Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2 million in awards to 22 programs across New York State to help low-income and first-generation students, foster care youth, veterans and other underrepresented groups obtain a college degree.
The grants are funded through a $7 million College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) award received by New York State from the U.S. Department of Education. New Yorks CACG program is administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the states financial aid agency that helps students pay for college.
"These funds are going directly to local, community-based organizations to help underrepresented and low-income students prepare to enroll and succeed in college," Governor Cuomo said. "In today's economy, a college degree is almost always needed to secure meaningful employment and launch a successful career, and communities across New York will benefit as more students from all social and economic backgrounds graduate from college with the skills to fill jobs right here in our state."
Elsa Magee, Acting President of HESC, said, "Last year, CACG funds administered by HESC helped more than 47,000 students who never thought they could go to college gain access to their dream of higher education. Whether these students are the first-in-family, foster care youth, or our combat veterans transitioning back to civilian life, HESC is proud to play a meaningful role in helping them go to college."
The programs, run by organizations across New York State, provide crucial services directly to students, including academic support, mentoring, college preparatory programs, college financial aid awareness, and training for school counselors.
In Rochester, the Veterans Outreach Center, Inc. of Rochester will receive a $50,000 CACG award to augment higher education counseling for veterans and their families.
Col. Gary S. Yaple, President and CEO of Veterans Outreach Center, said, "As our newest veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they often enroll in school to take advantage of the historic education benefits offered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The New GI Bill offers returning veterans the opportunity to become more competitive in the workplace through education. The CACG award will allow us to expand our outreach as thousands more return home in the coming months and help them navigate their GI Bill college benefits, other financial aid options, and the academic services offered at our many area colleges."
Senator Charles Schumer said, "Helping students from every background meet their academic goals is exactly the type of work our state and federal government should be supporting and fighting for. The College Access Challenge Grants will bring higher education within reach for many more students and, in turn, this next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs will help ensure a bright economic future for New York State."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "This critical federal funding will open doors to higher education for underrepresented young people and help our New York students reach their full potential. Supporting education and training for our youth is one of the smartest investments we can make that will help rebuild our local economy and pay dividends over the long term."
U.S. Representative Nita Lowey, Member on the Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said, "Every student who is willing to work hard deserves the opportunity to achieve through higher education. I am pleased the federal government is helping deserving New York students achieve their potential."
U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter said, "I am delighted that the Veterans Outreach Center (VOC) will receive this funding. The VOC has demonstrated time and again that they can deliver for our veterans. For this reason, I enlisted the VOCs participation in a Veterans Job Training and Small Business Resource Fair I hosted earlier this month at Nazareth College. Our men and women in uniform and their families sacrifice much in defense of our freedoms and they deserve our appreciation and unwavering support. An excellent way to say thank you to our veterans is by providing the resources they need to continue their education."
The following organizations received individual CACG grants of $250,000:
- City School District of Albany, Albany
- Jamestown Community College, Jamestown
- St. Johns University, Queens
- The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle
- On Point for College, Inc., Syracuse
- Research Foundation of CUNY Brooklyn College
The following organizations received CACG awards of $50,000
- New Settlement Apartments, Bronx
- Moshulu Montefiore Community Center, Bronx
- Generation Schools Network, Brooklyn
- Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry
- Ulster BOCES, New Paltz
- Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York
- Good Shepherd Services, New York
- Harlem Center for Education, New York
- Harlem RBI, Inc., New York
- The Boys Club of New York, New York
- University Settlement Society of New York, New York
- YMCA of Greater New York, New York
- St. Johns University, Queens
- Veterans Outreach Center, Rochester
- CSTEP Program of LeMoyne College, Syracuse
- Jefferson Community College, Watertown
New York's College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) program works to increase the number of low-income, minority and underserved students who are prepared to apply for, get accepted to and succeed in college, with a priority on families living below the poverty-level. For more information visit: http://www.hesc.ny.gov/content.nsf/SFC/College_Access_Challenge_Grant
HESC is New York States 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 HESCs 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 2010-11, HESC helped more than 413,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing $991 million in grants, scholarships and federal student loan guarantees, including $855 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). For more information visit: http://www.hesc.ny.gov/content.nsf