The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the City University of New York (CUNY), in partnership with the Public Housing Community Fund, today announced the award of an unprecedented 79 new scholarships totaling $79,000 through the NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program. The annual program, which aims to help NYCHA residents achieve a higher education, provides $1,000 per recipient for CUNY education-related expenses, including tuition and textbooks. The scholarships offer payments to eligible public housing residents and Section 8 recipients currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at CUNY schools with 24 or more credits and a minimum 3.0 grade point average. This year, private donors, including Amazon and New York City Council Members, contributed to the scholarship fund. An award ceremony was held in honor of this year’s recipients on September 29. Since its inception, a total of 415 recipients have been awarded $415,000 through the program.
“Our actions as an administration reflect a deep commitment to the well-being of all our young people and a belief that where you are should not determine who you are and who you could be,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Being able to complete your college education involves more than just the ability to attend classes and study, but whether you can even afford to obtain a higher education. In addition to tuition, students have to buy textbooks and other supplies, as well as pay for transportation. The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program provides college students in NYCHA the support they need to complete their education and get on the path to prosperity and success.”
“This scholarship program reduces financial barriers to entry that are so often an impediment to those seeking higher degrees,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “We are grateful for the investment made in the education and futures of the 79 NYCHA residents and CUNY students who will benefit from this year’s program.”
“Pursuing higher education is an amazing achievement, but one that can be daunting financially,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “It is our pleasure and privilege to work alongside CUNY and the Public Housing Community Fund to put this generous funding to good work, helping NYCHA residents attain college educations.”
“Congratulations to this year’s NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship winners, whose tenacity and talent, even in the face of challenges, are truly inspiring,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “CUNY is proud to partner with the Public Housing Community Fund and NYCHA on this program as we share a common goal to create a stronger, more equitable New York City through life-changing opportunities for all New Yorkers. We are also grateful to the New York City Council for funding this initiative and for supporting CUNY’s longstanding mission.”
“The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarships are not only a way of supporting NYCHA residents as they pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Resident Services, Partnerships, and Initiatives Ukah Busgith. “Several of the scholarships that we are fortunate to distribute alongside our partners are done so in honor of former NYCHA residents and employees who have pursued higher education at CUNY.”
“We celebrate the unwavering dedication and ambition of a record 79 NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship awardees,” said Public Housing Community Fund Executive Director Alex Zablocki. “Their achievements exemplify the spirit of our community, and these scholarship awards recognize both academic accomplishments and commitment to community. Congratulations on this remarkable accomplishment.”
The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarships, originally funded by NYCHA and the New York City Council, have been awarded annually since 2005, and have since expanded to include five additional categories:
- The Regina A. Figueroa Memorial Scholarship: Established in 2011 by NYCHA in honor of a former resident, employee, and CUNY student, this scholarship is awarded to NYCHA residents enrolled in a CUNY school and living with a disability.
- The Levine Family Scholarship: Established in 2016 by Jeffrey Levine, Chairman of Levine Builders, Douglaston Development, and Clinton Management, and former NYCHA resident and City College of New York alum, this scholarship is awarded to NYCHA residents enrolled at the City College of New York.
- The Kofi Hormeku Scholarship: Established in 2017 by Nehemiah Economic Development, Inc., this scholarship is awarded to residents living in Brownsville, East New York, or Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, who are pursuing their undergraduate degree at a CUNY college.
- The Kisha Jackson Memorial Scholarship: Established in 2021 in honor of an esteemed NYCHA colleague, this scholarship is awarded to a CUNY student living in a Downtown Brooklyn NYCHA development.
- The Amazon NYCHA-CUNY Scholarship: Established in 2022 by Amazon, this scholarship expands on the NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program substantially for two years and is awarded to full-time undergraduate students at CUNY colleges.
“Our continued partnership with CUNY includes creating greater economic opportunities for NYCHA residents and expanding the local talent pipeline for Amazon, as well as other employers,” said Amazon New York Head of Community Affairs Carley Graham Garcia. “We are excited about the record number of scholars this year and want to offer a heartfelt congratulations to all of the scholarship winners!”
“I am proud to be able to sponsor the NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program in my district,” said New York City Council Member Kamillah Hanks. “This valuable program provides opportunities for NYCHA students to continue their higher education. Congratulations to the two recipients in my district, Yesenia Rivera and Ashley Villalva, on receiving this year’s scholarship! I wish you all the best for a bright future!”
“I am proud to support the NYCHA CUNY Levine Scholars,” said The Douglaston Companies Founder and Chairman Jeffrey E. Levine. “My experiences as a public housing resident at Linden Houses in East New York and a CUNY student at the School of Architecture were both formative. I would like to extend my congratulations to all the scholarship recipients, and I look forward to following along as you embark upon your chosen career paths.”
“It is an honor and an obligation to provide this scholarship,” said Nehemiah Economic Development, Inc. President L. Hormeku. “We live in an area with a high concentration of NYCHA developments, so we created this scholarship for the benefit of the surrounding community. These are our neighbors, and we have to be accountable for what happens in our neighborhood, we have to make sure everyone in our community has the same opportunities.”
The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program is overseen by the Authority’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES). Using a “Zone Model,” REES provides support to NYCHA residents by coordinating services with local partners in key areas, such as job opportunities, workforce development, adult education, financial empowerment, and business development.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Over 390,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 316 public housing developments and PACT/RAD developments formerly managed by NYCHA around the five boroughs. Over 190,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program.
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