Plattsburgh State received a grant from the SUNY Investment and Performance Fund for $375,000 to perform outreach with community-based organizations to potential PSUC students in the New York City area.
“Tuition revenue will sustain the program in future years,” according to a PSUC news release. “Organizations will also provide support through on-campus visits, regular contact and summer programs.”
Director of Admissions Carrie Woodward said the admissions office was part of a group that submitted a grant proposal to “establish partnerships between SUNY colleges and community-based organizations” in the New York City area. The purpose of this is to boost retention rates of students coming from those areas.
Organizations, such as Bottom Line, College Bound Initiative and Urban Assembly, help students who struggle academically or financially and get them on the path from high school to college.
Only a few of these organizations stay connected with students beyond high school.
Woodward said PSUC’s outreach plan will help the college and these organizations expand access to higher education. She said the office is also following rising trends in how many students from that area attend PSUC.
“The enrollment of students coming from New York City has increased 40 percent over the last five years,” Woodward said. “We are responding to that increase.”
She said the needs of students from the New York City area are unique because they are far away from home, and they are likely to be first-generation college students.
“They also tend to come from lower-income backgrounds, which also leads to the need for a variety of support services,” Woodward said. “This grant is meant to provide support for financial aid services, as well as academic advising and support services, career advising and also personal counseling for students.”
She said the college will distribute some of the grant funds for transportation throughout the semester, so prospective students from the city area can visit the campus, and currently enrolled students will be able to travel back and forth, if they choose.
Woodward said the grant will also fund a mentoring program in which current students from the New York City area will mentor new students from the same region. She said the admissions office will begin its efforts this fall.
The college will hire a liaison, who will bridge the gap between PSUC and these organizations.
PSUC political science major Ibukun Charles said that while she was in high school, she worked with the Rockaway Youth Task Force, a youth-based and youth-led organization in New York City.
“We advocate through civic engagement. So (we) talked to elected officials and have rallies and things like that,” Charles said.
The Queens native said the organization also focused on academic support.
“The organization, in a way, tried to prepare us for the future. Because it was youth-led, it educated us (about) college. They offered tutoring for us (and) offered scholarships for us,” she said. “It was like a good community for young kids to go to.”
She said the liaison position is necessary to keep the lines of communication between the college and the organizations open.
“The only way colleges are going to know there’s a problem is if someone is telling them there’s a problem,” Charles said. “Otherwise, they’re not going to know there’s any issues going on.”
Charles said she is a PSUC student because that organization helped her prepare for college and her transition to independence, and these types of organizations act as a hub for students who are looking for resources to be successful later in life.
“We want to do as well as we can to support the success of students we admit here,” Hartman said.
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org