College Bridge Program To Reach All Graduating NYC DOE Students

Published on June 16, 2020, 1:48 pm
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Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the expansion of the College Bridge Program, a collaboration between CUNY and the New York City Department of Education to provide support to graduating NYC DOE high school seniors as they transition to college and career pathways at CUNY and beyond. The program, launched in 2016, will expand this year to reach every 2020 graduating senior, as a result of a $877,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, and a $250,000 contribution from The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, which will provide support for the program’s summer and fall terms.

“In these times of great uncertainty, we must do all we can to make sure our children stay on the right track,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With these generous donations, every graduating senior will have the support they need to transition to college and continue on their journey to success.”

“This year, support for our seniors is more essential than ever, and we’re thrilled to expand College Bridge with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Milton Petri Foundation,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “This program extends our commitment to seniors through the summer, guaranteeing they have access to a coach to help guide their postsecondary plans. We know these last few months have not been how our students expected to end high school, and we’re here to help them prepare for their next steps no matter what.”  

Over the last four years, College Bridge, a part of the College Access for All initiative, has helped students overcome the “summer melt” and make a successful transition to college and career pathways. Using a near-peer approach, College Bridge pays college students from CUNY to serve as coaches to graduating seniors. The program will help with preparing for all postsecondary options for young New Yorkers in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expansion of the program will ensure that College Bridge reaches out to every graduating senior from a New York City public high school in 2020, estimated to be approximately 57,000 students, up from 15,000 students served through the program in prior years. Studies show that as many as 40 percent of students accepted to and planning to attend college can experience “summer melt” and ultimately not matriculate at a college in the fall. This is in part due to the complicated application and enrollment tasks they must tackle over the summer. College Bridge aims to facilitate the transition and get rising college freshmen set up for a successful fall.

“High school seniors have shown great resilience through this year’s extraordinary challenges, and despite the uncertainty that still lies ahead, many of them are preparing to enter college in a few months,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, and three-term mayor of New York City. “To help them through the college transition during a difficult time, we are expanding our support for the College Bridge program. The program will help ensure that students have the support they need to enter college this year — and succeed. We’re increasing our investment in their future because we need their talents more than ever.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the education of every student in New York City,” said Cass Conrad, executive director of The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation. “The College Bridge for All program provides young people with the tools and training to help ensure they enter college ready to succeed. Through our work with CUNY and other nonprofit organizations, the Petrie Foundation has a long history of enabling New Yorkers to achieve their college and career goals, even in the most challenging times. We are delighted to be collaborating with Bloomberg Philanthropies in supporting this important initiative.”

College Bridge’s near-peer model has a proven track record of efficacy. In 2017, participating students enrolled in college at a rate 11 percent higher than the DOE average. This impact was driven by increasing college enrollment for students identified as low-income, Latinx, and/or Spanish-speaking, and the enrollment increase was highest for students enrolling into CUNY community colleges, as these students are most at risk of “melting.” Typically, about 60 percent of participating students attend CUNY schools, although College Bridge coaches work with all graduating high school students on the various postsecondary plans they pursue.

To serve as a College Bridge coach, a CUNY student must have completed one year at the University. The paid coaches help students navigate pre-college paperwork and planning, and manage the necessary academic and social-emotional transitions. Coaches assist with follow-up on financial aid applications, the enrollment process, and orientation. College Bridge coaches also introduce the students they mentor to supportive programs within the university, such as CLIP and CUNY Start/Math Start. To learn more about becoming a College Bridge coach, please visit here. College Bridge will continue to work in partnership with other bridge programs led by the Urban Assembly, CARA, New Visions, and CollegeBound Initiative.

“College access and matriculation remain a priority for the NYCDOE. Through the College Access for All initiative, several direct student supports including College Bridge and SAT in school administration have been provided to NYC public school students in order to increase postsecondary enrollment,” said Lawrence Pendergast, Deputy Chief Academic Officer for the Division of Teaching and Learning. “These supports we have instituted in the NYCDOE for our students over the past four years are intended not only to pave the way for postsecondary matriculation but more importantly for postsecondary completion and success.”

“Our goal for the especially challenging summer of 2020 is to help New York City’s college-bound graduates, most of whom are entering CUNY, develop the courage and skills to remain committed to college in the fall,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “They are graduating at a moment of unprecedented uncertainty and planning for their future after several months of isolation from friends, teachers and trusted advisers. Thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as the Petrie Foundation, each one of these students will get the help and support they will need.”

“The expansion of the College Bridge Program is a significant support for high school graduates transitioning to higher education and career pathways. Thanks are extended to the private entities that are contributing to this essential program. The guarantee that every high school graduate can participate in this program is a move toward the equity that we seek in our education system. This programs substantiates the fact that students benefit substantially from mentoring, coaching and tutoring,” said Council Member Inez Barron, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education.

“The College Bridge Program helps to prepare our graduating seniors for a successful first year of college. After months of remote learning with disparate impacts on students, this program is needed more than ever. Thank you to Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Milton Petrie Foundation for recognizing this need and boosting this program, a true investment in students that will surely pave the way for academic success in higher education,” said Council Member Debi Rose, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services.

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