Fun fact – The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the country. We have more than three million alumni located around the globe, and we are still a growing, steady force. From community colleges to research institutions and medical centers that provide vast opportunities, we are educating New Yorkers to prepare them to be the doers and thinkers of our future.
For those not yet attending SUNY, we understand that picking out the right college is a daunting task. There seems to be no shortage of institutions to pick from, but hopefully, this list of 50 reasons why YOU should attend a SUNY school will help you make a decision and ease your worries. Some new developments have begun and other things have changed since we last made a list like this. But still, with the many colleges and universities that make SUNY what it is, together we are one system of public higher education in New York.
So now, on to the list:
1. SUNY isn’t one school. We have 64 colleges and universities across the state – 30 community colleges and 34 comprehensive, university center, and technology schools.
2. With over 7,000 degrees and certifications to pursue, you’re bound to find a course of study that fits you perfectly. The sky’s the limit, including programs like:
3. If you love airplanes, you can learn all about them at Farmingdale State, from pilot certifications to airport planning.
4. Interested in Casino & Gaming Hospitality? Schenectady County Community College has a program for you.
5. SUNY Polytechnic Institute is one of the leading forces behind Photonics, an up and coming advanced technology that may change the world.
6. The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) recently celebrated 50 years of success. Throughout its history, it has provided access, academic support, and financial aid to students who have the potential for succeeding in college but may not have been may not have otherwise been offered admission.
7. We have over 3 million alumni who are located all over the globe. With that number of alums, think about all the connections you can make and opportunities that might arise!
8. Our campuses have a substantial economic impact on their surrounding communities and statewide. For example, the University at Buffalo shared in 2016 that it generates $2.18 billion annually in overall economic impact.
9. Our campuses have exclusive programs that you can’t find anywhere else in New York State: Erie Community College offers the state’s only one-year Brewing Science and Service certificate. We’ll cheers to that!
10. We’re dedicated to providing an individualized and customizable education to all of our students through learning opportunities such as microcredentials, which help students acquire knowledge that will directly translate to skills needed in emerging job industries.
11. Our Open Educational Resources helps lower the cost of education by making more faculty-approved classroom textbooks and materials available to students at little to no cost.
12. Creating alliances with industry, government agencies, non-profit foundations, and international organizations is a key theme of Chancellor Johnson’s vision for SUNY. One such partnership we’ve already created is with the Kellogg Foundation, who awarded us a critical grant to help us establish a Sustainable Village and Learning Community in Haiti.
13. We are New York State’s largest employer, with upwards of 90,000 employees across our colleges and universities.
14. We are (more) affordable. With the creation and implementation of New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship, many more students throughout the state are eligible for free tuition.
15. A third of SUNY students graduate without debt and 46% percent of New York undergrads attend tuition-free.
16. Even better, Smart Track will help you pick the right school and develop a solid financial plan that takes you from school to career.
17. Seamless Transfer offers students the opportunity to advance their studies from school to school. Students are allowed to transfer all original credits to another SUNY campus, making it easier to finish or expand their degree.
18. We are filled with diversity, with nearly half of our total enrollment comprised of minority students.
19. We have a large international student body: 22,000 students are from other nations outside of the United States.
20. If you want to pursue graduate school, we have 27 different locations where you can continue your education.
21. Best of all, most graduate students in these programs attain financial aid!
22. We are educators. SUNY Cortland’s teacher education program is the largest teaching program in the Eastern United States!
23. Feel like traveling abroad? We offer more than 1,000 overseas study programs ranging in 60 countries in over seven continents. We also are committed to doubling the number of college students by the end of the decade through our Generation Study Abroad initiative.
24. Outside of study and research, our schools like to have fun. The University at Albany once broke the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Pillow Fight.
25. Our student creativity goes beyond the classroom. Students at Stony Brook University compete in the annual Roth Regatta, a boat race where teams race in vessels they build themselves.
26. At Tompkins Community College’s farm, students gain hands-on experience on every aspect of the food production program, from growing, planning, and marketing to distributing produce. They also gain a unique education experience learning about wine pairing and it’s business while being part of the culinary program.
27. Do you care about the environment? Sustainability is key to SUNY. Chancellor Johnson announced that SUNY plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from zero-net-carbon sources, including renewables and energy storage, as soon as possible.
28. If you are into athletics, we offer plenty of intramural sports and hundreds of non-competitive club sports to choose from.
29. If you would like to compete at a higher level, we have 85 NCAA Division I, a few Division II schools, 290 NCAA Division III, and 385 NJCAA nationally-ranked teams at your disposal.
30. Our athletic teams are highly competitive and bring home some serious hardware. For example, Monroe Community College has won 25 NJCAA national championships!
31. Our new chancellor, Dr. Kristina Johnson, not only used to be the CEO of Cube Hydro Partners LLC, she was Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University from 1999-2017 and holds 118 U.S and national patents.
32. We have hundreds of student organizations on each of our campuses including Greek life, athletic clubs, and honor societies!
33. We are committed to Applied Learning, where many SUNY students have found internships that help them take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the working world.
34. SUNY mascots embody the school spirit and liveliness of the campus. Each year, we hold our Mascot Madness tournament to determine who is the most spirited SUNY mascot. This year, Victor E. Knight of SUNY Geneseo won his second title!
35. Have you heard of SUNY Perks at Work? If you’re an alumnus, you can save money with discounts for almost everything from travel deals, movie tickets, apparel, and more!
37. U.S. News & World Report recently recognized many of our campuses as best in the nation according to student outcomes, social mobility, and a host of other measures.
38. We support student entrepreneurship, as evidenced by various competitions where students can showcase their work to the community and potential partners and investors. Recently, a team of electrical engineering and MBA students at University at Buffalo won an award for a technology that integrates digital sound effects directly into guitars.
39. We’re surrounded by pop culture. The “Rewrite,” a movie which stars Hugh Grant, was filmed at Binghamton University.
40. You’ve definitely heard about The Amazing Superman 2 and The Departed, two blockbuster movies. Fun fact: They both had scenes filmed on the SUNY Maritime campus!
41. Many SUNY schools are located in Upstate New York, where nature thrives and where hiking trails can be found near a number of our schools!
42. Most of our SUNY schools hold summer and fall concerts and festivals every year with events like OzFest, Parkfest, and OozeFest that bring fun, games, and music to all students.
43. Another one of Chancellor Johnson’s visions for SUNY is to be a leader in sustainability and by extension, renewable energy. SUNY New Paltz has already shown their dedication to these initiatives with the installation of an on-campus solar generation and energy storage system.
44. Interested in service work? We have plenty of opportunities for you to help out those who are in need, such as partnering with Governor Cuomo on his NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding initiative.
45. We care about making sure our students are advocates for ending interpersonal violence, as witnessed through the system teaming up with the One Love Foundation and supporting the “Yards for Yeardley” campaign, which is designed to raise awareness and provide education to end relationship abuse.
46. At our schools, you’ll learn from top-notch faculty who are experts in their fields. Our professors have earned multi-million dollar grants, have had their work published in well-known research outlets, and are nationally recognized for their success.
47. Many of our campuses host their own farmers’ markets or provide access to deliciously fresh produce so you can fuel your body with healthy and nutritious foods!
48. Our faculty members and students consistently produce cutting-edge research that advances society and helps others. Over the past year, we’ve seen SUNY research to treat lazy eye and other disorders via virtual reality, increased safety in dairy production, testing and surveilling for West Nile in mosquitos found in New York State, and much more.
49. We’ve been doing this for a while. Our oldest school, SUNY Potsdam, founded in 1816, is more than 200 years old!
50. Last but not least, SUNY is one big family. And we’d love to have you join our SUNY family!
We hope these reasons encourage you to choose SUNY. If you are interested in attending a SUNY school, we have a convenient tool that makes it easy to submit an application:
Tiffanie is a Social Media Assistant Intern at SUNY System Administration. She is a senior at SUNY Albany double-majoring in Psychology and Communications.