July 14, 2014
Last week, the Obama administration announced regulations to improve educational quality in low-income areas across the country. Around the same time, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new initiatives designed to help low-income college students in his state, reported Amsterdam News, including millions of dollars in grants. Cuomo and fellow lawmakers said they hope the funds will improve educational access among poorer students, who traditionally have lower college completion rates -- and, in turn, earnings -- than wealthier peers.
Gov. Cuomo allocated $3.2 million for the College Access Innovation Grant. According to the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the state's official student financial aid agency, the goal of the CAGD is to increase the number of low-income, minority and underserved students who attend and succeed in college, particularly for families living below the poverty line. The new funds will be used to help students identify and apply to schools that match their academic and financial needs and apply for both state and federal financial aid. As the Saugerties Post Star added, they will also bolster college preparation and transition support -- from middle school through the freshman year of college -- and work to increase college completion rates and reducing time to completion among adult learners.
"New York's legacy is built on providing opportunities for all, and through this competitive grant we are continuing that reputation and investing in programs that work for the people," said Cuomo, as reported by Amsterdam News. "This grant allows us to implement successful strategies that help low-income students entering college achieve greater educational and economic opportunities for their future."
According to the Saugerties Post Star, low-income students in New York are 30 percent less likely to go to college than their wealthier peers -- a statistic that can have a significant economic impact, since the average college-educated worker in New York earns an estimated $25,000 per year than those with high school diplomas alone. What is more, an estimated 53 percent of new jobs in New York are expected require at least some college education. Cuomo and proponents of the program said they hope the new initiatives reverse this trend.
"Access to higher education is essential to economic mobility and a stronger middle class," N.Y. Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, told the Saugerties Post Star. "We need to do all we can to ensure each and every person has the opportunity to access a quality education, and this federal investment will help hard-working New Yorkers looking for a brighter future."
New York applicants can seek grants of up to $500,000 through the HESC, reported The Post Star. They can find application deadlines and submit applications online by visiting the HESC's official website.
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"College Access Challenge Grant," hesc.ny.gov, http://www.hesc.ny.gov/content.nsf/CA/College_Access_Challenge_Grant
"Governor Cuomo Announces $3.2 Million in Grants to Expand College Access for Low-Income Students," poststarnews.com, July 9, 2014, http://www.poststarnews.com/article/20140708/NEWS/140709730
"New York Gov. Cuomo allocates millions for low-income college students," amsterdamnews.com, July 10, 2014, Khorri Atkinson, http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2014/jul/10/cuomo-allocates-32-million-grant-assist-low-income/