ALBANY -- The State University of New York system will no longer require student applicants to disclose prior felony convictions during the admissions process.
After admission, students will only be asked to reveal a prior conviction if they are seeking on-campus housing, studying abroad or looking to participate in field experience or internships.
The SUNY Board of Trustees voted for the change on Wednesday. The new policy is expected to begin with the 2018 admissions cycle.
“The State University of New York is committed to providing all New Yorkers the broadest possible access to quality public higher education, including those who have succeeded through the justice system following a felony conviction,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall in a statement.
SUNY Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc Cohen said the change will provide all students with an equal opportunity at higher education.
“The stigma behind criminal offenses might be part of a student's past, but we, the SUNY Student Assembly, believe in a path forward,” Cohen said in a statement.
Last year, the SUNY Board of Trustees created a "Ban the Box Workgroup" to coincide with the national “Ban the Box” movement spearheaded by President Obama.
SUNY, the largest higher education system in the country with 64 campuses, said it is part of 61 higher education institutions and systems that have taken the "Fair Change Higher Education Pledge" -- which aims to reduce violence and provide second chances to troubled youth.