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OCC to use KeyBank’s $40K donation for college-connection coach

By Eric Reinhardt


KeyBank on Thursday donated $40,000 to Onondaga Community College (OCC), which the school will use to fund a college connection coach in OCC Advantage, a college-readiness and scholarship program. (Photo provided by Onondaga Community College)

ONONDAGA, N.Y. — Onondaga Community College (OCC) announced it will use a $40,000 donation from KeyBank to create a college-connection coach position for the OCC Advantage program.

OCC Advantage is a college-readiness and scholarship program. The college-connection coach will work with high-school students in the East Syracuse Minoa and Solvay school districts, providing college-readiness programming throughout their four years of high school and assisting students with the OCC enrollment process.

“This program is putting students in our community on a path to prosperity and opportunity,” Stephen Fournier, Central New York market president for KeyBank, said in a news release. “We are proud to partner with OCC and give young people the tools they need to succeed in high school, college and life.”

Cleveland, Ohio–based KeyBank, a unit of KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), has more than 1,100 branches in 15 states. It operates several dozen branches in Central New York.

About the program

The OCC Advantage program provides students at East Syracuse Minoa and Solvay the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free. They need to meet attendance and grade point average (GPA) requirements, complete community service, and graduate, OCC said. Students will then complete the federal application for financial aid (FAFSA), apply for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, and the Excelsior Scholarship Program. The OCC Advantage program makes up the difference in tuition costs so that qualifying students will complete their associate degree “debt-free.”

The GPA requirement is 2.0, which is equivalent to a “C” grade. Once enrolled at OCC, 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 meet “minimum” GPA requirements, reapply for federal and state financial aid, and complete community or campus service.

The college-connection coach is designed to work with high-school students in their junior and senior years to help them complete the OCC Advantage requirements, help them navigate the college admission and financial-aid processes, and “connect them to the campus community.”

The coach will work with district staff to coordinate their efforts.

“We are thankful for KeyBank’s vision and support of the OCC Advantage program and for their foundational support for the college connection coach. Their investment in the future of these students will assist in providing them with a pathway to a college education free of thousands of dollars in debt,” Casey Crabill, OCC president, said in the release.

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