SUNY ends 'felony' checkbox on student applications

Sep 16, 2016

Leaders of New York's public university system say they have struck the right balance between college access and student safety with their decision to stop asking applicants about their criminal history.

Credit pbs.org

Instead, students will be asked to declare a prior felony conviction only after they have been accepted to a State University of New York college and only when they seek campus housing or participation in things like internships and study abroad programs.

The SUNY Board of Trustees' action Wednesday comes amid increasing national calls to "ban the box" from college admissions and job applications.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is among supporters, saying that a majority of candidates who are asked to disclose prior felony convictions on SUNY admissions applications do not complete the process.

The change is also being hailed by prison re-entry and "Ban the Box" advocates, who say the requirement to disclose any criminal history often prevents those with a record from getting the education needed to re-enter the workforce.