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Free and Reduced-Cost NYU Summer Programs for High Schoolers


While summer programs can be great experiences that prepare high schoolers for the next phase of their lives, unfortunately, they are often accompanied by hefty price tags. With limited financial aid options, students from lower incomes are often left behind. Fortunately, NYU has several free and/or subsidized programs that offer high-quality education and door-opening experiences to kids who might not otherwise have such opportunities. Let’s take a look at NYU’s summer programs designed specifically for high schoolers from low incomes and underrepresented identities:  

NYU College Access Leadership Institute

Tailored to students from underrepresented communities and first-generation college hopefuls, this six-day online program helps rising juniors and seniors navigate the college application process. Participants attend workshops and seminars with NYU Admissions counselors to learn about developing a list of colleges, standardized test prep, writing application essays, and applying for scholarships. Applications must contain an online form, a high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, and an essay. The program is tuition-free.     

NYU, Urban Journalism Workshop

Aspiring journalists in the larger NYC metro area may be interested in NYU’s Urban Journalism Workshop, a ten-day intensive program designed to introduce young people to the broader New York journalism community. Students meet with top journalists, visit New York newsrooms, report on stories, learn about multimedia applications in journalism, and publish their work. The program is free to admitted students. Open to rising juniors and seniors, applications close on June 1 and must contain high school transcripts and an application fee. 

Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)

Open to rising juniors and seniors who live in New York City, ARISE is a seven-week STEM intensive that teaches students the fundamentals of scientific writing, research, and ethics. Participants will also have access to research labs dedicated to fields like Bioengineering, Molecular Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Robotics, AI, Machine Learning, and more. This is a free-to-attend residential program that is designed so that students from underrepresented communities can have greater access to high-quality STEM education. In addition, students receive a stipend of at least $750 upon successful completion of the internship. Initial applications open on November 22 and consist of demographic information, academic records, a preferred STEM area statement, a support letter, and application essays.  

Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP)

STEP is a state-funded STEM college readiness program that is open to “African American, Hispanic/Latino, Alaskan Native or American Indian and economically disadvantaged White or Asian middle and high school students” in the New York City area. The program introduces students to a variety of core STEM fields, prepares them for college applications, and provides mentorship. In addition to STEM fields, STEP also provides an English seminar to equip students with the writing and critical thinking skills that they’ll need to be successful in college applications and beyond. This low-cost program charges the families of accepted students just $350.00 in tuition. Successful applicants must demonstrate strong GPAs, and New York State residency, and submit an online application form. Applications close on March 24th. 


While many other NYU summer programs offer financial aid, these programs set themselves apart by guaranteeing financial aid for all accepted students. Income and identity should never serve as a barrier to education. These programs make it their goal to provide transformative education and cultivate the skills to succeed in talented New York high schoolers, regardless of their background.