College excited to welcome diverse and academically strong class for in-person fall 2021 semester

More than 1,000 first-year students and about 700 transfer students will join the SUNY New Paltz community for an in-person semester this fall, marking a significant step toward a return to pre-pandemic campus life for our students, faculty and staff.

This year’s incoming class will join nearly 6,000 continuing undergraduate and graduate students at New Paltz, creating a near-normal enrollment picture despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

“Our new students have overcome profound hardship during the pandemic, demonstrating incredible perseverance and commitment to service while maintaining focus on their academics,” said Jeff Gant, vice president for enrollment management. “This incoming class is full of students who have been highly involved in their communities as volunteers, artists, actors, entrepreneurs, athletes, and activists. They are excited to be on campus and eager to safely engage with their peers and professors.”


The fall 2021 incoming class at a glance

Some key facts about the newest SUNY New Paltz students:

Our new students come from diverse backgrounds

About 40% of all new first-year and transfer students at New Paltz this fall represent traditionally underrepresented demographic groups, including about 25% of incoming students who identify as Hispanic.

Our new students are academically accomplished and well-prepared

Average high school GPA for first-year students: 91.5
Average college GPA for transfer students: 3.3

Our new students are looking at a wide variety of majors

The most popular majors for new first-year students include Psychology, Early Childhood/ Childhood Education, Biology, Communication Disorders, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering.

The most popular majors for new transfer students include Psychology, Early Childhood/ Childhood Education, Visual Arts, English, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering.

Some of our new students came a long way to study here

The majority (about 95%) of our incoming students are from New York, as our primary role remains that of a regional public university. However, our campus community and program offerings draw students to New Paltz from regions across the U.S., including Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia.


Welcoming the return of international students to SUNY New Paltz

The College is welcoming more than 80 new international students to our campus community this fall. With just a few exceptions, these students either already have a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, or will be provided with the opportunity to get one immediately upon arrival to campus. Testing and quarantine policies are also in effect as part of new international student orientation.

While study abroad remains on hold for the fall 2021 semester, our Center for International Programs is continuing to work with domestic and international partners to provide students with global learning experiences in online or hybrid formats.

There are encouraging signs at the national level as well, as articulated in the recent joint statement of principles issued by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, titled “A Renewed U.S. Commitment to International Education.”


COVID-19 policies at SUNY New Paltz this fall

Fall 2021 will be our first fully in-person semester since the pandemic began in early 2020. This incoming class is joining a campus community that’s in the process of moving away from some pandemic restrictions, and adapting to other new ones.

Per SUNY policy, a vaccine mandate for students will take effect when one of the vaccines gets full FDA approval. A new policy for all New York State employees, including SUNY employees, requires them to either vaccinate or get tested weekly, effective Labor Day. Medical and religious exemptions are available.

Our campus will continue requiring masks in indoor spaces for all students, faculty, staff and guests – vaccinated and unvaccinated – for the start of the fall 2021 semester. This policy responds to new CDC recommendations on masking, and the rise of the Delta variant in Ulster County and other areas of New York where members of our community reside.

Other policies will differ for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on campus. Students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated will not be subject to mandatory surveillance testing, nor will they need to participate in the College’s online Daily COVID-19 Screening. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff must test weekly and must complete the Screening every day they are on campus.

The College will continue to work with our local department of health, the state health department and SUNY to monitor the virus. As pandemic conditions evolve, we may make further changes this fall.

More information on fall 2021 COVID-19 policies at SUNY New Paltz are available at this link.