College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACG)

The overall goal of New York's College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) is to increase the number of low-income, minority and underserved students who are prepared to apply for, get accepted to and succeed in college, with a priority on families living below the poverty-level. Specifically, the goals and objectives of CACG include:

  • Providing students and their families with information regarding college access to increase their participation and enhance their ability to take advantage of CACG activities and services.
  • Identifying and developing local collaborative coalitions to establish and conduct CACG funded programs and services in targeted communities.
  • Providing statewide professional development training to increase and improve the capacity and ability of schools, agencies, financial aid administrators, college admissions counselors and local community organizations to support CACG goals and objectives through their effective and timely assistance to students and parents.
  • Enhancing communication, outreach and oversight of sub-grantees, partners and participating organizations to support their ability to maximize CACG projects, activities and project goals effectively and efficiently by sharing best practices, offering targeted training, services and assistance where necessary.
  • Ensuring compliance with established procedures and systems for the effective administration of CACG funds.

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) has been serving as the designated administering agency for the State's CACG program since 2008.

2014-2015 CACG Grant Program

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) received a $6.7 million College Access Challenge Grant to improve college awareness, readiness, and attendance among low-income students in New York.

HESC has awarded, through competitive bid, funding from the College Access Grant Challenge Program to support strategies for student success through five targeted projects implemented at specific organizations across the State:

Providing college-ready, low-income students with customized information and assistance throughout the college application process, and match students to colleges that best align with their academic potential. Award recipients for this project are:
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
  • New York City Outward Bound Center, Inc., LIC, NY
  • Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY

Facilitating FAFSA completion to help low-income students access financial aid. Award recipients for this project are:
  • New Settlement Apartments (The Crenulated Company, Ltd.) Bronx, NY
  • Veterans Outreach Center, Inc., Rochester, NY
  • D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY
  • YMCA of Greater New York, New York, NY


Providing intensive college preparation, enrollment and persistence counseling, coaching and direction on the transition to college beginning in middle school through the end of freshman year of college. Award recipients for this project are:

  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY
  • Yonkers Partners in Education, Yonkers, NY
  • Long Island University – Brooklyn, Greenvale, NY
  • Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, Queens, NY
  • Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Bronx, NY
  • Good Shepherd Services, New York, NY
  • Harlem Center for Education, Inc., New York, NY
  • Sunnyside Community Services, Sunnyside, NY 
  • Bottom Line, Inc., Brooklyn, NY
  • SUNY College at Farmingdale, Farmingdale, NY


Reconnecting adult learners to postsecondary education opportunities through services that increase their college completion rates and reduce time to complete their degrees. Award recipients for this project are:

  • Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, Albany, NY
  • Orange County Community College – SUNY, Middletown, NY


Establishing new and creative uses of technology to increase college opportunities for low-income students. The award recipient for this project is:

  • Excelsior College, Albany, NY


HESC is also partnering with the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) to deliver much needed services to CACG-qualified students and adults across the State of New York.

In addition, to achieve its CACG objectives, HESC will also continue to coordinate with other New York State agencies and non-profit organizations – such as the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), On Point For College and College Goal NY.

Learn More

For Additional Information about the CACG program administered by HESC, contact Jennifer Dwire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit gocollegeny.org.

For information about the overall CACG visit the US Department of Education.