The 4 Best Ways to Boost Enrollment

The 4 Best Ways to Boost Enrollment

Growing enrollment in higher education is essential for generating revenue.

School budgets are primarily made up of tuition and state support based on the number of students enrolled in a per-pupil funding system. Public and private schools are in an intensive never-ending cycle of enrollment-driven anxiety-causing budget deficits. Higher education is experiencing the greatest decline in college enrollments in a decade with falling enrollment rates ranging from 4.9% to 9.5%.

Changing approaches has been crucial as schools face many unknowns and major shifts that recalibrate enrollment management. Unfortunately, this downward trend may be long term, and the need for schools to adapt long term to challenges, requires diversification of retention and recruitment approaches.

Moving forward, here are some proven strategies your team can borrow from other higher educational institutions to address enrollment:

  1. Examine your structural framework: Engage in a strategic assessment of your enrollment management processes. Align your internal structural strategy with your enrollment goals along with any outside factors. At SUNY New Paltz, for example, this examination resulted in key streamlining shifts, giving more attention to online program delivery, and to broadening the existing scope of current employee’s roles when budgets don’t sustain hiring for new positions. An examination of how your school recruits and serves the student population can lead to more efficiency. Many structures and processes have served well in the past but refreshing the structural process will help you thrive in the future.
  2. Investigate your Institutional Influence: Think about how your school is an agent of social power, with influence, that can optimize your capacity to meet more diverse students’ demands by changing outdated admissions and enrollment policies that can expand your reach.  Organizations can influence the kind of policies they have, and they can achieve noble purposes such as publicly showing care for people. One specific public policy change occurred during the pandemic. In 2020, the admission process did not require standardized test scores like the SAT or ACTs. This policy was loosened up to be more inclusive, shifting the value of an applicant beyond a test score and it removes barriers for underrepresented populations and makes room for more equitable enrollments. Admissions officers can choose to allow tests to be optional because arguably tests do not tell the full story of a candidate. Diversity policies provide a competitive advantage when it comes to increasing enrollment and currently works in unison with current social movements.
  3. Invest in Relationship Building: Another useful tactic to increase enrollment is building trusting relationships that tap into what students specifically want or need in order to motivate them to choose your school. Your school can generate feelings of being known, cared for, and supported when they nurture relationships with prospective students by showing genuine interest and maintaining connections. Form personal connections that matter by making phone calls, sending birthday cards, inviting them to join special events, sending a handwritten note, allowing prospective students to try out courses, or making a customized video of their tour. Relationship building can help match students to the best fitting schools by narrowing down a larger pool of prospective enrollees into more seriously interested applicants that finally enroll. Interested families will become more and more excited about your school during the recruitment process as you make efforts to understand what is driving their decisions. It is financially imperative to emphasize common goals as students and organizations rely upon one another. It helps students decide on the fit and commit to your school.
  4. Tell a Good Story: Good stories convey cultural information about our school’s morals, values, and beliefs. Make your school story memorable, convincing, and distinguishing. The story should carry history and reinforce the school’s identity. Crafting and continually renewing a strong school story using technological tools is an indispensable plan of action to reinforce enrollment management practices. With dynamic communication methods, schools can publicize marketing messages that highlight institutional stories to attract students to enroll. Help them to believe your school is where they belong, providing a narrative of hope for their futures.

Here at RBT, our team is experienced with handling the unique financial pressures your school is up against. We hope these strategies will help your school redefine needs and evolve through the enrollment struggle. If you’d like to know more, our dedicated education team is here to help develop a personalized long-term strategy for your school. Please feel free to contact us today to connect. Additionally, if you would like to submit topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at TLideas@rbtcpas.com.

$100 Million in Funding for NY Shelter

$100 Million in Funding for NY Shelter

All across the state, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the true extent of housing insecurity and made it even more challenging for struggling New Yorkers to pay rent.

The Hudson Valley continues to face intense housing pressures and rapid price escalations. Change has already come to many local communities – much of it with the potential to cause widespread displacement. How local government manages that change and protects our most vulnerable community members should remain top of mind as we enter 2022.

On a local level, we have continued to see the number of those experiencing homelessness rise over recent years, and the need for supportive services is greater than ever throughout the region.

Consider the most recent (pre-pandemic) data from non-profit Hudson River Housing. Between 2015 and 2019, the rate of homelessness grew by 42% in Dutchess County. The rate of homelessness is much higher in Dutchess County than in other parts of New York (excluding NYC) and slightly higher than the national rate of homelessness. What can be done? Funding is on the way, and you need to know how to access it. Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced new funding for counties to better assist at-risk populations as we enter 2022 and beyond.

$100 million in new funding is headed to counties to help homeless individuals and families leave the shelter system for a permanent home by providing rental assistance. The funds may also help very low-income New Yorkers pay their rent and increase their housing security. Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the New York State Rental Supplement Program will provide funding to localities in all 57 counties and New York City to offer rental assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or facing the imminent loss of housing. The Rental Supplement Program is now the primary state-funded rental assistance program available for New Yorkers struggling to pay rent. Adopted as part of the FY2022 budget, the program is providing nearly $68 million for New York City and more than $32 million to all other counties throughout the state. Counties will have the flexibility to develop a program that meets the needs of their underserved populations.

Who is eligible to receive financial assistance?

Households seeking the rent supplement may earn no more than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) to be eligible. Initial priority will be given to those earning 30% or less. Half of the supplements are earmarked for families or individuals that are in shelters or experiencing homelessness, and the program is available to all eligible households, regardless of their immigration status.

Rental supplement amounts will be funded at 85% of the local fair-market rent values, with localities having the option to pay up to 100% by using local funds. A household receiving the supplement will contribute no more than 30% of their total earned income toward their monthly rent. The supplement can only be used for upcoming rental payments, with local social service districts determining coverage for arrears, which can only be paid with local funds.

Each county or locality must opt into the program and submit a distribution plan to OTDA. They may choose to directly administer their allocation or delegate it to another public agency, contractor, or non-profit organization.

While the precariousness of housing has increased for many, the greater attention on housing issues has raised awareness about the housing crisis that we know has existed for decades.

New York State is now a national leader in rent relief funds distributed, with the full initial allotment of more than $2.1 billion fully obligated. At RBT, we understand that local government officials are facing enormous pressures. You can find added value in working with professionals who understand your governmental sector and the unique factors which impact your entity. Since 1969, our governmental clients have depended on RBT CPAs, LLP professionals for assistance with all types of financial issues, and we’re here to help you, too. Give us a call if you have questions or would like to set up a consultative appointment.

Sources: Governor.Ny.Gov, Hudson River Housing

Do Your Team Members Qualify for Limited Time Loan Forgiveness?

Do Your Team Members Qualify for Limited Time Loan Forgiveness?

For years, thousands of teachers, educators, social workers, military members, and other public servants in New York were promised debt relief support that never arrived. The harsh reality is that just over 16,000 borrowers nationwide have ever received forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. In 2018, it was revealed that nearly 99% of applicants were denied forgiveness. Now, nearly 15 years after the program was officially launched, some good news is here for public servants. As a result of the COVID-19 national emergency and the tremendous strain it placed on public servants, on Oct. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (DE) announced an overhaul to the PSLF program rules.

Now, for a limited period of time, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. As 2021 comes to a close, it’s important to address this change with all of your team members to ensure everyone who qualifies takes advantage of this huge savings opportunity. Read on to learn more about what to expect.

Through October 2022, borrowers who have worked 10 years (or made 120 qualifying monthly payments) in a qualifying job will be eligible for loan relief no matter what kind of federal loan or repayment plan they have. Past loan payments that were previously ineligible will now count, moving some borrowers closer to the finish line.

The change will immediately make 22,000 borrowers eligible to get loans canceled, and another 27,000 could become eligible if they get previous payments certified, according to the department. In total, more than 550,000 borrowers will be moved closer to forgiveness, the agency said.

“Borrowers who devote a decade of their lives to public service should be able to rely on the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “The system has not delivered on that promise to date, but that is about to change for many borrowers.”

The Department of Education will be ramping up its efforts to review eligibility and approve loan forgiveness under the waiver program through most of the next year. Among other changes, the department will allow military members to count time on active duty toward the 10 years, even if they put a pause on making their payments during that time.

While DE will roll out these improvements in groups over the coming months, the department has not provided a specific timeline for the rollout of the new PSLF benefits. To assist your team in further understanding this limited PSLF opportunity, you can read these frequently asked questions and answers on studentaid.gov. Borrowers should also ensure the contact information on file is accurate, so direct them to register for an FSA ID at StudentAid.gov/create-account or update their StudentAid.gov contact information by logging in and visiting StudentAid.gov/settings. Additionally, feel free to contact our dedicated team of professionals at RBT who specialize in helping government clients. We look forward to providing you with personalized services and answering industry-specific questions.

Sources: Student Aid, DOE, NBC, NPR

Window Closing for NY Scholarship Raffle

Window Closing for NY Scholarship Raffle

If financial planning teaches you anything, it’s that it is never too early to start saving up.

The next generation is bound to face steep higher education costs – just how high? Let’s break down the price projections for kids (currently age 5) who will enroll in college in 13 years. If college costs rise at 5% a year, the annual cost to attend a four-year public state college or university will be $44,136 (up from $23,406 over 13 years). The total cost for 4 years (s) will then be $190,230. That’s a hefty price tag. One new statewide program is offering 50 lucky kids a chance at free full-ride scholarships, but the eligibility rules will disqualify a lot of families from even entering the race.

Educate, Graduate Vaccine Incentive Scholarship is a five-week public outreach campaign, running through December 19, 2021, consisting of a series of statewide drawings to increase awareness of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives for young New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

The scholarship announcement program came as Hochul noted New York was receiving more than 700,000 pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with plans to soon obtain more doses for the entire 1.5 million New Yorkers in the age group. Hochul also announced that 65% of the more than 700 school districts statewide are planning to host vaccination clinics at or near school buildings for the 5-to-11 age group in the coming weeks. As of November 3, 2021, New York children ages 5 – 11 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state launched a new website to help parents and families navigate their frequently asked questions surrounding the vaccine.

So, how does the raffle work?

Parents or legal guardians of any 5 to 11-year-old New Yorker who has received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, may enter their child for a chance to win a four-year, full-ride scholarship (including tuition, fees, room-and-board, and expenses) to any two-year or four-year New York State public college or university. All non-winners will be automatically included in subsequent weeks’ lotteries. No entrant may win more than one prize under this program and while it isn’t a requirement for children to have obtained the vaccination within New York State to be eligible, the state does have a validation process in place.

Entries must be received by December 19, 2021, 2021 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT to be eligible for at least one drawing. The drawings will be conducted weekly, for five (5) weeks. The first drawing will take place in less than a week, on November 22, 2021. Ten winners will be announced weekly beginning Wednesday, November 24, 2021, for five consecutive weeks. A total of 50 prize winners will be selected. Interested applicants must complete entries at governor.ny.gov/nysvaccineincentive.

At RBT, we understand vaccination decisions are extremely personal and that family members and educators in our communities are having important conversations in and outside of the classroom. Our goal is to provide our clients with relevant, timely information regarding financial savings opportunities, and strategic financial planning that impacts the education industry’s technical needs, so you can serve your respective communities to the best of your ability. We are constantly monitoring industry changes and governmental decisions that impact your institutions. Our team of professionals is dedicated to serving you and your colleagues. Questions? Contact us today here. Additionally, if you would like to submit topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at TLideas@rbtcpas.com.

Source: Governor.ny.gov

New NY Law Cracks Down on Code Enforcement

New NY Law Cracks Down on Code Enforcement

Local governments that are lax on code enforcement are being put on high alert by New York lawmakers after a stricter building code violation law was approved earlier this month by Gov. Kathy Hochul. What prompted the change, when does it take effect, and what does your municipality need to know? Read on.

Higher fines are on the way for property owners who repeatedly violate building codes and have left them unaddressed. The law sponsored by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) and Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) imposes a minimum fine of $25 a day after 180 days of a property being in violation. A minimum violation of a property not being addressed of $50 a day would be imposed after 360 days. The maximum violation remains $1,000 a day as levied by a court.

Currently, any citation issued to a property owner for a violation of the uniform code has a 30 day “cure” period for the property owner to correct the issue before being subject to any fines. After the cure period, the court may levy fines of up to $1,000 per day that the violation continues uncured, however, these fines can technically be as low as a single cent. Lawmakers who backed the bill said the new tougher fine structure is meant to push municipal governments to act faster on properties that are not up to code and have languished for months with token fines put in place.

“Across New York our municipalities are facing a crisis with the housing stock. Our communities are suffering under absentee landlords and fear that landlords will retaliate if they report code violations in their homes. This legislation has the teeth to hold repeat offenders accountable for their bad management practices by denying them access to more properties and implementing increasing fines for failure to fix existing issues in their current properties. Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home,” said Senator May.

On August 5, 2019, the Committees on Investigations and Government Operations and Housing, Construction, and Community Development released a report on code enforcement in New York State and the findings were less than impressive. The investigation concluded the lack of prioritization of code enforcement in municipalities across the State is significantly contributing to the culture of poor compliance that ultimately endangers the lives of residents and first responders. The report found that all municipalities investigated failed to impose meaningful penalties to deter code violations and that owners view the fines imposed as the cost of doing business.

“It is well past time for the culture of ‘build now, ask for forgiveness later’ to end. Whether it’s in Rockland or across New York State, this attitude is putting the lives of residents and first responders at risk. Continually violating the building code is reckless and property owners must be held accountable. Ensuring there are repercussions to these unscrupulous property owners does just that,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski. 

The law takes effect March 3, 2022, so don’t delay to ensure your team is up to speed and has a plan in place to better serve your community. If you have questions regarding this new law or about creating a safety plan to ensure your team is doing everything in its power to monitor code enforcement swiftly and efficiently, we can help. Contact our dedicated Government group at RBT to schedule a consultation today. Additionally, if you would like to submit feedback or topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at TLideas@rbtcpas.com.

Sources: Kenneth Zebrowski, Spectrum

Calling All Educators! Huge Savings Opportunities Your Community Needs to Apply For

Calling All Educators! Huge Savings Opportunities Your Community Needs to Apply For

We don’t need to remind education professionals – or your students – that college is expensive. For full-time undergraduate students in the 2019-2020 academic year, tuition hikes across all sectors were consistent. Published tuition and fees for public two-year in-district, public four-year in-state, and private nonprofit four-year colleges increased by at least 20% in the past 10 years, according to college tuition inflation data from the Manhattan Institute. So how are families affording the staggering cost of college? According to Sallie Mae’s 2021 college report, scholarships, and grants account for 25% of college costs, with 56% of families using scholarship funding. The vast majority of Americans are borrowing, with 47% of families in the 2021 academic year taking out loans to pay for college. With scholarships and grants typically covering $7,500 of annual academic costs per student, it’s one funding source that shouldn’t go ignored yet each year thousands of families miss out because they don’t think they would be eligible, or don’t know where to turn to apply.

Below, we will be providing some of the most noteworthy digital platforms to discover local scholarship opportunities throughout the Hudson Valley. While not every scholarship is applicable to every student, it is our hope that you can use this list as a launching pad to generate important, financial savings conversations with the students and families you serve.

One statewide resource that is incredibly helpful is Sholarships.com which simply requires interested applicants to create a profile on their site and access more than 2.7 million scholarships and grants, narrowed down to specific opportunities the applicant is qualified for.

The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley is another great local alternative to find more than 50 trusted scholarships and numerous grants. Governed by a Board of Trustees that includes local leaders in business, philanthropy, and community, you will find open applications for opportunities within Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. The application portal opens on January 1, and a plethora of helpful application resources can be found on their site.

Since 2001, The Chamber Foundation has proudly awarded over a half-million dollars in scholarship funds to local students. Interested applicants from Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, and Ulster Counties should visit their site to apply for specific scholarships after January 1, 2022. Applications are electronic and instructions are easy to follow on their platform.

The Rockland Community Foundation is a nonprofit with numerous local Rockland grant and scholarship opportunities available to local students. Most of this year’s scholarships are accessible through the Foundation’s new online portal. Currently, 30 scholarships are available but not all are open for application. Be sure to encourage eligible applicants to act now, the window on some applications is quickly closing, The Nyack Young Writers Scholarship closes on November 1!

There are tons of scholarships and grants out there for all types of students regardless of interests, talents, or choice of educational programs. Encouraging students to seek out financial assistance early on in their educational careers will undoubtedly help set our communities up for success. Interested in connecting with one of our dedicated RBT professionals? Contact us today, we look forward to connecting.

Source: EducationData.org

Making the Most of your COVID-19 Relief Aid

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The ARPA appropriated approximately $39.6 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and represents the third stream of funding granted for HEERF to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Taken together, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), and the ARPA represent HEERF I, HEERF II, and HEERF III, respectively. Following the spring 2021 announcement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a breakdown of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act going to New York colleges and universities. Public, private, and proprietary higher education institutions within the state stand to receive roughly $2.6 billion, Schumer said.

First things first: you need to do your homework.

There is a lot to unpack within this funding, and it’s extensive. We hope your staff has had adequate time to digest all of the information made available by the U.S. Department of Education. As many schools are currently in the process of distributing and spending HEERF III money, our goal is to provide a high-level overview of several important aspects of HEERF III so your institution can make the most of available funding.

This funding is not one size fits all.

Megan Schneider, senior director of government affairs at the National Association of College and University Business Officers, noted that every college serves a different population of students with different needs. “The Education Department really wanted schools to have flexibility because no one knows your students as well as you do,” Schneider said. Schneider also said that, given the uncertainty of the pandemic, she understands why some colleges are inclined to want to preserve as much aid as they can. However, she added that her association has been advising colleges that they should get the grants to students “as quickly as possible.” HEERF III is structured like the HEERF II programs under the CRRSAA, with certain important differences that students and educators should be aware of. Unlike HEERF I and II, a portion of HEERF III institutional funds must be spent on two activities:

  1. Implement COVID health and safety measures
  2. Conduct direct student outreach regarding opportunities for further federal financial aid

Congress imposed these broad mandates in the American Rescue Plan Act and left ED to define them more thoroughly. ED’s new guidance better defined the activities associated with these stipulations but did not stipulate the exact amount of HEERF III that needs to be spent on them.

HEERF payroll uses are further defined in question 25 of the HEERF III FAQ. Institutions can use HEERF institutional aid to pay for new or repurposed staff as long as the cost is associated with COVID and occurred after 3/13/2020. Student employees are also eligible, including internships and job training. Some examples include:

  1. New staff such as teaching assistants, contact tracers, more instructors to lower class size, and IT workers
  2. Staff unable to work or who lost wages due to COVID, potentially payable retroactively (e.g., cafeteria, dorm, and clerical workers)
  3. Overtime pay for custodial workers, staff training, etc.

HEERF III grant money is not taxable.

These grants have been provided to students due to an event related to the COVID-19 and are therefore not included in a student’s gross income. For more information, please view the IRS bulletin: Emergency aid granted to students due to COVID is not taxable.

Ultimately, some colleges have significant numbers of students from the lowest income brackets, while others serve more students of various income levels so the way this aid is distributed will vary from school to school.

Be sure to thoroughly review the FAQs page which is intended to describe the features and allowable uses of grants received under the HEERF III programs, as it is sometimes updated with additional information. Still have financial questions or concerns about putting this funding to good use? Contact our dedicated team of RBT professionals today.

Sources: EAB, Senate.gov, IRS, EDNC, EdSource, Ed.gov

Five Steps to Find Your Next Financial Officer

Five Steps to Find Your Next Financial Officer

If you are actively seeking a motivated, team-oriented financial professional who is inspired by public service to serve as your next Chief Financial Officer, there’s a lot of work you need to do to create a pool of qualified applicants. Follow our five-step guide below to successfully add the right person to your team.

  1. Refine Your Job Description

To attract the right talent, you need to get specific about exactly what you’re looking for in a prospective team member. How many years of budgeting, administration, financial management, or equivalent experience are you looking for a candidate to have? Is the ability to independently perform budget analysis and compare historical and financial data to improve budget forecasting at the top of your to-do list? Or maybe a collaborative team player who genuinely values others’ ideas and expertise is what you are seeking, to achieve organizational goals. Refine your description to narrow the eligible and interested applicants. You’ll be boosting your efficiency, and ensuring that your goals are aligned with the right person for the job.

  1. Check References

Check references, and then check them again. People are making things up on resumes and if you aren’t doing the due diligence, expect trouble. This step will save you two of the most valuable aspects of running a smooth organization: time and money. Job applicants may attempt to enhance their chances of obtaining a job offer by distorting their training and work history information. While résumés summarize what applicants claim to have accomplished, reference checking is meant to assess how well those claims are backed up by others. Verifying critical employment information can significantly cut down on selection errors. Information provided by former peers, direct reports, and supervisors can also be used to forecast how applicants will perform in the job being filled.

  1. Offer Continued Training

Hopefully, you are already able to offer an excellent salary and competitive benefits package including comprehensive family health insurance, dental, vision, vacation, sick, and holiday leave package. But one thing that will set your team apart in the eyes of a financial officer, is continued training opportunities. If you are not already familiar with various government-specific financial training programs, now is the time to research and determine what your budget can cover. While there is a variety of options available to select, you may be interested in investing in courses for your new hire that focus on financial planning and budgeting, capital planning and forecasting, financial management, government accounting, or financial reporting and auditing. Setting your new hire up for success ultimately means securing a clear pathway for each of your respective departments, and your community as a whole.

  1. Create a Talent Pipeline

It is important to hire employees that can perform well, but looking at the talent you already have on staff can really expand your budget and promote a collaborative environment. We are not suggesting that you cross-train current employees to avoid adding crucial staff. However, it is beneficial to cross-train employees on certain financial officer responsibilities so that team members can operate more efficiently. Another benefit? Your workplace will ultimately become more sustainable, especially during times of transition.

  1. Prepare for the Interview

It may sound counterintuitive to talk about the employer focusing time and energy on preparing for an interview, but it can mean the difference between a qualified candidate committing to your team or walking away with a bad taste in their mouth. Interviewing is a two-way street: While you are evaluating candidates, they will also be evaluating you. Creating a positive atmosphere for candidates helps candidates to relax, encourages them to reveal more, and promotes a positive image of your organization. Ensure the interviewer reviews the job’s tasks and responsibilities (and the competencies necessary to perform them) before they sit down with a candidate. Your team should be organized and prepared for every interview, which means dressing professionally, staying engaged as active listeners, and creating a comfortable interview location.

We understand that governmental entities face enormous hiring challenges ranging from the decreasing of already tight federal and state funding budgets, to regulatory compliance, and the constant pressure of public scrutiny. Our team is experienced with handling those pressures, and we encourage you to contact us if you’d like to further discuss your specific needs or concerns.

Source: U.S. OPM

Time is Running Out for this Local Grant Opportunity!

Time is Running Out for this Local Grant Opportunity!

School is in session! We know teachers across Hudson Valley have been busy preparing for the fall season and adapting to changing state and local guidance. As some students refill hallways and others opt for virtual courses, kids are busy navigating new classes, and teachers are settling into their new routines. While we know that the start of the school year often brings a lot of excitement, organizing, and well – work – for teachers, so we’d like to highlight the Fund for Excellence in Education Teacher Grants which closes in just a month. The purpose of these grants is to recognize the important contributions that teachers make in our community, offering Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster County classroom teachers funding opportunities to support special classroom projects or professional development for teachers. Grants awarded will have a direct benefit to classroom learning and support the achievement of educational outcomes, so don’t miss out on these unique local funding opportunities. Read on to learn more about the available grants and the rules to apply before time runs out.

Who is this grant program open to?

Teachers in grades Pre-K – 12 in public, private/independent, or parochial schools in Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster Counties may apply for support from the program with the exception of specific grants open to public schools only. Proposals from Teaching Assistants will be considered only if they are submitted jointly with the classroom teacher.

Is this grant money off-limits for any specific uses?

Yes. Grant funding is not to be used for field trips or after-school activities.

What can grant recipients expect to receive?

Grants made through this program will not exceed $2,500 with the average awards ranging from $1,000 – $1,500. In previous years, grant money from this program has resulted in exciting enhancements to various school districts. One Putman County school used their grant funding to purchase a Little Tikes Picture Communication Symbol (PCS) panel for the school playground to help students with severe communication difficulties express their wants and needs. An Ulster County school applied its funds to materials and training to support the Diversity, Cultural Competency, and Social Justice Education program, bringing diverse stories to life within the library, classrooms, and school.

When is the deadline?

The fall online application opened up on July 1, 2021 and the application deadline closes on October 15, 2021. That leaves just one month left for you to take advantage of this financial opportunity!

Can I apply for all of the grants?

While there is no rule prohibiting you from applying for multiple grants, not all grants will be a good fit for your school. Below, please review the variety of available grants to make the best selection possible:

General Grants: Teachers may apply for grants that fulfill one or both of these criteria:

  • Support for classroom projects/initiatives which will improve learning opportunities for students
  • Support for the personal and professional enhancement of teachers (not to fulfill Master’s Program or certification requirements)

Writing Grant(s): A grant will be awarded to K-12 teachers for either professional development in the field of teaching writing or for a specific program designed to enhance the writing abilities of students.

Grants Available to Public Schools Only:

Marionette/Puppet Grant(s): Grants will be awarded to public school teachers for projects which incorporate student and/or teacher-made marionettes and puppets in the curricula. Preference will be given to multi-cultural or multi-disciplinary projects.

Dutchess County – Community Service Grant(s): Dutchess County United Teachers’ Community Service Grants will be awarded to Dutchess County public school teachers for projects involving their students in community service. These community service awards are made from the Dennis Markle Memorial Community Fund. Examples of the type of projects which would be considered for these grants are projects involving senior citizens, Veterans, hospice, daycare, disadvantaged populations, community beautification projects, etc.

So, how can I apply?

To access the grant portal, click here. All applications will be reviewed by the Fund for Excellence in Education Committee of the Community Foundations. All recommendations are reviewed, approved, or declined by the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundations. Recipients will be notified of their award status during the fall of 2021. Our team wishes you the best of luck and a successful academic year. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have, or to schedule a brief appointment with one of our dedicated professionals.

Act Now: Don’t Miss this Local Grant Funding Opportunity!

Act Now Don't Miss this Local Grant Funding Opportunity

As we quickly approach the upcoming academic school year, teachers across Hudson Valley are busy preparing for the fall. In mere weeks, students will begin spilling into the hallways, navigating their new classes, and breaking out their fresh supplies to jot down the lesson plans that will shape their school year studies. Before September arrives and educators are swept away in the endless to-do list that accompanies a fresh batch of students, we’d like to highlight the Fund for Excellence in Education Teacher Grants which is now open to applicants. The purpose of these grants is to recognize the important contributions that teachers make in our community, offering Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster County classroom teachers funding opportunities to support special classroom projects or professional development for teachers. Grants awarded will have a direct benefit to classroom learning and support the achievement of educational outcomes, so don’t miss out on these unique local funding opportunities. Read on to learn more about the available grants and the rules to apply.

Who is this grant program open to?

Teachers in grades Pre-K – 12 in public, private/independent, or parochial schools in Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster Counties may apply for support from the program with the exception of specific grants open to public schools only. Proposals from Teaching Assistants will be considered only if they are submitted jointly with the classroom teacher.

Is this grant money off-limits for any specific uses?

Yes. Grant funding is not to be used for field trips or after-school activities.

What can grant recipients expect to receive?

Grants made through this program will not exceed $2,500 with the average awards ranging from $1,000 – $1,500. In previous years, grant money from this program has resulted in exciting enhancements to various school districts. One Putman County school used their grant funding to purchase a Little Tikes Picture Communication Symbol (PCS) panel for the school playground to help students with severe communication difficulties express their wants and needs. An Ulster County school applied its funds to materials and training to support the Diversity, Cultural Competency, and Social Justice Education program, bringing diverse stories to life within the library, classrooms, and school.

When is the deadline?

The fall online application opened up on July 1, 2021 and the application deadline closes on October 15, 2021.

Can I apply for all of the grants?

While there is no rule prohibiting you from applying for multiple grants, not all grants will be a good fit for your school. Below, please review the variety of available grants to make the best selection possible:

General Grants: Teachers may apply for grants that fulfill one or both of these criteria:

  • Support for classroom projects/initiatives which will improve learning opportunities for students
  • Support for the personal and professional enhancement of teachers (not to fulfill Master’s Program or certification requirements)

Writing Grant(s): A grant will be awarded to K-12 teachers for either professional development in the field of teaching writing or for a specific program designed to enhance the writing abilities of students.

Grants Available to Public Schools Only:

Marionette/Puppet Grant(s): Grants will be awarded to public school teachers for projects which incorporate student and/or teacher-made marionettes and puppets in the curricula. Preference will be given to multi-cultural or multi-disciplinary projects.

Dutchess County – Community Service Grant(s): Dutchess County United Teachers’ Community Service Grants will be awarded to Dutchess County public school teachers for projects involving their students in community service. These community service awards are made from the Dennis Markle Memorial Community Fund. Examples of the type of projects which would be considered for these grants are projects involving senior citizens, Veterans, hospice, daycare, disadvantaged populations, community beautification projects, etc.

So, how can I apply?

To access the grant portal, click here. All applications will be reviewed by the Fund for Excellence in Education Committee of the Community Foundations. All recommendations are reviewed, approved, or declined by the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundations. Recipients will be notified of their award status during the fall of 2021. Our team wishes you the best of luck and a successful academic year. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have, or to schedule a brief appointment with one of our dedicated professionals.