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NYSED Awards $2.25 Million Grant as Part of Liberty Partnerships Program

New York State Education Department
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New York State Education Department (NYSED) awarded Iona College a $2.25 million grant under its Liberty Partnerships Program earlier this summer. Distributed over a period of five years from September 1, 2017, through August 31, 2022, the $450,000 allocated for the 2017-2018 academic year will serve more than 350 students.
The NYSED Liberty Partnerships Program was established in 1988 under Section 612, Subdivision 6, of the Education Law to address the significant dropout rate among New York’s youth. The legislation states “the failure of many young New Yorkers to complete their secondary education limits their opportunity for a life of fulfillment, prevents them from advancing into postsecondary education and hinders the State’s efforts to provide a well-trained workforce for business and industry in New York.” Liberty Partnerships Programs offer comprehensive pre-collegiate/dropout prevention programs and services to youth in urban, rural and suburban communities of Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital District, Mid-Hudson Valley, NYC and Long Island.
Iona College’s Liberty Partnerships Program is directed by Catherine Salch. Iona’s faculty advisors for the program are Katherine Zaromatidis, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology and coordinator of Iona's School Psychology graduate program; and Kara Naidoo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Education. Iona currently has a partnership with the Yonkers School District to serve at-risk students and their families at three high schools and four middle schools. The College provides a range of services both during the school day and after school. Services are scheduled to begin this week.
“Iona College’s Liberty Partnerships Program includes both undergraduate and graduate college students in the provision of services within the Yonkers Schools, offering our students a wonderful learning experience, while providing the Yonkers students with excellent mentors,” said Dr. Zaromatidis. “It is incredibly gratifying to see the positive results of our work with the Yonkers students and their families.  We are very happy that we will be able to continue our outreach efforts to shape the lives of many more students.”
According to an Albany Times Union report from August 2017, there are currently 41 local programs across New York State serving approximately 13,000 students in grades 5-12. In the 2015-16 school year, 443 partner schools participated with about 328 students per school being served. Ninety-two percent of participating seniors graduated that year, with 92 percent planning to attend college.
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Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education, located just 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan in New Rochelle. With a global network of more than 45,000 alumni, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, pre-professional and professional programs, Master of Arts, Master of Science and Business Administration degrees, and numerous advanced certificate programs. The College is the second-largest private sector employer in New Rochelle and provides more than 66,000 service hours in the community each year. Studies indicate the College also has an annual economic impact of $258 million as measured by the NY Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). See more at