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

Press Release

Location: Albany, NY

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 the Hudson Valley, The College of New Rochelle, Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry and the Ulster BOCES Center for Special and Alternative Education (CSAE) and Career Technology Programs (CTE) in Port Ewen will receive $50,000 each from the CACG distribution.

Marlene Anderson-Butler, Director of Special and Alternative Education at Ulster BOCES, said, "The CSAE program is designed for students with different learning styles and rates and we will use funding from CACG to align curriculum and raise expectations to provide a more rigorous and challenging program. We will expand the current College Ready program we provide to CTE students to encompass the needs of CSAE students so they, too can access higher education beyond the high school level."

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 pursue higher education. I am pleased the federal government is helping deserving New York students at Mercy College and the College of New Rochelle achieve their potential."

U.S. Representative Nita Lowey 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 Eliot Engel said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for the distribution of this federal and state funding, authorized by legislation I voted for, to help our state's educational programs. As a former teacher I maintain that we can never do enough to educate our children for they are our country's and out state's future."

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:

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:

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