The nation’s largest and most comprehensive state university system, The State University of New York (SUNY), was founded at Potsdam, New York 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. The State University of New York’s 64 campuses are divided into four categories, based on educational mission, types of academic opportunities available and degrees offered. SUNY offers students a wide diversity 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 more than 7,000 degree and certificate programs.
SUNY students represent the society that surrounds them. In May 2012, 24.4% 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 United States, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and 160 nations. Total enrollment is over 467,000. Nearly 40% of New York State high school graduates choose SUNY and 99.8% of New York residents live within 30 miles of a SUNY campus. SUNY alumni number over 2.7 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 the SUNY Learning Network, which provides educational opportunities for an estimated 150,000 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.
The mission of the State University system shall be to provide to the people of New York educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access, fully representative of all segments of the population in a complete range of academic, professional and vocational postsecondary programs including such additional activities in pursuit of these objectives as are necessary or customary. These services and activities shall be offered through a geographically distributed comprehensive system of diverse campuses which shall have differentiated and designated missions designed to provide a comprehensive program of higher education, to meet the needs of both traditional and non-traditional students and to address local, regional and state needs and goals.
In fulfilling this mission, the State University shall exercise care to develop and maintain a balance of its human and physical resources that:
- recognizes the fundamental role of its responsibilities in undergraduate education and provides a full range of graduate and professional education that reflects the opportunity for individual choice and the needs of society;
- establishes tuition which most effectively promotes the university’s access goals;
- encourages and facilitates basic and applied research for the purpose of the creation and dissemination of knowledge vital for continued human, scientific, technological and economic advancement;
- strengthens its educational and research programs in the health sciences through the provision of high quality general comprehensive and specialty health care, broadly accessible at reasonable cost, in its hospitals, clinics and related programs and through networks and joint and cooperative relationships with other health care providers and institutions, including those on a regional basis;
- shares the expertise of the state university with the business, agricultural, governmental, labor and nonprofit sectors of the state through a program of public service for the purpose of enhancing the well-being of the people of the state of New York and in protecting our environmental and marine resources;
- encourage, support and participate through facility planning and projects, personnel policies and programs with local governments, school districts, businesses and civic sectors of host communities regarding the health of local economies and quality of life;
- promotes appropriate program articulation between its state-operated institutions and its community colleges as well as encourages regional networks and cooperative relationships with other educational and cultural institutions for the purpose of better fulfilling its mission of education, research and service.