The Citizens Bank Foundation has donated $10,000 to the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation to benefit the College in the High School program, which allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credits during their regular school day.
The gift will fund scholarships for students who take College in the High School courses, and will create the basis of an endowment that will be used to benefit future scholarships and development of the program. The eligibility guidelines for the scholarships, which will benefit low-income students, are being developed; the first round of scholarships will be given for the Fall 2006 semester.
"The Citizens Bank Foundation is proud to join fellow corporate leaders in the Capital Region in support of the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation," said Robert M. Curley, chairman of Citizens Bank, NA. "The College in the High School program is an innovative approach to engaging students about the need for education beyond high school. This partnership between the Citizens Bank Foundation and Hudson Valley Community College will make it possible for more area high school students to get an early start on their college education and position themselves for leadership roles in the community."
Hudson Valley has offered College in the High School courses since the 1995, and enrollment in the program has grown steadily since then. In just the past year, enrollment in College in the High School courses has increased 32 percent. This year, 2,764 high school students are enrolled in the courses, compared to 2,087 students during the 2004-05 academic year.
The college partners with 28 secondary schools - high schools and Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) sites - throughout the Capital Region to offer the courses, which range from General Psychology and Sociology to Art History and Spanish Language and Culture. South Colonie, Troy, and Averill Park high schools are the top three schools in the region that enroll students in the courses.
"I am honored that the Citizens Bank Foundation has decided to partner with Hudson Valley Community College," said Hudson Valley Community College Foundation President Sarah M. Boggess, who also serves as the college's vice president for institutional advancement. "The Foundation is proud of the role it plays in helping students achieve their educational goals, and this gift will ensure that more students will have an opportunity to pursue college-level coursework in high school."
The program has grown in popularity because it appeals to both high-achieving students and students who are testing the waters to see whether college is right for them, according to Suzanne Brownrigg, director of the program.
"The courses challenge bright students, and build confidence: some students who have not previously considered college do so after the experience," Brownrigg said. "The heavier workload and expectation of quality work also helps students see what they need to do to succeed in college, which helps them with the transition when they begin their college careers."
The program also makes college more affordable: the net cost to a student for a College in the High School course is currently $30 per credit hour (most courses are three or four credits). In addition, many of the courses, particularly those in the liberal arts, are transferable to Hudson Valley or other colleges and universities, Brownrigg added.
The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. Gifts to the Foundation from alumni, corporations and friends are used to enhance programs, facilities and scholarship opportunities at the college.
Citizens Bank, N.A. has $16 billion in assets, and more than 230 branches and 250 ATMs throughout Upstate New York and Vermont. It has 204 branches and 223 ATMs in New York. Citizens Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $148 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I.
Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.