Daemen College Awarded New York College Access Challenge Grant

Daemen Refugee Teen Empowerment Program will Administer $49,592 Award



August 15, 2013



Contact: Mike Andrei

               Director-College Relations

               (716) 839-8472



           Daemen College has been awarded nearly $50,000 through New York’s federal College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Program. The program is designed to help low-income and at-risk students across New York State enter and complete college. CACG funds are awarded through a competitively bid program and administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).


           Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in announcing the total of $2.75 million awarded in this current round of funding from the federal grant program, noted the grants, administered by schools and community-based, not-for-profit organizations, will assist 24,655 low-income students across the State. 


           "With an emphasis on tutoring, re-enrollment and retention particularly in at risk communities, the programs supported by this funding will go a long way in helping New Yorkers go to college and ensure that New York State remains a place of opportunity for all," the Governor said.


           Daemen will focus its CACG funded projects on assisting immigrant and refugee students attending Buffalos Lafayette High School who are New York State residents.


           The funding will be administered through the Daemen Refugee Teen Empowerment Program. The program is focused on filling in gaps in services by providing academic support, engaging refugee students in exploring postsecondary opportunities, and instilling high expectations for success.  The Refugee Teen Empowerment Program is held after school during the academic year at Lafayette.  


           "Refugee families are coming to Western New York, many from war-torn countries, to rebuild their lives, which have often been shattered by violence and conflict," said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.


           "Lafayette High School, on Buffalo's West Side, has a high refugee and immigrant population. Daemen College is supporting success in this student group at Lafayette by providing the guidance and resources to help them graduate from high school and enroll in college."  


           With HESC funding, the Daemen Refugee Teen Empowerment Program will be able to add access to computers for students to complete college applications (including FAFSAs for financial aid), SAT/ACT preparatory workshops, financial aid workshops for parents and students (with interpreters), information on financing options, and college tours.  


           M. J., a female refugee student at Lafayette High, is a participant in the program. Born in Somalia, she spent the majority of her life in the refugee camps in Kenya before coming to Buffalo. 


           "I want to be the first one in my family to graduate from college, and make them proud,” she said. “This is an opportunity that I would not have had if I stayed in Africa.  A college education will allow me to help myself and help my family, who has given me so much."   


About CACG


           College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) funding is awarded each year to regional organizations and state-wide partners. This year’s programs will take place in 13 counties across New York State and provide crucial college preparatory, enrollment, and completion services directly to students, including academic support, mentoring, and college financial aid awareness.   


           Detailed information about the College Access Challenge Grant Program, including the College Tour Initiative, recipients of CACG sub-grant awards and their projects, is available at www.HESC.ny.gov/CACG 

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