SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) is a New York State program at CUNY’s senior and comprehensive colleges designed to assist students who are both academically and financially disadvantaged. CD (College Discovery) is the companion program funded by the City of New York at the community colleges.


To receive SEEK or CD funding students must complete both the FAFSA and TAP applications and must register as a full-time student. Admission into the SEEK or CD program is part of the CUNY admissions process.


A typical opportunity program student begins by taking both credit and non-credit courses, depending upon his/her level in reading, writing, mathematics and speech/communications skills. The SEEK and College Discovery programs offer a pre-freshman summer program that students must attend for 6 weeks with instruction in reading, writing, math and sciences as well as programs including basic skills, for students throughout their undergraduate studies. Tutoring is offered on an individual or small group basis with flexible hours adapted to students’ schedules. Opportunity program students whose native language is not English will take English as a second language. These courses enable them to improve their English while taking courses in regular subjects.


Opportunity program counselors assist throughout the school year with academic career, personal, and financial aid problems. They also conduct freshman orientation classes, seminars, workshops, and conferences for opportunity program students.

Financial Assistance

Opportunity program students receive various forms of financial aid. Tuition is usually paid through TAP. Federal Pell grants assist in paying non-tuition costs. Opportunity program students who have properly documented financial need may also receive a stipend (fixed amount) to cover books and college costs.

For students first entering college between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019

Academic Year: 2018-2019

Number of members in Household
(including head of household)
Total Annual Household Income
1 $22,311
2 $30,044
3 $37,777
4 $45,510
5 $53,243
6 $60,976
7 $68,709
Add $7,733 for each family member in excess of 7

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.