City Hall—Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Paul Vallone, and Council Member Inez Barron announced the creation of the CUNY Merit-Based Scholarship Program, a fund dedicated to ensuring access to high-quality, affordable opportunities for higher education for students in New York City.
In Fiscal Year 2015, the New York City Council invested $11.1 million into the implementation of the CUNY Merit-Based Scholarship Program, to provide merit-based scholarships to New York City High School graduates who maintain at least a B average at CUNY and FIT. Starting in Fall 2014, scholarships of approximately $400 per semester will be available to first-year students.
“As the costs of higher education rises, we must do everything we can to ensure that it remains affordable for the young people who are our city’s future,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The CUNY Merit Scholarship represents our commitment today to our city’s tomorrow, by providing $11.1 million to reward graduates for their hard work and academic achievement and to connect them with the support and resources they need to succeed.”
“I applaud our Speaker and every member of our City Council for fully supporting this critical initiative,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “By restoring the City Council CUNY Merit Based Scholarship, we have once again issued a challenge to every student in New York City. If you make the commitment to be the best student you can be, then we will stand with you as we open the doors to a college education together. Now we have restored the hopes of every student to obtain a quality education.”
“I would like to thank the Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Paul Vallone and my colleagues for their diligent efforts to restore the Merit Based Scholarship,” said Council Member Inez Barron. “The $11.1 million dollars allocated for the Merit Based Scholarships is for New York City high school students who earned a B average. It will help cover the costs of textbooks, tuition, transportation and childcare incurred by students and families. With the constant increase in postsecondary education this financial assistance will increase the enrollment, retention and graduation rate of our hardworking students who aspire to attain a CUNY college degree. The City Council restoration of a scholarship fund to assist students in bearing the cost of attending CUNY is representative of the city’s awareness of the importance of a higher education degree in these challenging economic times. I see this as a step towards returning to the era when the city was a tuition free university that was available and open to residents. This City Council initiative, in conjunction with Mayor de Blasio’s STEM initiative for CUNY students, better supports and enables students to be prepared for success in the 21st century.”
“It’s hard to express in words my gratitude to the Speaker, my son Paul and all his colleagues on the Council for restoring this landmark scholarship,” said former Speaker Peter F. Vallone. “The best thanks is from the thousands of young scholars who now can be the best they possibly can be, and change this city and world for the better!”
“We are deeply grateful to New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras, Higher Education Committee Chair Inez Barron, and all of the members of the Council for the inclusion of academic achievement awards in the recently adopted New York City Executive Budget,” said CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Board Secretary Jay Hershenson. “The Mayor and the City Council have given a high priority to the support of college students and their families through this vitally important program. The investment they have made in CUNY students will be repaid many times over through taxes paid by the University’s graduates, especially since over 90% live or work in New York City. “We commend our elected officials, working closely with the elected student government leaders, for their visionary efforts to promote greater access to higher education.”