College Access for All Initiative Expanding Participation to Reach Over 53,000 Students. Builds College-Going Culture Along with SAT School Day, Elimination of CUNY Application Fee for Low-Income Students, New Resources for 100 High Schools
NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced a record 365 high schools across every borough are participating in College Application Week, a coordinated statewide week-long effort (Oct. 17-21) around college planning and application activities for high school students, focused on low-income students and those who would be the first in their family to go to college. This initiative is part of College Access for All, one of the initiatives in Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. The 365 high schools will offer a range of activities to reach over 53,000 students and support schoolwide college awareness and access, from workshops and panels on the path to college for 9th graders to college and financial aid application sessions for 12th graders.
College Application Week is in its fourth year. It reached 298 high schools last year, and 161 high schools in 2014-15. College Access for All will ensure that, by the 2018-19 school year, every student will have the resources and support at their high school to graduate with an individual college and career plan.
“Our College Access for All initiative signals our belief that all New York City students can reach their full potential, regardless of the neighborhoods they live in or whether their parents went to college,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Equity and Excellence for All means raising the bar and giving our students the resources and support they need to go on to college and careers, and we are making the investment to get it done – from making the SAT available for free during the school day, to eliminating the CUNY application fee, to bringing a record number of schools into College Application Week this year.”
“I remember the challenges of being the first person in my family to go to college, so I want all our students to know that their ability to go to college and pursue careers shouldn’t be defined by their zip code or their background,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “College Application Week – and our College Access for All initiative – is about ensuring our students know that college is an option, and ensuring they have the support and resources at their school to make it a reality.”
The 365 high schools include 104 high schools in the Bronx, 115 in Brooklyn, 75 in Manhattan, 61 in Queens, and 10 on Staten Island. They are participating in a variety of activities to promote college awareness and access across all grades, such as: inviting graduates back for alumni panels, holding college application and financial aid application “marathon” sessions, bringing students on college visits, sharing FAQ’s and resources with students and families, hosting family college awareness or application events, having staff wear college gear to promote awareness, discussing the path to college and careers in 9th and 10th grade advisory or guidance groups, and decorating the building with college posters or graphics celebrating students who have applied to, or alumni who have enrolled in, college.
To support this work, all DOE high schools have received a College Application Week toolkit with resources they can use for this week and throughout the school year. The DOE has also worked to engage over 50 community-based organizations to support the school-based effort, and through a partnership with New York State’s Higher Education Services Corporation, all participating schools are receiving college awareness posters and stickers to encourage awareness and school spirit.
Along with the expansion of College Application Week, College Access for All is supporting the SAT School Day, where all 68,000 New York City high school juniors will be able to take the SAT free of charge during the school day on April 5, 2017; as well as the elimination of the CUNY application fee for all low-income NYC public high school seniors starting this fall.
College Access for All builds a continuum across middle and high school. Every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus by 2018, and there will be new college workshops for middle school students and families. In the 2016-17 school year, 167 middle schools across all five boroughs will bring over 20,000 students to college campuses. This will promote a college-going culture that encourages students to consider a range of postsecondary options and gives them the support they need to thrive after high school.
“As a former high school principal, I know that creating a college-going culture is essential and requires the collaboration of everyone in the school building. That’s what our College Access for All initiative is supporting at high schools across the City,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. “By removing the CUNY application fee for low-income students and making the SAT free and in school, we are clearing the way for our young people to apply to college. Now, with an all-time high number of schools participating in College Application Week, it’s thrilling to see so many schools creating the environment, supports and necessary momentum to ensure students graduate with as many choices as possible.”
For the first time in 2016, the US DOE launched the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on October 1, three months earlier than the traditional January 1 launch. Schools are encouraged to include information on the financial aid process in their College Application Week activities, and to support students to complete important financial aid forms by the end of November.
Additional information on College Application Week and college planning tools and resources for students, families, and educators are available in the applying to college section.