February 4, 2013

SUNY Empire State College Assists Students Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Feb. 6, 2013) – SUNY Empire State College students affected by Hurricane Sandy were provided some relief by the college thanks to the Emergency Education Grant Program established in the wake of the disaster.

More than $65,000 in grants of up to $500 per student were provided to 217 students through the generous support of the Empire State College Foundation, the Student Activity Fee Committee and gifts from the college’s faculty and staff.

Grant funding was used to replace computers, computer tablets, books and other study materials in order to help students in the affected areas to continue their education in the aftermath of what Gov. Andrew Cuomo described as the worst storm to hit the Northeast in recorded history.

"My family lives about three-quarters of a mile away from the water. Our house was about four to five feet under water during the storm, and it's still unbelievable what happened,” said student Drew Bergmann of Massapequa. “This check was the first money that we received after Sandy to help rebuild our lives. It actually choked me up to see that people still care and that they will come together to help in a time of need. I will always appreciate what Empire State College has done for me, my family and the many other students who went through the same thing.”

“I really appreciate all of the help with managing my studies from everyone at Empire State College and the $200 was a big help,” said student Scott Buble of Valley Stream.

“Getting help from Empire State College was a bright spot during really dark times. I am very grateful for all the assistance the college provided,” said student Denise Diaz of Ozone Park.

“Thank you so very, very much!” said student Laina Flores of Brooklyn. “Empire State has been amazing - not just the hurricane fund, but all around. The concern for those affected is a true blessing!”

“I am truly grateful not only for the financial support, but also the support of all the staff and professors who gave me enough time to complete my assignments. Every little makes a difference,” said Marion Johnson Herbert of Baldwin.

“I want to thank the staff at the School for Graduate Studies and especially Dr.Kymn Rutigliano for her dedication and compassion. All the support was greatly appreciated,” said student Rosemarie Pisciottas of Plainview.

“I'm not an emotional man, but this was a bit overwhelming to me,” said student Kyle Vanderwarker of Wantagh. “After everything we have been through with the hurricane, I very much appreciate the generosity of SUNY Empire State College.”

“What Empire State College has done for people during the hurricane is outstanding. All of my teachers have been amazing through all of this and understanding about it as well,” said student Samantha Campbell of Colts Neck, N.J.

More stories from students are posted to the college’s Hurricane Assistance website, which was created to help students, faculty and staff manage their lives after the storm.

“Hurricane Sandy overwhelmed the state and much of Empire State College,” said Acting  President Meg Benke. “The faculty and staff were extraordinary in the efforts to help the hundreds of students impacted by the storm. I am grateful for the generous support of the Empire State College Foundation, the Student Activity Fee Committee and the faculty and staff. It is true that every little bit helps.”

For the 191 students who had to withdraw due to the hurricane, nearly $337,000 was refunded to their accounts for tuition and fees. Waivers were granted in accordance with the resolution approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its Dec. 17, 2012 meeting.

Students from the college’s Hudson Valley region, Long Island region, Metropolitan New York region, the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, as well as students from the college’s Center for Distance Learning, nursing program and School for Graduate Studies who live in the affected regions, were eligible to receive grants and tuition refunds.

The table below provides a breakdown of the amount, type of assistance and number of students by geographic location.

Hurricane Sandy Relief for SUNY Empire State College Students

LocationGrant Funding AmountNumber of Students GrantsBooks Funding AmountNumber of Students BooksTuition Adjustment AmountNumber of Student Accounts
NYC $25,566.05 101 $5,063.20 18 $178,418.00 104
Brooklyn $7,225.00 29 $812.70 3 $58,928 33
Manhattan $4,340.80 23 $1,762.35 8 $55,226 33
Queens $4,925.00 18 $1,003.35 3 $29,696 15
Staten Island $9,075.25 31 $1,484.80 4 $34,568 23
Long Island $25,878.25 87 $1,644.35 6 $97,480.00 49
Nassau $18,770.00 58 $226.50 1 $69,176 33
Suffolk $7,108.25 29 $1,417.85 5 $28,304 16
Hudson Valley $4,525.00 12 $230.40 1 $34,618.00 22
Westchester $1,800.00 4 $230.40 1 $13,718 9
Dutchess $200.00 1 $0   $1,856 2
Orange $950.00 2 $0   $3,712 4
Ulster $725.00 2 $0   $3,268 1
Putnam $0 0 $0   $7,424 3
Rockland $850.00 3 $0   $4,640 3
New Jersey $1,300.00 3 $595.75 1 $4,640 4
Other $400.00 3 $468.75 1 $21,808 12
Total $57,669.30 206 $8,002.45 27* 336,964 191

* Of the 27 students that received books, 16 also received grants.