Seven CUNY community college students have been selected by the Kaplan Educational Foundation as the 11th cohort of Kaplan Leadership Scholars – high-potential, low-income, associate-degree candidates who receive financial, academic, advisement and college admissions support in preparing them to transfer to selective four-year colleges and complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Kaplan Scholars

Kaplan Scholars who graduated from CUNY community colleges this year are slated to attend four-year institutions including Stanford, Brown and Syracuse universities, and Wellesley College. Kaplan Scholars have been accepted at numerous selective and elite four-year and graduate programs across the country, and program alumni are employed in fields including education, nonprofits and scientific research, and at Fortune 500 companies. A number of selective four-year colleges actively recruit and provide substantial aid to Kaplan Scholars, all of whom are drawn from CUNY.

“By providing financial and other support, the Kaplan Scholars program affords low-income students an invaluable opportunity to prepare for and excel in highly competitive colleges across the country,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “Congratulations to the newest cohort of Kaplan Scholars.”

The new group includes:

•           Rukayat Akinola, Borough of Manhattan Community College

•           Hector Castillo, Guttman Community College

•           Tiffany Garcia, Borough of Manhattan Community College

•           Karen Alvarez Julian, Bronx Community College

•           Andre Morrison, Borough of Manhattan Community College

•           Kyle Paneto, LaGuardia Community College

•           Felix Patawah, Bronx Community College

The Kaplan Leadership Program, launched by the nonprofit foundation in 2006, provides scholarships, stipends, living expenses, intensive guidance and academic preparation during the Scholars’ community college years, continuing through their graduation from their four-year schools. Foundation Executive Director Nancy Sánchez said that Kaplan candidates, who are identified by their CUNY colleges and receive application assistance from them, are generally students of color who have at least a 3.5 GPA, demonstrate high academic potential and leadership abilities, and have financial need.

Ninety-eight percent of Kaplan Scholars are eligible for federal Pell grants for low-income students.  Seventy-seven percent are first-generation college students. According to the foundation, 38 are black and 31 are Latino; 36 are women, 33 are men, the students’ age range is 18 to 37, and nine have children. Program support includes $3,000 toward CUNY tuition and a stipend of up to $500 a month.

Sánchez also announced the foundation’s launch of a pilot program to provide transfer admissions and financial aid application assistance to 15 CUNY community college students who applied but were not selected as Kaplan Scholars. She said the new KEF Transfer Initiative Program would provide a series of workshops for these students so they have the tools to complete college transfer applications and to interview.

“Many of the schools really want these students,” she said. “Unfortunately, students don’t have the resources to apply.” She said she hoped the Transfer Initiative Program would expand in the coming years to accommodate a bigger group of students

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 400 high schools throughout the five boroughs. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the CUNY School of Professional Studies.