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ESF, OCC And Syracuse Schools Win Grant

$450-thousand to help high school students earn college credit

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Governor David A. Paterson and Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch Friday, December 18, 2009, announced the award of approximately $5.5 million in grants to 11 "Smart Scholars" Early College High Schools (ECHS) and the State University of New York (SUNY) to coordinate this network of early college high schools throughout the State. Over the course of the four-year program, it is estimated that approximately 2,570 students will be served by these early college high schools supported, in part, by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced last summer.

The Smart Scholars ECHS program will create early college high schools that will give students the opportunity to accelerate the completion of their high school studies while earning college credits at the same time. Students will receive additional academic support from school/college partnerships to ensure they are at grade level and ready to participate in rigorous collegiate courses. This "dual enrollment" program will therefore serve to increase high school graduation and college completion rates among those historically left in the gap, while reducing student tuition costs as a result of the compressed time needed to complete a college degree.

Governor Paterson said, "On behalf of the students across New York State who will benefit from this outstanding initiative, I would like to thank the Gates Foundation for partnering with us to offer this extraordinary opportunity. The Smart Scholars program will make the dream of college success a reality for thousands of students who would otherwise be unable to consider the possibility. We are anxious to begin this collaborative process with school districts and institutions of higher education."

Regents Chancellor Tisch said, "More needs to be done to ensure that students who historically have not had access to or success in college can be appropriately prepared for higher education, be successful, and complete their schooling at a cost which they and their families can afford. Smart Scholars will go a long way towards making that possible."

"The Smart Scholars program is unique because it helps us approach education in a more integrated way, utilizing the tremendous resources available throughout the State for the education of our students," said Education Commissioner David Steiner. "We are grateful to the Gates Foundation for supporting this innovative approach to engaging high school students with college coursework."

The ECHS program will address disparities in high school graduation rates between groups of students. For example, Black students in the cohort of students who began ninth grade in 2004 graduated at a rate 28 points lower (54%) than white students (82%). Likewise, the gap between Hispanic (52%) and white students for the 2004 cohort was 30 points.

The cost of both public and private higher education has been rising steadily, in many cases putting the hope for a college degree out of the financial reach of both low and middle income students and their families.

With SUNY's 64 campuses across the State, and expertise in education and research, it was selected as the intermediary through a competitive Request for Proposal process. The intermediary will help coordinate the activities of these 11 early college high school programs to ensure academic excellence and rigor.

The following schools and their partners were selected through a competitive process:


Lead Applicant



Projected Number of Students Served


Yonkers City School District (Roosevelt HS "Collegiate Academy")



Westchester Community College

City School District of Albany



Hudson Valley Community College, University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rochester City School District



Monroe Community College, St. John Fisher College, 4 CBOs

SUNY - College of Old Westbury



Roosevelt Union Free School District

Buffalo City School District (Middle Early College High School)



Erie Community College, D'Youville College

New York City College of Technology



City Polytechnic High School of Engineering

Freeport Central School District



Long Island University, CW Post Campus

Greater Amsterdam Central School District



Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Centro Civico (CBO)

Bard College



Bard High School Early College - Manhattan and Queens

Syracuse City School District



Onondaga Community College, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry at Syracuse

Schenectady County Community College



Schenectady City School District