Student Assistance Grants

“I have experienced firsthand the great impact that the Student Assistance Fund has made by addressing financial barriers to help bridge our students to success. Financial support for tuition and fees, books, childcare, and other basic needs have helped our students develop resiliency and motivation, stay enrolled and persist to graduation.” — Tomasine Oliphant, Dutchess Community College, Student Resource Navigator


In its earliest years, the Dyson Foundation’s grantmaking focused on supporting young people in earning a college degree as a pathway to opportunity and success. This has continued through the years, primarily through grants for scholarships. In 2018, the Foundation made a series of grants that look very different, but have the same goal of helping students obtain a degree. These grants were for student assistance at the Mid-Hudson Valley’s four community colleges.

Significant numbers of college-bound students opt to enroll at community colleges to mitigate the rising cost of college while still receiving a high-quality education. Although community college expenses are often substantially lower than private institutions, community college students, whether traditional or returning, face increasing financial pressures while they pursue degrees and certifications. The rising cost of living, including housing and child care expenses, strain local students who are often working part-time in low-wage industries as they strive to further their education. When local students face barriers in accessing and completing their studies, families and communities are also strained.

The Dyson Foundation’s student assistance grants aim to help alleviate academic-related financial pressures and ensure students are able to complete their course of study. Funds may help cover expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, and child care. Student assistance is available at each community college to economically disadvantaged Mid-Hudson Valley students enrolled in an associate degree or certificate program, and to students entering vocational and technical programs who require remedial or related course completion prior to enrollment.

2018 student assistance grants were awarded to the following Mid-Hudson Valley community colleges:

For many students, small amounts of assistance can sometimes mean the difference between completing a degree and entering the workforce, or dropping out. For institutions, student assistance helps support retention and completion rates. Student assistance funding falls within the Dyson Foundation’s Enhancing Education and Safety Net themes.