New funding to make college visits more attainable for low-income students

Some New Yorkers will soon be able to get help accessing the opportunities of college visits through newly funded tours.

New funding from New York State will give low-income high school students and their families the chance to explore colleges in person with visits before they make a choice about their future.

Under the "College Access Challenge Grant" program, the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is dedicating $500,000 to support sub0grants of up to $45,000 for organizations that provide college tours to low-income students. The tours must be provided by schools, not-for-profit agencies and community based organizations that work directly with at-risk and underserved youth.

More than 700 low-income students participated in tours under the $250,000 summer College Tour Initiative offered through organizations such as the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. and the Grand St. Settlement in New York City. The Binghamton City School District provided tours for 100 low-income students, who participated in overnight visits to the Rochester Institute of Technology, Monroe Community College, Buffalo State College, and the University at Buffalo. Additionally, day trips took students to the SUNY colleges at Cortland, Oneonta, Delhi and Alfred; Tompkins-Cortland Community College; Alfred University; and the University at Albany.

"The public and private partnerships we have forged in the last several years with this program have been invaluable in helping New York's students grow their education beyond high school and getting them actively engaged in the college process," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "These grants are an important investment in our children, allowing disadvantaged students to visit campuses and realize that a bright academic future is within their reach."

Cecilia Becker, a senior at Binghamton High School, participated in the college tour trips last summer. "Not everyone can afford these visits to find the right college," Cecilia said. "Going on these tours opened my eyes to the reality that college is attainable."