Thanks to the generosity of sponsors from our local community and beyond, the President’s Challenge Scholarship (PCS) assists first-generation college-bound students from Ulster County with overcoming the financial barriers associated with attending college. Students are identified in 8th grade by their sponsoring school district and receive guidance counseling and mentoring through the completion of high school. Once students graduate high school, they are able to attend SUNY Ulster tuition-free for two years!
The PCS Program began with just six students from Rondout Valley Central School District in 2016. Since then, the PCS Program has grown to include all nine Ulster County public school districts and serve approximately 100 students.
To apply, students must be first-generation college students, have an 80% cumulative GPA (75% in their four core classes – English, math, science and social students) and have an 85% or better attendance record in school with minimal discipline infractions. Applicants must complete an essay at the time of their application and if selected, participate in an interview process. Preference is given to students with economic need.
Scholarship recipients participate in activities on the SUNY Ulster campus and at their school district each year to support college readiness. Students and their sponsors also have a chance to connect during the year at on-campus events.
With the help of student sponsors from the local community, the program will support 50 additional college-bound high school students each year. Special thanks goes out to our inaugural donors President Alan P. Roberts, Richard & Donna Croce, Tim & Laurel Sweeney, Bill & Brenda Spearman, Anita Williams Peck (deceased), who was our Foundation Board Chairman during the launch, the Dominic J. Giamei, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Nik and Nelda Gerner, and President Emeritus Dr. Robert T. Brown, to whom the PCS Program was dedicated in 2017. Much gratitude is also given to the many donors who have supported this program over the years. We are especially grateful to those donors who have sponsored multiple students as well as our Program Ambassadors Tim & Laurel Sweeney and Rich & Donna Croce who helped to launch this vital program and whose valuable participation can be evidenced by our levels chart.