Undergraduate Admissions

Admission shall be without regard to sex, age, race and ethnicity, color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or marital status. The two principal requirements for admission as an undergraduate are:

  • Possession of a regionally accredited high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • The ability of SUNY Empire State College to meet the applicant’s explicit and implicit educational needs and objectives.

Although the majority of applicants to the college are admitted, the college reserves the right to deny admission based on its inability to meet an applicant’s needs. An applicant wishing to secure certain professional licensures or certificates may be denied admission because the college does not offer such programs. SUNY Empire State College does not use standardized test scores as part of its application for admissions. You can apply online.

Undergraduate Admissions Procedures

Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. All application materials including all previous college transcripts must be received before the deadline to guarantee review of your application for your term of choice. Once your application is complete, if space is not available for that term, you will be eligible to enroll in the next available term.

The college has a three-term academic calendar with application deadlines for each of the three terms as follows.

Term Application Deadlines
Fall July 27
Spring Nov. 30
Summer March 22

Some programs may not be able to accommodate all students.1 Potential students are, therefore, urged to apply well in advance of their desired enrollment term date. Applicants who do not complete the application and orientation process in one year will need to reapply.


After applicants have been admitted, they will be invited to attend an orientation session either in person at their location of choice, Skype or through an online self-paced orientation. The orientation is an important introduction to the college, and it includes:

  • An explanation of the educational philosophy of the college;
  • A description of the academic and administrative policies and procedures of the college;
  • Preliminary discussion with the faculty and staff;
  • An opportunity to raise any questions about the college that have been stimulated by preliminary reading materials; and
  • An opportunity for online students to become familiar with the online course management system.

Readmission Procedures

Students in good academic and financial standing who have previously attended the college may re-enroll at their location up to three calendar years from the date on which their last enrollment ended. Students who wish to re-enroll more than three years after their last enrollment must reapply. Reapplication includes paying the nonrefundable $50 orientation fee, submitting proof of regionally accredited high school completion and resubmitting transcripts from previous institutions.

Nonmatriculated Undergraduate Students

Resources and space permitting, the college allows students to enroll in credit bearing studies or courses as nonmatriculated students. Financial aid is not available for nonmatriculated study. Also, students who ultimately wish to earn a degree from Empire State College are advised to limit nonmatriculated study, as the studies may not be appropriate to a future degree program.

To take courses as a nondegree or nonmatriculated student, please fill out the application for nondegree study.

State Authorization for the Provision of Online Education

Federal regulations require that colleges and universities that participate in Title IV funding and offer degree programming through distance or online education to students in other states, must seek approval from those states to offer such programs.

SUNY Empire State College is working to comply with each state’s regulations and to maintain the necessary authorizations to continue providing our online degree programs. As a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), SUNY Empire State College is authorized to offer its online degree programs to residents of all other NC-SARA participating states. A complete list of states that are participants of NC-SARA can be found on their website.

If a state or U.S. territory is not participating in NC-SARA, please visit our State Authorization for the Provision of Online Education web page to check on the status of SUNY Empire State College’s authorization in your state of residence. All states are considered “registration approved” unless listed otherwise. If your state is not currently approved, we cannot accept your application for admission to an online degree program at this time.

Complaint Resolution

SUNY Empire State College, as a provider of distance or online education, is required by the United States Department of Education to provide all prospective and current out-of-state students with contact information for the appropriate agency in their home state that handles complaints against institutions offering distance learning within that state.

Students are encouraged to follow the college’s student problem resolution process prior to filing a complaint with a state agency.

For further information, please visit the Non-New York Residents page.

International Student Services

SUNY Empire State College is authorized under federal law to issue Department of Homeland Security Form I-20 documents to nonimmigrant students. SUNY Empire State College limits its issuance of the I-20 document to Canadian non-immigrant students who wish to study in the U.S. at one of our programs as border commuter students. Students who wish to travel to the U.S. to study should see other State University of New York options on the SUNY Web site.

Students can earn a degree with SUNY Empire State College from wherever they live in the world entirely online through our international distance learning options. To learn more, please visit the SUNY Empire Online web site.

Canadian Border Commuter Student Admission

Canadian students who maintain their residence in Canada and travel to the U.S. for required residencies, orientations or meetings with their mentors are considered border commuter students and must apply for admission to the college and meet the following additional admission documentation requirements:

  • Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate that they have sufficient English proficiency to study at Empire State College. Applicants may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please visit our international students web page for:
  • Test score information;
  • Proof of financial ability to pay for tuition;
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.

Canadian transcripts must be in English and from institutions approved by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or Canadian Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT). These transcripts must be submitted directly from the issuing institution to Empire State College. High school documents must show the approval of the ministry of education. All other transcripts from non-U.S. educational documents must be evaluated by one of these approved evaluation services: Academic Evaluation Services, Inc. (AES); Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE); Educational Perspectives (EP); World Education Services (WES). Evaluation reports must be submitted directly from one of the above services to the college. Copies of evaluations sent by the student will not be accepted.

I-20 Information

Canadian border commuter students must obtain an I-20 to study in the U.S. Canadian citizens are not required to apply for or hold an F-1 student visa in order to enter the U.S., however, permanent residents of Canada who are not Canadian citizens will need to apply for a F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate once they have applied for and received their initial I-20 from the college.

Canadian border commuter students accepted to the college are entered into the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), generating the student’s I-20. All international students who are issued an I-20 document are required to pay the federal SEVIS fee. The current fee is $200 and must be paid directly to the U.S. government. More information on the SEVIS fee and how to pay it is available on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's I-901 SEVIS Fee web page. Students are required to present receipt of this payment when they cross into the U.S. Border commuter students are issued a new I-20 each term, but are not required to pay the SEVIS fee for each consecutive term they are in attendance. If a student does not maintain status for each consecutive term, he or she will be required to pay a new SEVIS fee when issued a new I-20.

To cross the border, students are required to have a valid passport, an I-20 issued for the current term, their SEVIS fee receipt and their financial documents.

Border-commuter students must attend classes on a part-time basis and should submit new financial documents to the International Student Services coordinator every term, in order to receive a new I-20 for that term.

Students should contact the International Student Services coordinator once they have registered for their program so that their registration is entered into SEVIS, demonstrating that they are in status. The earliest border commuter student may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start of the term.

Canadian border commuter students are not eligible for financial aid, college-sponsored scholarships or employment while studying with SUNY Empire State College. Border commuter students are always considered nonresidents for tuition purposes. Border commuter students are not allowed to establish residency in the U.S.

For visa or international student questions, please contact the International Student Services coordinator at Erin.Barrett@esc.edu or toll free at 800-847-3000, ext. 2771.

For regular admissions requirements visit the Admissions Requirements web page. Please visit the international students web page for more detailed information on Canadian border commuter student admissions requirements, including demonstration of financial resources and evaluation of non-U.S. credentials. All documents should be mailed to Admissions, SUNY Empire State College, 2 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-4390, Attention: International Student Liaison, U.S.A.

To Find Out More

You can obtain information about the college in a number of ways:

  • Information about online information sessions and phone information sessions are available by calling the Student Information Center (SIC) at 800-847-3000.
  • Visit the college’s website.
  • Visit one of the more than 20 locations across New York state.
  • Request information by writing to:
    SUNY Empire State College
    111 West Ave.
    Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-6069
    or calling:
    or email us at:

To Apply Online

To apply, visit the college’s admissions web page.