April 20, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
Public school students who are from among the hardest hit areas by the pandemic will get a bit of financial help in fulfilling their college dreams.
More than 1,900 kindergarten-to-third grade students from five schools in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona will split a $70,000 contribution to their college savings accounts from NYC Kids Rise and the MetLife Foundation.
The students are among the more than 13,000 children in Queens School District 30, who have college savings accounts that were established through the NYC Kids RISE “Save for College” program, which was created in 2017. An estimated $6 million has been contributed to their college funds, the organization says.
The latest $70,000 donation will equate to about $37 per student at the five schools. The eligible students attend East Elmhurst Community School (P.S. 329), The Ruby G. Allen School (P.S. 148) in East Elmhurst, The Christa McAuliffe School (P.S. 149) and P.S. 280 in Jackson Heights, and The Harry T. Stewart Sr. School (P.S. 92) in Corona.
The contribution will also come with some advice for many of the students. Several MetLife employees will offer third graders virtual “College and Career Sessions,” as a means to help them map out their future.
“The financial contribution from the MetLife Foundation, coupled with their participation in virtual college and career sessions, both help to demonstrate the ways in which local institutions can become part of an ecosystem of support around our students and their families,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm in a statement.
Meanwhile, Council Member Francisco Moya said the funds come at a time when many parents are in need.
“This is how we support a community that has been hard hit by COVID-19,” Moya said.
Rachel Staroba-Hallenbeck, principal at P.S. 329 in East Elmhurst, calls the program “another tool” to help create a brighter future for the students in the district.
“Far too many children in our community grow up thinking that college and higher education just isn’t in the cards for them,” Staroba-Hallenbeck said. “The NYC Kids RISE community is doing important work to change that by helping to shift the conversation around who is able to save for college, excel in school, and become the leaders of tomorrow.”