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Governor Cuomo Announces $3.2 Million to Promote College Access to Low Income Students

December 08, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $3.2 million in federal College Access Challenge Grant Program funding has been awarded to 20 organizations across the State to help increase college enrollment and directly serve low-income students. This funding comes from a $6.2 million grant awarded to the State in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and will be administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. A $6.5 million grant was also awarded in 2014 and will be used to support college access services and activities for the 2015-16 school year.

“Increasing access to higher education for all New Yorkers is a top priority of this administration, and this funding will help put more lower income students on track for a college career,” Governor Cuomo said. “Working with our partners in government, we will continue to invest in our home-grown talent to provide students with the education they deserve.”

The funding from the College Access Grant Challenge Program will support strategies for student success through five projects implemented at specific organizations across the State:

  • Providing college-ready, low-income students with customized information and assistance throughout the college application process, and match students to colleges that best align with their academic potential. Award recipients for this project are:
    • Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY - $49,988
    • New York City Outward Bound Center, Inc., LIC, NY - $183,772
    • Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY - $85,000
  • Facilitating FAFSA completion to help low-income students access financial aid. Award recipients for this project are:
    • New Settlement Apartments (The Crenulated Company, Ltd.) Bronx, NY - $124,740
    • Veterans Outreach Center, Inc., Rochester - NY $72,980
    • D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY - $72,898
    • YMCA of Greater New York, New York, NY- $136,860
  • Providing intensive college preparation, enrollment and persistence counseling, coaching and direction on the transition to college beginning in middle school through the end of freshman year of college. Award recipients for this project are:
    • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY - $75,000
    • Yonkers Partners in Education, Yonkers, NY - $492,489
    • Long Island University – Brooklyn, Greenvale, NY - $49,680
    • Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, Queens, NY - $49,680
    • Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Bronx, NY - $162,535
    • Good Shepherd Services, New York, NY - $213,900
    • Harlem Center for Education, Inc., New York, NY - $74,897
    • Sunnyside Community Services, Sunnyside, NY - $109,179
    • Bottom Line, Inc., Brooklyn, NY - $200,000
    • SUNY College at Farmingdale, Farmingdale, NY - $270,000
  • Reconnecting adult learners to postsecondary education opportunities through services that increase their college completion rates and reduce time to complete their degrees. Award recipients for this project are:
    • Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, Albany, NY - $270,941
    • Orange County Community College – SUNY, Middletown, NY - $53,630
  • Establishing new and creative uses of technology to increase college opportunities for low-income students. The award recipient for this project is:
    • Excelsior College, Albany, NY - $449,439

Details about the College Access Innovation Grants can be found at HESC.ny.gov/CACG.

“Through these college access grants, New York has been able to work in partnership with exceptional community-based organizations to provide low-income students with the tools and motivation to plan for, apply to and graduate from college,” said Elsa Magee, Acting President of HESC. “Over the past 6 years, New York State has successfully applied for six awards totaling $35.5 million, which has allowed us to continue to support students in their communities. We’re pleased to be able to continue that support through the program’s final year.”

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for his unyielding commitment to opening doors for students in our community to gain access to higher education. Ensuring college access is the greatest investment we can make to help them succeed. In Congress I will keep fighting for legislative efforts to make college affordable to everyone in our great State and Nation."

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, “A person’s income should never limit their potential or access to higher education, especially if that person is a veteran of the U.S. military. I am glad that we are undertaking a comprehensive effort to make college more affordable, and especially thankful that the Veterans Outreach Center will be able to help local veterans access a college education. As chairwoman of the House Rules Committee in 2009, I was proud to bring the Post-9/11 GI bill – legislation that expanded opportunities for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to go to college – to the House floor for a vote. We must continue to support our veterans and invest in accessible higher education, just as this grant does.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said, “College graduates generally earn more than those who only have a high school diploma, but higher education is still a distant dream for far too many low-income students. These federal funds will help make college more accessible by giving students the guidance they need to navigate the financial aid process and better prepare for college. Yonkers Partners in Education has worked hard to provide these types of services, and I am pleased that they are among the recipients.”

Congressman José E. Serrano said, “Oftentimes, promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds can’t reach the next academic level simply because they don’t have access to the information, counseling, and resources they need to apply to college. We have to invest in these students to help them reach their full potential. The funds announced today by Governor Cuomo will help thousands of New York City students, including students from the Bronx, access greater academic opportunities and successfully graduate from college.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “Many deserving students are unable to attend college simply because they cannot afford the rising costs. I am pleased my district has been selected to receive a CACG grant so that low–income New Yorkers will have the support to start down the pathway to success. These grants strengthen our community and the city as a whole. New York ought to be a place where good students, no matter their income, can afford to go to college. Those who aspire to the highest levels of education are vital to enriching our world, and we should do all we can to empower them.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for taking a bold step to help young people afford higher education. A college education is the gateway to better opportunities in life. This much-needed funding will help thousands of low-income and at risk students who might otherwise be unable to gain access to the halls of higher learning. Applying to college can be daunting without someone to help guide you. With these newly allocated funds the state is taking steps towards demystifying the process so that everyone has a fair shot at improving their future.”

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “Tuition and college costs can be a significant hurdle for working families and young people seeking a college education. I am pleased to see these federal resources go to community-based organizations that are dedicated to helping more New Yorkers overcome financial barriers and obtain a college degree.”

Congressman Joe Crowley said, “Making college more accessible is fundamental to closing the opportunity gap that exists for our low-income communities. At a time when rising tuition costs are hindering our youth from pursuing higher education, these federal grants will go a long way toward making sure students are not only taking advantage of any financial assistance available to them but that they are also adequately prepared for college entry. An investment in education is an investment in our future and I thank Governor Cuomo and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation for making sure these support programs are there for those who need them.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Financial barriers should never dictate whether or not a student can pursue higher education. Western New York is home to some of the best colleges and technical schools in the nation, attracting students from around the world. It is important that we provide as many resources as possible to first generation and low income students to receive the financial assistance to apply, attend, and advance at these institutions.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said, “To secure economic prosperity for future generations, college must be an opportunity to all Americans, instead of just accessible to a privileged few. Here in the Capital Region and across the nation, institutions like Excelsior College and Trinity Alliance execute phenomenal programs that develop our communities and prepare New Yorkers for the next step in their careers – but they need our support. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing that quality and affordable access to higher education is the key to a happy and successful life maintaining a well-trained workforce in nationwide.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “Each and every New Yorker deserves the opportunity to further their education and achieve the American dream. This investment for SUNY Orange removes barriers to a college education that stop too many adults from achieving a college education, while growing our middle class and boosting our economy.”

About HESC: HESC is New York State’s student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At HESC’s core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. HESC puts college within the reach of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors. In 2013-14, HESC helped more than 388,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $984 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $935.5 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

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