Albany, NY (WIVT/WBGH)– Today the State University of New York today announced an incentive program that will grant an additional $1,000 to each student eligible for New York State’s Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI) who is not already receiving benefits. The initiative, which will run through May 2023, was established specifically for students who have experienced foster care or are orphans. FYCSI funding can be used towards college costs including housing, meals, and transportation among other expenses.

In order to protect student privacy, state rules require students to self-report their foster background. SUNY’s incentive program seeks to encourage students to sign up to ensure that every eligible student receives the state’s financial aid, benefits, and other supports that are a part of the initiative. A student may self-report at any time during their college education.

“We don’t want any student to go without financial aid and services that will help them achieve their academic goals,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Chancellor. “New York State has made a considerable investment in higher education, and for whatever reasons, too many SUNY students from foster care backgrounds have not claimed the funding and support they deserve. I hope this $1,000 incentive encourages more students to unlock these benefits.”

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, “The foster youth college success initiative is a tremendous help to our youth. Youth who have been in foster care have financial and support needs that these badly needed funds will provide. We encourage all youth and young adults who are eligible to reach out so we can help you succeed.”

The SUNY program coincides with a campaign launched today to raise awareness about the educational opportunities available for the foster community. Eligible students may start by visiting or by working with their campus financial aid team to complete the FYCSI process. New York State’s longstanding Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) has also been revised to make it easier for students to self-report that they are eligible for FYCSI.

Once enrolled in FYCSI, each student receives financial assistance in addition to financial aid they may receive from TAP and Pell Grants. FYCSI supports include:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Meals and Housing, including recess/intersession housing
  • Books and Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Advisement, Tutoring, and Academic Support
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional services and academic supports through SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program

Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said, “We’re pleased to be part of this important SUNY initiative. Every year Buffalo State enrolls several students who have lived in the foster care system. Without the financial and emotional support typically provided in the home, these youth face multiple challenges. Considering that young people age out of the system right when it’s time to apply to college, it’s no wonder many fall through the cracks and never make it to a college campus. At Buffalo State, we pride ourselves on making a four-year education available to students from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. This initiative will help us reach more students who grew up in this particular and often difficult circumstance.”

Hudson Valley Community College President Dr. Roger Ramsammy said, “As the Capital Region’s largest community college, Hudson Valley is committed to providing opportunities for every member of our community who wants to pursue a college education, especially those who face additional barriers on the path to higher education. Programs like the Foster Youth College Success Initiative, that connect underserved communities to the resources they need to make a college affordable and attainable, are a key part of ensuring that all students are able to achieve their goals. We at Hudson Valley support this work wholeheartedly and are applaud SUNY for its leadership on this important initiative.”


All students – regardless of immigration status – are eligible to access funding and resources through FYCSI, if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Are currently a resident of New York State;
  • Became a foster youth, orphan, or ward of the court at any time after their 13th birthday. Students will have to present official documentation from the family court, a school official, a caseworker, or a foster care agency or death certificates to confirm they are/were a foster youth, orphaned or a ward of the court; and
  • Are admitted and enrolled in a SUNY college or university.

About The State University of New York The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit