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SUNY Orange Receives Nearly $3M Title V Grant

September 3, 2020

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange has been awarded a $2.94 million grant from the United States Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institutions Program to develop student support programming that will significantly enhance the academic achievement, persistence and retention of students, most specifically Hispanic and low-income students.

The grant was first announced jointly today by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, each of whom contributed a letter of support for the College’s grant application.

This is indeed a transformative grant for SUNY Orange. ”

SUNY Orange’s new program, entitled “PROSPERAR: Moving Students from Surviving to Thriving” will receive $2,940,807 over the next five years to help the College redesign programs and services that will improve student engagement, retention and graduation rates. First-year funding will be $594,748. Hispanic Serving Institutions within higher education, as classified by the Department of Education, have at least 25 percent of their undergraduate student enrollment comprised of Hispanic students. Hispanic and Latino students make up 26.1 percent of the College’s enrollment this Fall, down from 29.6 percent in Fall 2019.

“This is indeed a transformative grant for SUNY Orange, as it will allow us to more fully and successfully support our first generation students and students of color. With this funding, we will be able to close equity gaps and increase student achievement,” said Dr. Kristine Young, president of SUNY Orange. “I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, as well as Congressman Maloney, for securing this critical funding and for prioritizing education in the Hudson Valley and our community colleges most specifically.

“This five-year grant comes at a most opportune time as it aligns perfectly, both in its intent and its desired impact upon students, with our newly approved Strategic Plan 2020-25,” Young added. “Additionally, local and national data show attendance and educational progress of minority students, the very students our PROSPERAR program is designed to assist, have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it all the more imperative that we move quickly to implement our plans.”

“As our economy changes at an unprecedented rate, we need our students and education system to keep pace, and that’s why this is a smart investment,” Schumer said. “Young adults across Orange County must be college- and career-ready to meet the demands of today’s industries. These funds will help provide our local colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions with the tools they need to provide quality education for our students. I will continue to do everything in my power to help New York students prepare for the future and reach their fullest potential.”

“Every young person should get the chance to receive a quality education and earn a good paying job,” Gillibrand added. “However, the high rate of youth unemployment, particularly for minorities and youth from underserved communities, highlights the obstacles that stand in the way. This great investment in SUNY Orange will help provide students across the Hudson Valley with the educational opportunities and skills needed to be successful in school and to prepare for a future career.”

“Investing in education and opportunity here in the Hudson Valley has been a priority of mine since day one. I’m proud to have fought to secure this important grant for SUNY Orange and will continue to advocate for funding and programs that close the equity gap for every student in New York,” Maloney said.

According to Young, the development of the PROSPERAR program included broad input and support from the College community and was predominantly inspired by the College’s extensive work with Guided Pathways, a nationally recognized framework for increasing student engagement, persistence, and completion

The program has three overarching goals: help students choose and enter an academic path, help them remain on that path, and ensure student learning, engagement and success.

To assist new students in choosing an academic path, the College will introduce them to career and transfer planning during their onboarding process and then continuously reinforce that planning through advising. Families of new students will be engaged in orientation activities that include career and financial planning. A new first year experience program will guide students’ selection of a pathway that aligns with their career goals and also assures they successfully integrate into the larger College community.

Student engagement and retention will be bolstered by a holistic support program including advisors, academic coaches, faculty members, and pathways-focused co-curricular activities. Student Success Centers will house both academic tutors and coaches who will guide students in their academic and career planning. Faculty and staff will develop cultural competencies that welcome and support students from diverse backgrounds.

Faculty instructors will work collaboratively with a data analyst and an instructional designer to examine student outcomes with the intent of increasing student engagement and academic success. Particular focus will be upon key gateway courses, those classes that first introduce students to their chosen path. A robust program of faculty development will foster widespread implementation of active and collaborative learning strategies along with the redesign of learning environments to encourage increased student engagement.

As part of the grant process, the College has established benchmark measurements and metrics related to persistence, retention and graduation. Much of the grant funding will support the hiring of a program coordinator, an academic data analyst, part-time instructional designer and part-time multi-media specialist. Part-time pathway coaches and student peer orientation leaders will also be funded by the grant.

For more information, contact Dr. Erika Hackman, vice president for academic affairs, at (845) 341-4766 or erika.hackman@sunyorange.edu.