C-GCC Obtains $500,000 Tuition Grant | Greene County
GREENPORT — A $500,000 grant from the Hudson River Bank & Trust Co. Foundation will allow Columbia-Greene Community College to cover tuition for many students who are not eligible for financial aid.
The grant will be used to establish the HRBT Foundation Education Matters Scholarship, which will provide tuition assistance to Columbia and Greene County students who are ineligible for federal and state aid, or who receive only a partial federal and state funding.
Funds will be disbursed beginning in September for the 2022-23 school year, with the grant aimed at expanding the pool of residents who can attend the local community college.
“The HRBT Foundation approached us and said they were going to help students in Columbia and Greene counties,” Joan Koweek, executive director of the Columbia-Greene Community College Foundation, said Thursday. “So we wrote a grant to fill the gap for students not receiving financial aid and how we could help them. So what this grant will do is it will pay students, full-time or part-time, who are not receiving federal or state financial aid, or who are only receiving partial financial aid.
HRBT Foundation President Carl Florio said the organization is looking for an effective way to expand educational opportunities for area residents.
“We give, give or take, $1 million a year,” Florio said Thursday. “The board met eight to 10 months ago and we were looking at making a sizable contribution that would impact the residents of Columbia and Greene counties. So we tossed around a few different ideas and thought this would be a great amount of money to donate to the Foundation (Columbia-Greene Community College) and would be very helpful for students who are struggling to pay tuition .
Koweek said the grant will allow the college to break down financial barriers for students struggling to pay their tuition.
“Now, there’s really no financial reason not to attend college at Columbia-Greene Community College this coming year in terms of not being able to afford your tuition,” she said. “The grant should cover, if not everything, almost everything. This was the purpose of the scholarship. We know that with all the increased costs for students right now, between food and gas and everything else, they are struggling. So we tried to offer them a grant to fill that gap. We hope this is the answer.
Koweek said the college does not yet have an estimate of how many students the grant could help in the next school year.
“It’s really hard to tell because it’s based on how many credits a student takes,” she says. “We’re trying to figure it all out and it’s impossible to know.”
The HRBT Foundation has previously donated funds to the college to equip school buildings with Wi-Fi and Florio said the tuition grant could be extended in future years if it proves successful.
“We would look into it,” Florio said. “I don’t know for sure if it will be renewed but we will have to see how it is received by students and if it helps with enrolment. We also try to help them register. We would look at it and if it was a successful program, which we think it will be, we would probably do something about it. I don’t know if it would be $500,000 again, but we’ll definitely come back to it.
Koweek said the college was grateful to receive the grant from the foundation.
“It was very generous and thoughtful of them to allow us to do this,” she said.