Colleges Collaborate to Increase Degree Attainment

September 30, 2014

OSWEGO – SUNY Oswego has received a $2.88 million federal grant to improve college completion rates in Upstate New York.

Oswego's grant is one of 24 awards announced Sept. 30 under the U.S. Department of Education's First in the World Program, which seeks to spur innovation in higher education aimed at helping more students access college and complete a degree. Nearly 500 applications nationally were submitted in competition for the grants.

Working with Onondaga Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College and On Point for College, Oswego will target more than a thousand underrepresented and underprepared students who stand to benefit from higher education. The program will encourage community college students to raise their sights to a bachelor's degree and help them transfer to Oswego and succeed once there, with the goal of increasing both two-year and four-year degree completion rates.

"We're thrilled to receive federal support for a collaborative effort that targets some of the most vulnerable members of the Upstate New York community, and we are grateful to Congressmen Dan Maffei and Richard Hanna and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer for helping us win this highly competitive grant," said Deborah F. Stanley, SUNY Oswego president.

Dr. Lorrie Clemo, vice president of academic affairs and provost at SUNY Oswego, heads up the four-part "Transfer Gateways and Completion" program for improving transfer students' success and persistence to a bachelor's degree.

The collaborative effort involves aligning coursework between the community colleges and Oswego in targeted degree programs, advisement and support for students in the program, a transfer bridge camp before they start classes at Oswego, and dual enrollment -- enrolling students simultaneously in a community college and Oswego.

"We will begin immediately with our plans to target low-income, first-generation, two-year college students to help them transfer seamlessly on the path to a four-year degree," Clemo said.

A significant number of students already transfer from OCC and MVCC to Oswego, and the project's plans to expand articulation agreements, dual enrollment programs and course alignment will benefit all transfer students, SUNY Oswego officials noted.
Also leading the project are Virginia D. Donohue and Samuel D. Rowser of On Point for College; Stephanie C. Reynolds, vice president of student affairs at Mohawk Valley Community College; and Cathleen C. McColgin, provost and senior vice president at Onondaga Community College.

"This First in the World grant to our Oswego campus will further position SUNY as a national leader in seamless transfer while expanding our capacity for increased access, completion, and success among students," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

"This innovative project will benefit students in Upstate New York while providing a national model for improving educational outcomes. Congratulations to President Stanley, Provost Clemo and Oswego's faculty and staff along with their partners at Onondaga Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College and On Point for College on this much deserved award, and thank you to Congressmen Maffei and Hanna and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support and advocacy on SUNY's behalf."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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