July 25, 2012
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Grants to Help Underrepresented and Low-Income Students in Syracuse Earn a College Degree

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Grants to Help...

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 York's CACG program is administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the state's 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 Syracuse, the LeMoyne Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and On Point for College, Inc. have received awards.


Darshini Roopnarine, CSTEP program director, said, "CSTEP at LeMoyne prepares historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students to enter careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Our CACG funds will help us provide a series of activities to provide an exposure to college that many of these students have not had before. Other programs will provide include financial literacy and assistance in completing financial aid applications for college, particularly the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA."


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 Ann Marie Buerkle said, "I am pleased that OnPoint for College and CSTEP at LeMoyne will receive College Access Challenge Grants, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued support of continuing education. The services that these organizations provide are essential to ensuring that underrepresented students have the ability to obtain a college degree. In having the opportunity to achieve a college education, the students who benefit from programs like OnPoint and CSTEP will develop knowledge and skills that will enhance our state and communities."


The following organizations received individual CACG grants of $250,000:

  • City School District of Albany, Albany
  • Jamestown Community College, Jamestown
  • St. John's 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. John's 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 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 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