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Bloomberg Philanthropies, CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and Schools Chancellor Banks Launch College and Career Peer Advising Program to Benefit Thousands of New York City High School Students

$5.2 million CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows program will connect NYC public school students with paths to higher education and career preparation

New York, NY – The City University of New York and NYC Public Schools today announced the launch of the CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows, a program to support New York City Public School students as they graduate high school and navigate the college and career planning process. Made possible by $5.2 million in support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, this multi-year initiative has already placed 10 full-time in-person advisers in 10 NYC public high schools to serve graduating seniors and is piloting a hybrid virtual advising model for juniors during the 2022-2023 academic year using five additional advisers. The program will grow to 40 advisers in 30 high schools in academic year 2024-2025. The CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows will work in tandem with the higher education and career prep supports that these NYC public high schools already have in place.

The program builds on the success of another long-standing partnership, College & Career Bridge for All, and will increase enrollment in college and career programs for NYC public school students by hiring and training recent CUNY graduates to work directly with graduating high school students and provide them with meaningful advising, from the college admissions and financial aid application process through matriculation.

College & Career Advising Fellows highlights the deep and ongoing collaboration between CUNY and New York City Public Schools in the common goals of high-quality college and career advising and supporting students toward pathways that lead to long-term economic security. The provision of equitable, personalized advising to students and their families will help ensure that students are matched with options that best suit their needs.

“It can be challenging for high school students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, to navigate the college application and financial aid process,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “They often find themselves lost among forms, deadlines, and jargon that doesn’t resonate. CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows will help simplify the college admissions process and ensure that students across the city have access to knowledgeable advisers. This initiative also provides recent CUNY graduates who are NYC public school alumni with training and career opportunities as college and career advisers. We are grateful to the Chancellor Banks and our colleagues at NYC Public Schools for collaborating with us on this important partnership, and to Bloomberg Philanthropies for making it possible to scale up this vital and needed program.”

“The mission of New York City Public Schools is to ensure that each student graduates on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security, equipped to be a positive force for change,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “The CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows Program is a key initiative in this effort as it will support our students in finding their passion and purpose in a career, as well as help them navigate the college application process to achieve their goals. I am so thrilled to have the collaboration and support of our great higher education partner in The City University of New York, as well as the incredible financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies that makes this work possible. What our children can achieve is unlimited with the support and collaboration from our partners in preparing our students for college, career, and the 21st-century economy.”

“Through our virtual college advising program CollegePoint we have seen that near-peer college advising can have a positive impact on student outcomes in the college application process,” said Jenny Sharfstein Kane, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies postsecondary education work. “We are excited to bring learnings from that initiative to a new hybrid model which provides NYC high school students with both in -person and virtual advising from recent CUNY graduates.”

Rita Igbinoba is a CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows adviser at Science Skills Center High School in Brooklyn. After graduating from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two minors, one in educational science and the other in economics, she knew that she wanted to give back to her community. CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows provided her with an intensive five-week training program, which gave her the insight and skills to support high school seniors as they embark on their journeys to college. Today Rita is a CUNY College & Career Advising Fellow, helping 130 seniors at her high school alma mater. “I work with so many enthusiastic high school students, and I see myself in them. I was in their shoes just a few years ago, and I understand what they are going through. They also see me as a resource, someone who has had the same experiences and can guide them along the way. It feels great being a role model for them. Since I did it, they know they can do it, too,” said Rita.

It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for Michelle Tapia, who is also a CUNY College & Career Advising Fellows adviser and a CUNY alumna, who graduated from the College of Staten Island with a bachelor’s degree in history. In addition to being an adviser at the Science Skills Center High School in Brooklyn, Michelle is also a CUNY College and Career Advising Fellow at Bronx River High School. Because she is so close in age to the students who she advises, she is able to create a unique environment of support and empathy. “I am just a few years older than my students, and we are all city kids. We grew up in the five boroughs, so we have a lot in common. They can share their experiences and struggles with someone who really gets it,” said Michelle. The students she works with are bright, eager to learn, and brimming with promise. While some are pursuing a traditional path to college, others are exploring their options in trade and vocational schools. “After getting to know all of these students, I am so excited for their futures. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish once they are out in the world.”

About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTubeTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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