CUNY In-State Tuition

citizenship questions

How do I qualify for in-state tuition as an undocumented student?

You qualify for in-state tuition if you:

  1. were enrolled in CUNY for the Fall 2001 semester, and qualified for in-state tuition at that time; or
  2. attended a New York State high school for two or more years, graduated, and applied to a CUNY institution within five years of receiving a New York State diploma; or
  3. attended an approved New York State program for the GED exam preparation, received a Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) from New York State, and applied to attend a CUNY institution within five years of receiving the New York State GED.

How do I qualify for in-state tuition as a student with immigration status?

You qualify for in-state tuition if you have resided in New York State for at least one year AND one of the following:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have a permanent resident application pending.  (Note: You must have filed a Form I-485.  Having a pending or approved I-130 or I-140 petition is not sufficient; or
  2. You have asylum, withholding of removal, or refugee status; you have temporary protected status (TPS); the USCIS granted you deferred action status; you are a "late amnesty" applicant; you are a NACARA applicant; or, you are a Cuban or humanitarian parolee; or
  3. You are in one of the following nonimmigrant statuses: A, E, G, H-1B, H-1C, H-4 (where the primary status holder is here in H-1B or H-1C status), I, K, L, N, O, R, S, T, U, or V.

How can I qualify for in-state tuition as an F-1 student?

Students in lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status DO NOT qualify for in-state tuition even if they meet the high school graduation or GED requirement.  If you maintain lawful F-1 status, you can only qualify for in-state tuition if you apply to become a permanent resident by filing USCIS Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) or change to another qualifying status.  If you fall out-of-status, AND you meet the high school graduation or GED requirements you do qualify for in-state tuition.

When do I fall-out-of status if I attended high school in F-1 status?

Students attending high school in F-1 status have I-20 forms (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students) from their high school.  The I-20 indicates an anticipated end-of-studies date.  A student with a high school F-1 will be considered out-of-status when that student's end-of-studies date passes, plus 60 days, unless the student registered for college and received a college I-20 within those 60 days.  If the student received a college I-20, see below.

When do I fall-out-of-status if I have a college I-20 form?

Students who register for college as F-1 students are issued an I-20 form with an end-of-studies date based on anticipated graduation from their college program.  These students are eligible for in-state tuition when they fall out-of-status as reflected in their SEVIS record, provided they meet the other requirements.  Students become out-of-status for the purpose of the in-state tuition rule only if they no longer have a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record indicating that they are in lawful status.

Summary of tuition rules for F-1 students:

For the purposes of CUNY tuition rules, F-1 students with high school I-20 forms become out-of-status 60 days after their I-20 anticipated end-of-studies date.  Students issued college I-20 forms fall out-of-status by failing to maintain their required registration or course load requirements, which would be reflected in their SEVIS record.  An F-1 student who graduates from a New York State high school (after having attended for at least two years) or has passed a New York State GED, qualifies for in-state tuition upon falling out-of-status.


If you are considering falling out of F-1 status just so you can qualify for in-state tuition, BEWARE! Out-of-status students are not eligible for employment authorization.  And falling out-of-status makes you deportable and may make it difficult for you to get permanent residence.

What types of financial help is available for undocumented students at CUNY?

Undocumented students are generally ineligible for state or federal financial aid.  However, they may qualify for certain private scholarships, depending on the requirements.  Please speak with an admissions counselor for information on scholarships, financial assistance, and how to apply to CUNY.  Applications for all CUNY colleges and programs are available online at, and from the Office of Admission Services by calling 1-800-CUNY-YES.

Undocumented students and international students are eligible to apply to the Macaulay Honors College, which offers a full tuition scholarship, a laptop, and a stipend. The Honors College is available only to the most outstanding students. For additional information about the Macaulay Honors College please contact:

Macaulay Honors College
35 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 729-2900
Fax: (212) 580-8130