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SUNY grant helps extend Binghamton program for non-traditional students

By Eric Reinhardt


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Binghamton University will use a $215,000 grant from SUNY to extend a program that helps non-traditional students pursue college degrees.

The grant funding will assist Binghamton in extending the program that it calls BC HEARS (Broome County Higher Education Access, Retention, and Success program), the school said in a news release.

BC HEARS, which was set to end in July, will now continue into 2020. Binghamton is using grant funding from the SUNY Excels program. SUNY Excels represents the system’s “commitment to continuous improvement, to excellence, in five key areas: access, completion, success, inquiry and engagement,” according to the SUNY website.

The program is a partnership between Binghamton University, SUNY Broome, and the Broome County Promise Zone.

The Broome County Promise Zone is a joint effort of Binghamton University, Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), the Broome County Mental Health Department and local school districts. The initiative seeks to “create improved learning environments for schoolchildren in high-needs communities,” the website says.

Elizabeth Carter, president of the Catholic Schools of Broome County, founded BC HEARS in 2016 and serves as its director.

BC HEARS helps a variety of non-traditional students, including Binghamton University students, SUNY Broome students, and members of the community. The program enables students to pursue education and complete their degrees.

The program can help a stopped-out student or community member earn her associate or bachelor’s degree, help a transfer student earn his associate degree, or assist a member of the community in acquiring his high-school equivalency diploma, per the release. A stopped-out student is some who has temporarily withdrawn from higher education or employment to pursue another activity.

The program provides individuals with a number of services, including coaching, mentoring, tutoring, and workshops.

Since its inception, BC HEARS has helped 133 students graduate with their associate or bachelor’s degrees, and assisted 69 students with enrollment or re-enrollment into their program of study.

In Broome County, BC HEARS provided academic support to help two students graduate with their high-school equivalency diploma; enrolled 10 students in a TASC (test assessing secondary completion) program so they could work on preparing and completing their high-school equivalency; and expanded educational opportunities for 31 students already enrolled in TASC classes through the use of in-class tutors and workshops.

Additionally, Binghamton University and SUNY Broome students provided one-on-one tutoring for 21 TASC participants.

Contact Reinhardt at

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