A new and unique college-readiness and scholarship program is bringing together Onondaga Community College and families in the Solvay School District. It’s called “OCC Advantage.” Students who earn a “C” average and show improvement while achieving other benchmarks will be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free. “We’re educating our students and our families about the opportunity this program represents because it’s amazing. We’re thrilled to be a part of it,” said Solvay Schools Superintendent Lawrence Wright.
The program and partnership were celebrated during an event November 9 in the auditorium of Solvay High School. Students in the freshman class will be the first to benefit from OCC Advantage. The program contains three main components:
- Performance – Students need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and show gradual improvement throughout high school.
- Attendance – Students will be required to meet attendance goals throughout their four years at Solvay.
- Community Service – Students will perform community service as part of the OCC Advantage program. “We want students to understand that education in life is about going beyond yourself. We’re using community service through the high schools for students to reflect on their skills, their interests, their community and see ways they can exercise the education they have already. It’s about what the student gets through reflection in service. So many students come to college undecided. If you’re undecided you can waste time and money. Those are precious commodities,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
The college-readiness program will also include helping students learn the types of behaviors that will lead to success both during their years in high school and in college. Upon graduation from Solvay each member of the Class of 2020 who has successfully completed the program will have the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free. Once enrolled in the College students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must continue to meet minimum grade point average requirements and perform community service.
“This initiative provides access and opportunity to families which otherwise may not be able to afford it,” said Wright. “We have very capable students. We graduate over 90% of them. The majority will go onto college but the majority of them will also struggle to pay for it. That’s a big part of why this relationship is so special.”
The East Syracuse Minoa School District will be joining the OCC Advantage program later this month.