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UV wins $725,000 state grant to give students a college boost
Unadilla Valley Central School District has been awarded a $725,000 grant from the New York State Education Department to expand college course offerings for students.

The award was among 19 grants worth a total of $14 million announced by the New York State Education Department and UV was the only rural district in the state to receive an award. The awards will allow the 13 school districts and six colleges to implement the Smart Scholars Early College High School.

These grants will support partnerships between public school districts and eligible higher education institutions to provide historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students with the opportunity and support to earn an average of 24 college credits by the time they graduate high school. Funding for this initiative was approved by the governor and Legislature in the 2017-18 state budget.

UV will be partnering with SUNY Morrisville and Tompkins-Cortland Community College, and next year’s 9th grade students can begin earning college credits.  UV Superintendent Robert Mackey said this opportunity will be transformative for the district’s students and give them opportunities unique to the region. The district will be releasing more information on the program as it becomes available.

“The Smart Scholars program continues to open doors for students who have been historically underrepresented in college,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “The program gives these students a chance to complete high school while earning college credit at the same time, saving them money and greatly improving their chances of earning a college degree.”

Since its inception in 2002, New York State has participated in the early college high school (ECHS) movement. In 2009, the New York State Board of Regents launched the Smart Scholars ECHS Program as a strategy to close the high school and college achievement gaps in New York State. ECHS programs target students who are historically underrepresented in postsecondary education, academically at-risk or economically disadvantaged. Successful ECHS students graduate prepared to complete a post-secondary degree on time or early, without the need for remedial courses.

“I applaud the Governor and the Legislature for funding this critically important program,” said Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “By providing academic and social support, Smart Scholars enables participating students to complete the high school-college continuum in less time and improves their chances for success in high school, college and thereafter.”

Essential components of the Smart Scholars ECHS Program include:
• An active partnership between a school district and an institution of higher education (IHE) to provide an integrated high school and college curriculum; and
• The academic and social supports that students need to graduate high school on time with a Regents diploma and at least 24 transferable college credits, at no cost to their families.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, NYSED awarded five-year grants, including planning time. The grant amounts reflect five years of funding.
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