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November 30, 2017
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Awards $4.76 Million for Four Smart Transfer Early College High School Programs

The New York State Education Department awarded $4.76 million in grants to four recipients (two school districts and two colleges) for the Smart Transfer Early College High School Program, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. These grants will support partnerships between public school districts and eligible institutions of higher education to offer historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students the opportunity and support to complete college early. The program also allows students to transfer to a partner four-year institution of higher education where they will continue to complete a bachelor’s degree within two years. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget included funding for this initiative in 2016.

“Giving underrepresented students the chance to complete four years of education in only two can be life changing,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “College expenses are only increasing, making it harder for economically disadvantaged students to attend and complete post-secondary education. The Smart Transfer Early College High School Program makes it possible for these students to have the same opportunities as their peers.”

“Achievement gaps exist, in part, because opportunities like college are more attainable for some students than others,” Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “The Smart Transfer Early College High School Program will continue our critical efforts to close such gaps by helping to lift the barriers that some students face to obtaining a college degree.”

New York State has been part of the early college high school (ECHS) movement since its inception in 2002. In 2009, the New York State Board of Regents launched the Smart Scholars ECHS Program as a strategy to close the high school and college achievement gaps in New York State. ECHS programs target students who are historically underrepresented in postsecondary education, academically at-risk or economically disadvantaged. Successful ECHS students graduate prepared to complete a post-secondary degree on time or early, with no need for remedial courses.

Essential components of the Smart Scholars ECHS Program include:

  • an active partnership between a school district and an institution of higher education (IHE) to provide an integrated high school and college curriculum; and
  • the academic and social supports the students need to graduate high school on time with a Regents diploma and at least 24 transferable college credits, at no cost to their families.

The Smart Transfer ECHS (ST-ECHS) program extends the work of the Smart Scholars ECHS and will allow students to complete up to 60 transferable college credits or an associate degree by the time they graduate from high school. The ST-ECHS program also gives students the opportunity to transfer to a partner four-year IHE where they will continue to receive academic and social support to complete a bachelor’s degree within two years of matriculating at the IHE. Students will potentially save two years of time and expenses that are normally needed to complete a bachelor’s degree.

NYSED awarded four-year ST-ECHS grants to the following programs:

Lead Organization


Grant Amount

Bard College

New York City Department of Education


Cohoes City School District

University at Albany; Hudson Valley Community College


Greece Central School District

Monroe Community College; College at Brockport, SUNY


Schenectady County Community College

Schenectady City School District; University at Albany; SUNY Delhi


More information about the ST-ECHS program is available on our New York State Early College High School (ECHS) Programs website.