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State makes money available for low-income students to tour colleges, universities

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The state is making hundreds of thousands of dollars available for groups to provide low-income students a chance to tour colleges and universities.

The New York State Higher Education Services Corp. is dedicating $500,000 of the state’s College Access Challenge Grant funds to the effort, supporting subgrants of up to $45,000.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a statement, said the funding gave students and families a chance to experience schools first-hand. The governor’s office said tours are to be provided by schools, nonprofit agencies and community-based organizations that work directly with at-risk populations and populations that traditionally are underserved.

“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,” he said in his statement.

“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.”

The governor’s news release argued that campus visits can serve as motivation for students to consider future education, but that the costs for such trips can keep them out of reach.

“The costs involved in a college campus visit can be a barrier to attending college for low-income students,” said Elsa Magee, acting president of the service corporation. “We’re excited to work with partners who will help spur enthusiasm and motivation for college in traditionally underserved students by allowing them to experience college first-hand without having to worry about the associated costs.”

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 Street Settlement in New York City.

Detailed information about the College Access Challenge Grant Program, including application information for the College Tour Initiative, recipients of subgrant awards and their projects, is available at HESC.ny.gov/CACG.

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