A special opportunity for Union members and their families

Faces of Labor A portrait exhibit featuring students representing our union partners by Bruce Bundock ‘08

Empire State University logo
Union Privilege



What you need to know:

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Empire State University (aka SUNY Empire) is now offering grants for active or retired union members of the AFL-CIO

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Union member spouses and dependents are also eligible for the grant

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You can also earn credit for life and professional learning

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Additional fees waived for application and credit assessment


  1. Admissions: In order to apply for the grant, you must be admitted to Empire State University. Complete the Request for Information form on this page, and a recruitment specialist will be in contact with you to guide you through the admissions process.

  2. Apply for the grant: After you have been admitted to Empire State University you will need to apply for the grant.

  3. Register for courses: Once you have completed steps 1 and 2 you will register for your undergraduate courses.


If you are ready to speak to someone now, please email us at unionplus@sunyempire.edu or give us a call at 1-800-847-3000.



1: SUNY Credibility

The State University of New York (SUNY) system is one of the largest public higher education system in the United States.

SUNY is world renowned for affordable, high-quality education. 

We are members of the AFL-CIO. We are proud to say these programs are made by unions for unions!

State University of New York logo
Man sitting in front of laptop

2: The Online Advantage

They don’t call us “SUNY’s leading online university” for nothing.

At SUNY Empire, we’ve been pioneering online education since 1995, and we never stopped innovating.

Our online education comes with some key benefits:

  • Flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More freedom
  • The ability to learn on your terms

Plus, our courses are designed to be online. They’re not in-person courses awkwardly squeezed into an online format. We’re online-first, and you’ll reap the benefits of it.

If you want the flexibility and convenience of online education, you’re in the right place.

Now just because your courses are online doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own.

Here are some more ways we support you:

  • Mentorship: Every degree-seeking student gets a mentor. Your mentor is a trusted advisor who helps you along 
         your journey.
  • Opportunity Programs: We have seven opportunity programs that promote equity, inclusion and success for all.
  • Military Support: We’re the largest-serving, four-year military-affiliated institution in the SUNY system.

No matter who you are or what needs you have, we have your back.

3: Won’t Cost You an Arm and a Leg

College can be expensive. This is why SUNY Empire is supporting union members of the AFL-CIO and their families to reduce the cost overall.

A successful career requires you to adapt to change. The affordable, quality education we offer helps you navigate our fast-changing world and futureproof your career.

At SUNY Empire, we make sure you get the most value for your degree. Our tuition costs a fraction of what you would pay at public institutions.

We also offer:

  • Flexible transfer credits
  • Credits for previous education and work experience

… and now grants for union members.

Yes, SUNY Empire is worth it. You get affordability and value, as well as a clear path to a successful career.

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4: More Credits for You

At SUNY Empire, we put your degree within reach. That’s why we award credits for your previous experience toward your degree.

This is another way you can save time and money with SUNY Empire.

Here are some things you can earn credit for:

  • Previous college credit (we’re transfer-friendly)
  • Work experience
  • Certifications
  • Standardized exams
  • Military experience
  • Some online courses
  • Professional development trainings

As a union member, you get your Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA) fee waived. iPLA is a process where we help you find every possible credit you can get based on your prior education and experience.

Depending on your qualifications and experience, iPLA could save you years of coursework and thousands of dollars.

5: 120+ Options for You

With SUNY Empire, you have more than 120 undergraduate programs to choose from.

We offer a wide range of options for students who want to pursue their passions and interests. Most of these programs are flexible, meaning you can customize the courses you take in many cases.

Our undergraduate areas of study include:

Whatever you’re interested in, you can find a program that fits your needs and career goals.