Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cardinal Career Grants now available monthly


By Aleksandra Sidorova

Students can receive up to $2,250 toward unpaid professional experiences or other career-related costs — more funding they can apply for more frequently, thanks to additional funding from SUNY Central.

“The program has expanded now because SUNY Central is really trying to support internships and applied learning opportunities for students, specifically the ones that aren’t paid or they’re underpaid,” said Tobi Hay, director of the Career Development Center. “Because we have so much more money to work with now, we have changed the process a little bit.”

SUNY Central funding supports internship and job opportunities for students within the system, and has allowed the Cardinal Career Grants to expand.

Cardinal Career Grants were previously known as Applied Learning Grants, and students could apply every semester. The grants were established in 2015 with alumni donations to the SUNY Plattsburgh College Foundation. 

Alumni donations particularly help fund applied learning opportunities that aren’t jobs or internships. 

The College Foundation approved $10,000 for this year, and SUNY funds amount to about $100,000, Hay said.

Starting this year, Cardinal Career Grant applications are accepted every month until 4 p.m. of the 15th. The deadline for the current application cycle is 4 p.m. April 15. 

Students can access the application form on the Career Development Center’s page on the college website, under “internships and grants.” 

Besides applications being open every month, not much changed about the process. Eligible students have completed at least one semester at SUNY Plattsburgh and are in overall good standing. In the form, students need to show proof of their professional opportunity, draft a budget for the amount they are requesting and explain how the opportunity will help their career.

In the form, students need to show proof of their professional opportunity, draft a budget for the amount they are requesting and explain how the opportunity will help their career.

To make decisions easier, the grant offers awards in set amounts of $500; $1,000; $1,750; or $2,250, but awards less or in-between the listed amounts are possible, too. 

All 56 students who applied by mid-February received some sort of funding — a lot more than the previous grant model invited. 

“What we’re trying to do is fund every reasonable request,” Hay said. “As long as it makes sense, as long as the rationale is there in terms of it being underpaid or an unpaid opportunity, the committee (reviewing the applications) wants to say yes.”

Hay said she recommends applying as early as possible, while funding is still available — she anticipates another wave of applications for summer opportunities soon. Applying early can also help account for a delay in fund disbursement, as money has to go through SUNY Central.

It is not clear whether SUNY will continue funding grants for students’ professional and research opportunities next year, so applying can help show that the funding is in demand.

“It’s not an infinite amount, and when it’s spent for the year, it’s spent for the year,” Hay said. “Might as well apply while we know we still have some funds — that’s my advice.”

For Applied Learning Grants, students had to produce a “culminating learning artifact” that explains how the professional or learning experience benefited the student. Although not currently enforced, students may be asked to share the experiences the grants funded at a reception at the end of the semester.

Students can apply for the grant multiple times, but first-time applicants get priority because the Career Development Center’s goal is to provide as many students with funding as possible.

“It’d be nice if every student on this campus got an opportunity to get funding one time, but until we get more students to apply, it couldn’t hurt (to apply again),” Hay said.

Students can reach out with questions or concerns to the Career Development Center by email at or make an appointment on its page on the college website.

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