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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    The SUNY System Explained

    The State University of New York’s system, commonly referred to as SUNY, comprises over 60 schools, all with subsidized tuition rates. Included in these 60 institutions are Cornell University and Syracuse University, both private institutions.

    Through a partnership with the SUNY system, students at these schools have the opportunity to study and earn a doctoral degree at a privatized institution while paying state school tuition.

    The SUNY schools that grant doctoral degrees are the University of Buffalo, Upstate Medical University, Alfred University Ceramics, Binghamton University, University at Albany, SUNY Optometry, Downstate Medical Center, Stony Brook University, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University, and Cornell University’s colleges of agriculture, human ecology, industrial and labor relations and veterinary medicine.

    SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry was established in 1911 in a partnership with Syracuse University. The college’s web site said the school became a part of the SUNY system in 1948, since it had “been state-supported from the very beginning.” Students enrolled in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry receive a degree from both Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

    Four colleges at Cornell University allow students to earn a degree from a private institution while paying public state school tuition.

    Cornell University’s web site said that these “contract colleges” receive subsidies from New York State for undergraduate research, and allow students in these colleges to pay a subsidized tuition rate.

    But students in one of the four “contract colleges” still live, dine, and participate in the same activities as other Cornell University students not enrolled in these subsidized schools.

    Public schools within the SUNY system have recently received much praise as well.

    U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2008,” a statistical report on the best national universities arranged in varying categories, featured several SUNY schools in their top results. For example, Binghamton, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Stony Brook University were featured in the top 100 National Universities. Another SUNY school, University of Buffalo, was ranked at 118.

    The system has 30 community colleges, eight technology colleges, 13 university colleges, and 10 university centers. As of January 2008, there were over 420,000 undergraduate students and more than 380,000 graduate students currently enrolled in the system.

    With four different types of schools, the array of titles may confuse prospective students.

    To clarify, community colleges are smaller institutions focusing on affordable higher education with students earning a two-year associate’s degree, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. Technology colleges are schools that focus on mechanical arts and the applied sciences in a four-year undergraduate program. Colleges, under which SUNY’s University Colleges lie, grant four-year degrees in subjects ranging from the arts to social sciences, from to engineering to communication. Universities provide the same undergraduate degrees as colleges, but also offer graduate degree programs.

    According to SUNY’s “Short History of SUNY” web site, “the first still-active institution of the State University of New York was officially founded at Potsdam in 1816.” New York was the last of the 48 states at the time to establish an entire public school system, in February 1948, the web site said. It has since spread to 64 locations throughout New York State, ranging from local community colleges to graduate schools.

    The web site lists actor Billy Crystal, designer Calvin Klein, Cablevision CEO and Chairman James Dolan, forecaster Al Roker, and NASA astronaut Fernando Caldeiro as graduates from the SUNY system.

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