2021 Financial Condition Report

For Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2021

Higher Education

2021 Financial Condition Report
For Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2021


  • In spring 2021, New York State higher education enrollment totaled 943,336. This represents a 5.2 percent decrease from the previous year compared to a 3.5 percent decline nationwide. In spring 2020, such decreases from the year before were 2.0 and 0.5 percent, respectively.
  • Online course enrollment for the State University of New York (SUNY) increased by 13.6 percent in the 2019-20 academic year from the previous period. The increase in online instruction in 2018-19 academic year was 5.6 percent. Of the 220,103 students in 2019-20 academic year that enrolled in online instruction, 30 percent attended exclusively through this means and 70 percent used some but not all online instruction.


Costs and Financial Assistance

  • In the 2020-21 academic year, average costs of tuition and fees for full-time, in-state students for SUNY and the City University of New York (CUNY) were:
    • SUNY, $8,810 ($5,840 for two-year colleges); and
    • CUNY, $7,405 ($5,275 for two-year colleges).
  • In the 2019-20 academic year, an estimated 297,661 students received State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards, totaling $838.3 million. New York State also provided an estimated 66,406 other scholarships and awards totaling almost $201 million in aid, including 32,000 Excelsior scholarships totaling $130 million.
  • The increase from 2015-16 to 2020-21 in average in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges has been more modest in New York compared to the nation. These amounts grew from $7,640 to $8,500 in New York and from $9,410 to $10,560 for the United States overall.
  • According to the College Board, in SFY 2020-21, the State spent $312 per resident on higher education, ranking 19th in the nation for higher education spending per capita.
  • According to the Federal Reserve, the student loan debt balance per capita in the State grew by 11.0 percent from 2016 to 2020, slower than the 13.4 percent rate of growth for the nation during the same period. The percent of the student loan debt balance in New York State that was 90 or more days delinquent (and in default) was 4.5 percent in 2020, down from 8.4 percent in 2019 and 8.9 percent in 2016. These figures are lower than national averages of 6.4 percent in 2020 and 11.1 percent in 2016. The 2020 figures reflect federal COVID-19 emergency flexibilities that include a suspension of federal student loan payments, 0 percent interest rate and stopped collections on defaulted loans until January 31, 2022.