Governor Cuomo Awards $2.75 Million to Boost College Participation Among Low-Income Students

Federal Funding to Help Over 24,000 Underserved Students Navigate a Path to College.

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Albany, NY - July 16, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.75 million has been awarded under New York’s College Access Challenge Grant Program to help low-income students across the State enter and complete college. The services will be offered largely through community-based, not-for-profit organizations and will assist 24,655 students and families statewide.

“The funding being awarded today to these community-based and not-for-profit organizations will help put nearly 25,000 low income students on a path to valuable college and professional experiences," Governor Cuomo said. "With an emphasis on tutoring, re-enrollment and retention particularly in at risk communities, the programs supported by this funding will go a long way in helping New Yorkers go to college and ensure that New York State remains a place of opportunity for all.”

The federal dollars are distributed to not-for-profits and community based organizations to help underserved and low income students with tutoring assistance, re-enrollment and retention to at risk populations, and mentoring help. The program also provides funding for free college tours to low-income students and helps students and their families navigate through financial aid requirements. The amount awarded to each organization is determined by the number of New Yorkers served and the scope of the services provided.

The $2.75 million from the State, awarded mostly through a competitively bid program, is funded through New York State’s federal College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) and administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

CACG funding is awarded each year to regional organizations and state wide partners. This year’s programs will take place in 13 counties across New York State and provide crucial college preparatory, enrollment and completion services directly to students, including academic support, mentoring, and college financial aid awareness.

Elsa Magee, Acting President of HESC said, “HESC has administered New York State’s CACG Program since 2008. Last year alone, not-for-profit organizations, state wide partners and HESC utilized CACG funds to help motivate and educate more than 58,000 New Yorkers about continuing their education after high school.”

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, a nationally recognized youth development program based in Rochester, was awarded a $200,000 grant to build upon and expand its partnerships with public high schools in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo. More than 3,000 students will be served through this latest grant.

Augustin Melendez, President of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection said, “We are delighted to receive funding from New York’s CACG program; it means we can continue serving some of the State’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged youth and provide a pathway to college that was not available to them before.”

The following organizations received individual CACG awards between $50,001 and $200,000:

  • Good Shepherd Services, New York City - $200,000
  • Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, Rochester - $200,000
  • Jamestown Community College, Jamestown - $198,995
  • Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry - $106,979
  • Yonkers Partners in Education, Inc., Yonkers - $190,348
  • Young Women’s Leadership Network, New York - $200,000

The following organizations received CACG awards up to $50,000:

  • Aspira of New York, Inc., New York - $49,680
  • The Boys’ Club of New York, New York - $50,000
  • Bronx High School for Writing and Communication Arts, Bronx - $50,000
  • Children’s Aid Society/Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, New York - $50,000
  • College and Community Fellowship, Inc., New York - $49,907
  • College Initiative at the Fund for the City of New York, New York - $50,000
  • College Summit, New York - $50,000
  • Cypress Hills College Success Programs, Jamaica - $50,000
  • Daemen College, Amherst - $49,592
  • The Dome Project, New York - $50,000
  • Generation Schools Network, Brooklyn - $50,000
  • Good Shepherd Services, New York - $50,000
  • Harlem Center for Education, Inc., New York - $50,000
  • Harlem RBI, Inc., New York - $50,000
  • Henry Street Settlement, New York - $50,000
  • Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Bronx - $50,000
  • Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, Bronx - $50,000
  • New Settlement Apartments, Bronx - $50,000
  • Realizing My Dream, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury - $49,334
  • St. John Fisher College, Rochester - $50,000
  • St. John’s University, Queens - $50,000
  • South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Bronx - $50,000
  • SUNY – Cobleskill, Cobleskill - $50,000
  • SUNY – Jefferson Community College, Watertown - $50,000
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse - $49,995
  • Ulster County BOCES, New Paltz - $49,643
  • Veterans’ Outreach Center, Inc., Rochester - $49,800
  • Westchester Community College, Valhalla - $50,000
  • YMCA of Greater New York – Vanderbilt Branch, New York - $49,235
  • Young Women’s Leadership Network, New York - $50,000

New College Tour Initiative
For the first time, New York State is also dedicating $250,000 in CACG funds to support sub-grants of up to $45,000 for organizations that provide college tours to low-income students. The tours are provided by schools, not-for-profit agencies, and community-based organizations that work directly with at-risk populations and populations that are traditionally underserved.

Binghamton City School District will conduct five tours with 20 low-income students on each trip. Students will make an overnight visit to the Rochester Institute of Technology, Monroe Community College, Buffalo State College, and the University at Buffalo. Day trips will take students to the SUNY colleges at Cortland, Oneonta, Delhi and Alfred; Tompkins-Cortland Community College; Alfred University; and the University at Albany. Students will attend general information sessions, tour the colleges, and have to opportunity to speak with Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) or Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) counselors at each college.

Tonia Thompson, Assistant Superintendent of the Binghamton City School District, said, “Giving our students the opportunity to see themselves on a college campus is very motivating and it enables them to see college as a viable option for their future.”

The Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. is taking 30 students from four high schools in the region to participate in a college exploration trip. Students will reside on the George Washington University campus for the week, and be assigned roommates to simulate the residential life experience. They will also tour other colleges including the University of Maryland, University of Delaware, Howard University and Marymount University. The students will learn about writing college essays, the college interview process and about college financial aid.

Cynthia Monthie, Director of Youth & Adolescent Services for the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc., said, “The summer college tour helps students visualize themselves away from home on a college campus, many for the first time.”

Elsa Magee, Acting President of HESC said, “The goal of the College Tour Initiative is to increase expectations and interest in postsecondary education opportunities among high school students from low-income families by providing them the opportunity to experience college first-hand without having to worry about the associated costs.”

Detailed information about the College Access Challenge Grant Program, including the College Tour Initiative, recipients of CACG sub-grant awards and their projects, is available at

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 2011-12, HESC helped more than 424,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $971.5 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $920.1 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).