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SU uses NYGEAR UP grant to support disadvantaged Syracuse high school students
SU uses NYGEAR UP grant to supportdisadvantaged Syracuse high school studentsAugust 05, 2004Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
More than 500 Syracuse City School District (SCSD) high school students are reaping the benefit of a new $487,000 grant awarded to Syracuse University to provide disadvantaged, at-risk students with expanded summer school opportunities and school-year college preparation support. The grant expands SU’s participation in New York’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (NYGEAR UP), part of a national and state initiative to help students prepare for college.
The New York State Higher Education Services Corp. (HESC) awarded the grant to SU in January in recognition of the SU NYGEAR UP program’s status as a model program in New York and nationwide. It is the largest supplemental NYGEAR UP grant given by HESC this year.
SU’s NYGEAR UP program is currently using its resources to support nearly 200 SCSD high school students’ participation in Summer School at SU, a program that helps students who require mandatory summer school to pass their classes and prepare for New York State Regents examinations. SU’s other NYGEAR UP activities enhanced by the grant include tutoring; SAT preparation; Summer College, a six-week program at SU that allows high school students to earn college credit and explore career interests; and Saturday College, a school-year program in which students participate in specialized courses, seminars and field trips.
“This partnership is really making a difference to the students who need the most help,” says Stephen Jones, SCSD superintendent. “The students in Summer School at SU and other GEAR UP programs are thriving in the classroom with SU’s support.” Academic success is a hallmark of the NYGEAR UP program at SU; last year, nearly 90 percent of Summer School at SU students passed their courses and Regents exams.
“We at SU are proud to be leading this effort to better our community and to broaden young people’s intellectual horizons,” says Horace Smith, associate vice president of undergraduate studies at SU. “We can enable these students to achieve at a very high level, and we do that best alongside partners who so generously devote their resources and people to NYGEAR UP-the city schools, Le Moyne College, Onondaga Community College, our business and community allies, and HESC.” Smith says that the collaborative nature of NYGEAR UP is one of the SU program’s strengths. For example, a spring 2004 Saturday College program united students from Fowler and Henninger High Schools, matched them with faculty from Le Moyne and brought them to SU to study exercise science and geology.
“We are delighted to recognize and support SU’s success in bringing together partners from across the community,” says Michael R. Wilton Jr., president of HESC. “This combined effort sets a perfect example for higher education institutions working to make the most of their combined resources and talents.”
According to Lena Kochian, director of the SU program, NY GEAR UP’s benefits are best seen in the classroom. “Whether it’s Summer School, where we’re trying to turn around kids whose academic careers are in trouble, or Summer College, where we’re trying to help kids stay on the right track, many young people come in unsure whether they can succeed. We not only give them new skills and knowledge, but also our confidence that all children can and will learn if given the right opportunity.”
NYGEAR UP at SU (http://studentsupport.syr.edu/gearup/gearup.html) is a unit within SU’s Division of Student Support and Retention, which works to enhance student success through student-centered programs, services and assessment.
HESC is the state agency that has been designated by Gov. George E. Pataki to administer the NYGEAR UP program. HESC helps people pay for college by providing a range of financial aid services, including the Tuition Assistance Program, student loan guarantees and administering New York’s College Savings Program.