The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of College Planning & Management magazine.

Mercy Scholars Program Aimed at Graduating Students Debt-Free

DOBBS FERRY, NY – New York’s Mercy College is proud to announce a major donation from the Robert and Kate Niehaus Foundation to launch the Mercy Scholars Program, a new scholarship fund to help close the financial gap for high achieving students with strong financial need. Along with the Robert and Kate Niehaus Foundation, Mercy College Board Member Jim McCormick and his wife Marsha McCormick have also made a significant donation to the Program. Moreover, additional Board Members and Mercy College faculty and staff have contributed.

The Mercy Scholars Program is part of Mercy College’s long-term plan to help more students graduate college in four years and enter the workforce without debt. The financial gap at Mercy College for students eligible for a full federal Pell Grant and the maximum New York State Tuition Assistance Program (NYS TAP) is roughly $3,500 per year. The Mercy Scholars Program would cover this gap fully.

The Mercy Scholars Program stands out, and is designed for student success because it:

  • Provides the balance of tuition, books and fees not covered by a federal Pell Grant and NYS TAP,
  • Awards students in their freshman year and supports them financially, academically, socially and emotionally for four years,
  • Develops a cohort of students to foster community, friendship and support and
  • Connects students directly with donors through organized student-donor events.

Niehaus says: “I went to college on a full scholarship. There is nothing that is more transformational to a person’s life than getting a quality education, and to be able to give someone a quality education without any debt I think is a wonderful gift. I hope they cherish this and I hope they make the most of it.”

To prospective Mercy College students applying for this prestigious scholarship, Mrs. Niehaus says: “Get out there, grab the bull by the horns. There is so much opportunity for you right now.”

McCormick says: “Mercy College stands out as an institution that has been successful keeping tuition low and avoiding the escalation in tuition common at other universities. This program is complementary to Mercy’s mission to transform a student’s life, including graduation without debt. It fits well with Mercy’s role in making a distinctive difference to students that are smart and motivated, and need extra help. In my many years on the Board I have come to know that Mercy’s students know the value of a dollar and an education.”

Thanks to donations from the Robert and Kate Niehaus Foundation and Jim and Marsha McCormick, the Program is set to fund a minimum of 30 Mercy students this year for four years and additional cohorts in coming years. But Mercy College President Tim Hall says it doesn’t end there. Hall is now calling on community members and friends of the College to join and help the next generation of students. Hall says: “Each and everyone one of us have a responsibility to the next generation — we have to make them a promise to help and they will promise us to forge ahead with their dreams. Let’s help Mercy College students get to the next level in their lives.”

Chief Advancement Officer Bernadette Wade says: “For these students any expense is a big deal. Imagine their stress when they want to achieve their dreams but thousands of dollars is standing in the way. You can eliminate this stress. You can put their mind at ease so they can concentrate on College, their grades and their future career. The Mercy Scholars Program is about access and completion.”

The Mercy Scholars Program has student requirements including that students:

  • Be incoming first-time freshman,
  • Be full federal Pell Grant eligible and receive the maximum amount from NYS TAP when they apply and enroll for the fall of 2016,
  • Be from the New York metro area,
  • Maintain a full-time status per semester to ensure graduation in four years and
  • Must maintain an active dialogue with their mentor, be in good academic standing and active in the community.

Vice President of Enrollment Management Deirdre Whitman says: “One of Mercy College’s greatest strengths is our commitment to ensure our graduates are not burdened with educational debt. The Mercy Scholars Program is about helping more Mercy College students make it across the finish line. Thank you to these thoughtful donors.”

Hall says: “I don’t think there are many gifts you can make, many forms of support you can provide in life that are as transformative as support to help someone get a college degree. I know you will be proud, I know you will be grateful for the opportunity to see a life transformed.”

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