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12/19/2006
NBT Bank Donates $5,000 to Benefit College in the High School Program
Hudson Valley program allows high school students to earn college credit

CONTACT: Janine Kava (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Dec. 19, 2006

NBT Bank has donated $5,000 to the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation to fund scholarships for its College in the High School program, which enables high school students to take college-level courses – and earn college credits – during their regular school day.

Including NBT’s gift, the Foundation has received $20,000 to date to benefit an endowment to fund the scholarships and future development of the program. The charitable foundations of Citizens Bank and Bank of America also have contributed to the endowment.

The scholarships benefit low-income students. Thus far, 31 students from high schools including Albany, Averill Park, Bethlehem and Troy, have received scholarships, which offset the cost of a College in the High School course by 25 percent per credit hour. The net cost to a student for a College in the High School course is $30 per credit hour, with most courses being three or four credits. Another round of scholarships will be available in the spring.

Hudson Valley has offered College in the High School courses since the 1995, and enrollment in the program has grown steadily since then. In the 2005-06 academic year, 2,764 high school students enrolled in the courses, compared to 2,087 students during 2004-05, a 32 percent increase. This fall, 1,691 students are enrolled.

The program has grown in popularity because it appeals to both high-achieving students who want to get a jump-start on college and students who are testing the waters to see whether college is right for them. In addition, many of the courses, particularly those in the liberal arts, are transferable to Hudson Valley or other colleges and universities, according to Suzanne Brownrigg, director of the program.

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 have the most students participating in the courses.

“NBT Bank, as a community bank, is proud to support Hudson Valley Community College’s effort to introduce college-level courses to high school students who might not otherwise consider pursuing higher education. This innovative program is an excellent example of the college’s leadership in helping to improve the communities we live and work in,” said Jeffrey M. Levy, NBT Bank Capital Region President.

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.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 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.

NBT is a financial holding company headquartered in Norwich, with total assets of $5.1 billion at Sept. 30, 2006. The company primarily operates through NBT Bank, N.A., a full-service community bank with two divisions, and through two financial services companies. NBT Bank, N.A. has 118 locations, including 80 NBT Bank offices in upstate New York and 38 Pennstar Bank offices in northeastern Pennsylvania. EPIC Advisors, Inc., based in Rochester, is a full-service 401(k) plan recordkeeping firm. Hathaway Insurance Agency, Inc., based in Gloversville, is a full service insurance agency. More information about NBT and its divisions can be found on the Internet at www.nbtbancorp.com, www.nbtbank.com, www.pennstarbank.com, www.epic1st.com and www.hathawayagency.com.