With over 20 state schools and 64 community colleges, the SUNY (State University of New York) system is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. If you’re wondering whether Syracuse University is one of New York’s renowned SUNY schools, read on for a detailed answer.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: No, Syracuse University is a private university and not part of the SUNY system.

Overview of SUNY Schools

SUNY, also known as the State University of New York, is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York State. It is made up of 64 campuses, including community colleges, colleges, and universities, serving more than 1.3 million students.

The SUNY system is renowned for its commitment to providing accessible, affordable, and high-quality education to students from all backgrounds.

History and founding of SUNY

SUNY was established in 1948 under Governor Thomas E. Dewey with the goal of expanding educational opportunities across the state. The system was created through the merger of 29 existing state-supported institutions, including teachers’ colleges, agricultural schools, and technical institutes.

This consolidation allowed for the sharing of resources and expertise, leading to greater efficiency and a wider range of educational programs.

Campuses and enrollment

The SUNY system is spread across New York State, with campuses located in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Each campus has its own unique character, offering a diverse array of academic programs and extracurricular activities.

The enrollment at SUNY schools varies, with larger universities like SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook having tens of thousands of students, while smaller colleges have a more intimate and close-knit community.

According to SUNY’s official website, the total enrollment across the SUNY system in the fall of 2020 was over 430,000 students. This makes SUNY one of the largest university systems in the United States.

Academics, rankings, and reputation

SUNY schools are known for their strong academic programs and commitment to research and innovation. The system offers a wide range of majors and degree programs, including liberal arts, sciences, business, engineering, and health professions.

SUNY schools are also recognized for their affordability and value, with tuition rates that are often lower than private institutions.

Many SUNY schools consistently rank among the top colleges and universities in the nation. For example, SUNY Stony Brook is ranked among the top 100 universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

SUNY Binghamton is also highly regarded for its programs in business and engineering, regularly appearing on lists of the best public universities.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York. It is often mistaken for being a part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system due to its location and similar academic programs.

However, Syracuse University is not affiliated with the SUNY system and operates independently.

History and founding

Syracuse University was founded in 1870 by a group of Methodist ministers and businessmen who aimed to establish a university that would provide a high-quality education in the liberal arts and sciences.

The university’s early years were marked by rapid growth and the establishment of several schools and colleges. Today, Syracuse University is recognized as one of the leading private research institutions in the United States.


Syracuse University has a main campus located in the University Hill neighborhood of Syracuse, as well as additional campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. The main campus is spread across 721 acres and features a blend of historic and modern buildings.

The university’s New York City campus, known as the Fisher Center, offers programs in communications, business, and the arts. The Los Angeles campus, known as the SULA Semester, provides students with the opportunity to study and intern in the heart of the entertainment industry.

Academics and student life

Syracuse University offers a wide range of academic programs across its schools and colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

The university is known for its strong programs in fields such as journalism, engineering, and visual and performing arts.

Outside of the classroom, Syracuse University provides students with a vibrant and diverse campus life. There are over 300 student organizations and clubs, ranging from academic and professional groups to cultural and recreational organizations.

The university also has a strong athletic program, with teams competing in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference.

For more information about Syracuse University, you can visit their official website here.

Key Differences Between SUNY and Syracuse

Public vs. private

One of the key differences between the State University of New York (SUNY) schools and Syracuse University is their institutional status. SUNY schools are public institutions, meaning they are funded by the state government and often have lower tuition rates for in-state students.

On the other hand, Syracuse University is a private institution, which means it relies on tuition, donations, and grants to fund its operations.

Size and scale

SUNY schools are known for their large size and wide range of academic programs. With campuses scattered throughout New York State, SUNY is one of the largest university systems in the United States. Syracuse University, on the other hand, has a smaller student population and offers a more focused selection of academic programs.

This allows for a more intimate and personalized learning experience.

Cost of attendance

When it comes to the cost of attendance, SUNY schools generally have lower tuition rates compared to private institutions like Syracuse University. In-state students often benefit from significantly reduced tuition rates at SUNY schools, making them a more affordable option for New York residents.

However, it’s important to consider other factors such as financial aid and scholarships when comparing the overall cost of attending these institutions.

Academic offerings and specialties

SUNY schools offer a wide range of academic programs, allowing students to choose from a variety of majors and fields of study. Syracuse University, on the other hand, is known for its strong programs in areas such as communications, business, and the arts.

This specialization allows Syracuse to provide students with a focused and in-depth education in these particular fields.


In summary, while Syracuse University is a large, respected research university located in New York, it is a private institution and not part of the SUNY system. The SUNY system offers affordable public education to New York residents, while Syracuse is an independent, private university with higher tuition costs.

Both SUNY and Syracuse provide quality academics and a range of programs, but have key differences in their founding, governance, scale, and cost of attendance.

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