LaGuardia Community College Foundation Gives a Record $11 Million in Student Aid Between 2021–2023
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (November 16, 2023) — The LaGuardia Community College Foundation gave out a record $11 million in aid to LaGuardia Community College/CUNY students during fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022–2023. Students received the aid as scholarships; stipends for internships with employer partners or participation in college enrichment programs; on-campus part-time jobs as peer advisors and tutors; and emergency funds that provide a safety net in case of job loss or other difficulties by providing help covering rent, utilities, childcare, or medical expenses.
According to Jay Golan, executive director of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, this is almost double the amount ($3 million) that was previously given out annually to students. The Foundation is reaching out to new and continuing sources of funding, to continue giving $5 million or more in aid to students each year. (CUNY fiscal years run July 1–June 30.)
“We are proud to have been able to give our students $11 million during the past two fiscal years, that’s an average of more than $5.5 million each year—helping more students than ever to stay on the path to success both in and out of the classroom. The LaGuardia Foundation Board worked incredibly hard to make this possible,” said Kenneth Adams, President of LaGuardia Community College. “We want New Yorkers looking for financial assistance to earn a college degree or workforce training to know about our student aid resources.”
The Foundation bridges gaps in federal and state financial aid programs by supporting LaGuardia students regardless of immigration or citizenship status, full-time or part-time enrollment, or if they’re in a degree or non-degree program. In 2021, LaGuardia became one of the few colleges nationwide providing financial aid for students in non-degree Continuing Education programs for professional workforce training programs and English language fluency.
“We know how important financial assistance is to our students, many of whom come from low-income backgrounds,” added President Adams. “Our generous donors allow us to support students as they complete their professional workforce training programs and associate degree programs—helping them secure financially-rewarding jobs and create better lives for themselves and their families. This benefits our communities and creates a better future for New York City.”
During the 2022-2023 fiscal year, 6,108 awards were given out to 4,510 students. About 32% of associate degree-seeking students (3,935 out of 12,153 total) received support. Of those students, 40% (1,598) were awarded more than one type of aid: for example, emergency aid plus a scholarship, or a scholarship plus a stipend, or in-campus employment plus emergency aid. Additionally, 10% of Continuing Education students seeking work training and English language fluency (575 out of 6,000 total) received Foundation aid.
Funds for the $11 million came from contributions to the Foundation’s Annual Fund and from the college’s Tomorrow Campaign between 2021-2022. The Tomorrow Campaign resulted in an unprecedented infusion of $15 million dedicated towards student aid via one-time gifts or multi-year pledges of two to four years from generous individuals, corporations, and foundations, including members of the LaGuardia Foundation Board and LaGuardia faculty and staff, who participated to help students continue their studies without interruption during and post pandemic.
“We’re working hard to continue this level of support for our students,” said Mr. Golan. “Over 94% of the funds raised by the Foundation go straight to our students today—helping students meet their most pressing needs, including tuition, on-campus employment, internships, housing, food, healthcare, and transportation. We don’t have the luxury of building an endowment, and that’s fine with us.”
Students who receive aid from the Foundation take more classes per term and have graduation rates that are double the average of LaGuardia students. GPAs among Foundation aid recipients for degree-seeking students (maximum GPA is 4.0) are typically .03 to 1.3 higher than the average LaGuardia student, depending upon the program. Students who receive special scholarships or stipends for participating in enrichment programs and internships, and those who were employed part-time on campus, are often at the top end of this achievement bump.
LaGuardia Students Need Your Support
With access to a community college like LaGuardia, low-income New Yorkers can take the first steps of their academic journey and learn the skills to go on and succeed in the workforce or at a four-year college. In either case, LaGuardia serves as a critical launchpad that lifts students out of poverty while shaping our city’s future.
“The good news is that LaGuardia and its students are emerging from the stressful, financially challenging period of 2021-23, when many students were just not able to enroll or continue their education at LaGuardia,” said President Adams. “In 2023-24 academic year thus far, enrollment among associate degree-seeking students is up (by 5.1%) for the first time in almost a decade with many students re-emerging from debt-based suspension and able to re-register for classes. Registrations in ACE have steadily increased, making LaGuardia the largest provider of workforce training in CUNY and English language learning in NYC. Students are back on campus, learning in classrooms and supported by a dedicated faculty and staff. We are also taking steps to include as cohorts more of the influx of recent migrants into New York City, and to include the justice-impacted community more fully.”
“The Foundation Board is determined to keep annual disbursements for student aid at the $5 million level, in consonance with the college administration as LaGuardia brings the most successful of its pilot programs between 2021-2023 to scale for thousands of the 23,000 students enrolled annually,” Mr. Golan said. “The Foundation also addresses new needs such as the major influx of immigrants with English competency programs, the growing mental health and counseling needs of a substantial number of students, and the housing crisis affecting many of our students.”
“Consistent with the mission of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, we are responding to the most urgent needs and delivering support to LaGuardia students as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Mr. Golan.
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The mission of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation is to raise and distribute funds for the college in support of its deserving students. Incorporated in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit organization, the Foundation provides critical support for students to continue their education and graduate so they can build a better future for themselves, their families, and their community.
LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.