they didn’t have. Mario expanded the State U system, and opened up opportunities for students statewide. On the day of his funeral, I wish to say a prayer of thanks to God for his service and a prayer of encouragement for Andrew to ‘carry on’.

  • What about homeschool students. I assume there is no opportunity becasue they do not attend a public school. I come from a family of engineers (5). They are geared in that direction.

  • nm says:

    what about 2013 graduates currently enrolled in STEM majors at a SUNY? Can they apply for the STEM Incentive program for they’re remaining 3 years?

  • BAM says:

    For me this is a double edged sword: Proud that the state of NY is finally rewarding students for high academic achievements, rather than minor status. BUT the people of NY should not have to shoulder the burden of free tuition, after all we already pay the highest taxes in the US.
    Ok Governor what happens when they graduate and can’t find a job in NY state? The state better extend the tax breaks given to the industries that come to NY state for 10 years and then they leave when the tax break ends, the kids will need jobs.

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