Hamilton President discusses college opportunities at White House meeting

By WKTV News

Clinton, N.Y. (WKTV) - Hamilton College President Joan Hinde Stewart i attended an all-day summit hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Thursday.

The meeting is focused on expanding college opportunities for students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Two programs Hamilton has developed to help ensure an equivalent educational experience for all its students are being announced at the summit: First-Year Forward and the Student Emergency Aid Society (SEAS).

First-Year Forward is a pilot program that has served between 30 and 35 first-year students, many of them first-generation-to-college, in each of its first two years of operation.

Students with exceptional potential and financial need are nominated for the program, which includes small-group meetings, individual career counseling sessions and targeted homework assignments – all designed to help students assess their interests and strengths, enhance their communication skills, develop a resume and explore career paths.

Those who commit to and meet the expectations of the program and obtain an approved career-related experience the summer between their first and second years receive a $2,000 stipend to compensate for the lost income they might have received from a paid summer job.

In conjunction with its participation in the White House Summit, Hamilton is committing to raising $1.5 million to endow and make permanent First-Year Forward.

The SEAS Fund is intended to support emergency or exceptional needs (e.g., a flight home to be with a sick parent, medical expenses, clothes appropriate for job interviews or travel to a career-related activity) for students whose financial barriers are significant. If the request is approved and the need cannot be met through financial aid or some other means, a grant or loan from the SEAS Fund will be issued to cover the expense.

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