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SEEK stands for Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge. It is the higher education opportunity program at the senior (four year) CUNY colleges. College Discovery (CD) is the higher education opportunity program at the two year CUNY colleges. The programs were established to provide comprehensive academic support to assist capable students who otherwise might not be able to attend college due to their educational and financial circumstances. Students are admitted without regard to age, sex, sexual orientation, race, disability, or creed.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for SEEK, you must:

  • be a legal resident of New York State for at least one year prior to entering college;
  • be a high school graduate or recipient of a state-approved equivalency diploma;
  • be a first-time freshman or previously enrolled in an HEOP or EOP program;
  • have a gross family income that meets the New York State guidelines;
  • be inadmissible according to the freshman admissions criteria established for the CUNY senior college you want to attend.
How do I apply?
You must complete the Special Programs (SEEK and College Discovery) section of the CUNY Freshman Admission Application (questions 17-20), either through a paper application or on-line at You must also complete the Financial Aid Student Application (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be submitted in paper form or (for a faster response) electronically through the Internet at You should list all of the CUNY colleges you are considering in step 6 of your FAFSA. Be aware that not all eligible students are accepted to SEEK; therefore, you should submit your applications early to increase your chances of being accepted.
If I am accepted, what’s next?
Admission to SEEK or College Discovery is conditional until you have done the following:
  • taken the University basic skills assessment tests in reading, writing, and mathematics unless you are exempted based on your SAT and/or Regents scores;
  • attended a summer pre-freshman program if you do not meet the University requirements in all three skills;
  • provided required documents that prove your economic eligibility for SEEK; and
  • contacted the SEEK Program at the campus you will be attending to get additional requirements.
I didn’t know about SEEK when I started college, but I’m sure I was eligible, can I apply now?
No. Unfortunately, there are many cases where eligible students were not aware of the Program when they applied to college or who didn’t know that SEEK or College Discovery is designed for first time college students. If you’ve earned college credits since graduating high school, you are not eligible to receive SEEK or College Discovery support services.
Are any transfer applicants eligible?
Yes. Students who were previously enrolled in another New York State higher education opportunity program--SEEK (at CUNY four-year colleges), College Discovery (at CUNY two-year colleges), HEOP (at private colleges), or EOP(at SUNY colleges)--are eligible to transfer into SEEK or College Discovery provided they have remaining semesters of eligibility. You will need to complete a transfer request form at your home college.
What are the benefits of being a SEEK or College Discovery student?
In addition to the services the college provides to regularly admitted students, SEEK and College Discovery offer an array of instructional, financial, and counseling support services to its students. Program activities are designed to assist students in meeting the challenges of college and to provide a supportive environment in which they will flourish.
Are there any additional responsibilities that I will have if I enter SEEK?
Yes. The Program is committed to your success and will expect you to use the services it provides to help you earn a degree. While specific program offerings differ, all campuses have requirements regarding participation in academic and counseling support activities. The overwhelming majority of Program students who excel give credit to SEEK and/or College Discovery for the academic and personal support they give.
How can I get more information?
Each of the eleven senior CUNY campuses has a SEEK Program. Each of the six CUNY community colleges has a College Discovery Program. Their websites can be accessed at SEEK and College Discovery offices are welcoming places. Visit the SEEK or College Discovery Program on your campus of choice.


SEEK Guidelines

Reference to the household income scale not be made if the student falls into one of the following categories and documentation is available:

  • The student's family is the recipient of (1) Family Assistance Program Aid; or (2) Safety Net Assistance through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, or a county department of social services; or (3) family day-care payments through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services or a county department of social services; or
  • The student is living with foster parents who do not provide support for college, and no monies are provided from the natural parents; or
  • The student is a ward of the State or a county.
*Total Annual Income
Income means all taxable and nontaxable funds that are received by the household for general use. Such funds may be derived from sources such as wages, dividends, interest, Social Security, disability pensions, veterans benefits, and unemployment benefits. For purposes of determining Special Programs eligibility, total annual income is the total received, e.g., the line for "Total Income" on Federal tax returns (IRS forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040) plus any other untaxed sources of income the family may have.

The following shall
not constitute income: (1) Monies received specifically for educational purposes from sources such as veteran's cost of education benefits, and education grants from the Office of Vocational Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID); (2)Social service or public assistance payments received through the Family Assistance Program, or Safety Net Assistance Program and Family Day-Care Payments.

The family income figures apply to the applicant's income only when he/she meets the federal definition of independent. The income of any independent student (and spouse) during the base year must meet the family income scale.

You are planning on transferring and were not in an opportunity program at your original college. Can you apply for an opportunity program now?
No. You must have been accepted into and participate in an opportunity program when you first begin college.

* Please note: Space and availability are limited in these programs, so if you qualify and would like to apply to them, make certain to apply promptly! Review specific instructions and guidelines, usually found in the application materials of participating schools.

* Links to external Websites and information are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.