Geneva, NY – Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan will appear as a guest on the WCNY television public affairs show “Central Issues” this week as part of National College Week. Appearing with Gearan will be Syracuse University Chancellor Kenneth Shaw and SUNY Cortland President Judson Taylor. The three will discuss “The Role of Higher Education in the 21st Century” with host Dan Cummings. The show will be taped for airing at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, November 19, on channel 24 in Syracuse.
In addition, Gearan will bring the message that “College Is Possible” to a group of approximately 200 Syracuse middle school students at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, at the T. Aaron Levy Middle School.
The “College Is Possible” campaign was initiated in response to survey research conducted earlier this year that showed that, while parents and students value a college education, many dramatically overestimate the price, often by as much as 200 percent, and underestimate the resources that are available to them to help pay for college. The danger, which America's colleges and universities hope to avert through this campaign, is that many citizens will miss out on the opportunity for a college education because they do not have adequate information about the range of options and sources of help. The students most at risk are minority students, families with low incomes, and students whose parents did not themselves attend college.
Findings from a survey released in May revealed that many Americans are not aware of the wide range of tuition prices and academic experiences among the 3,600 colleges and universities in the United States. Most people do not realize that there is $60 billion available to students in financial aid from federal, state, local, and institutional sources to help them meet college bills. Seven out of 10 full-time students qualify for financial aid — many receive a substantial amount. The survey noted that at private colleges, for example, the average undergraduate receives $9,000 a year to help pay for their education.
In fact, said President Gearan, the average student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges received financial support in almost double that amount. That's why he supports the campaign's objective. “I believe that it's the obligation of liberal arts colleges to make every effort to make themselves accessible to everyone,” said President Gearan, “and I hope that the ‘College Is Possible' campaign can help educate families about the financial assistance that's available to support a college education.”
Gearan took office as the 26th president of Hobart College and the 15th president of William Smith College in August 1999. His entre into academia builds upon more than 20 years in the public service arena. He most recently directed the Peace Corps, where he worked to support more than 6,700 volunteers in 77 countries and to create more opportunities for Americans to serve in the Peace Corps. Prior to that, he held such posts as Assistant to the President and White House Director of Communications, and Director of Federal and State Relations for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
To request President Gearan to speak to a group of students and parents on behalf of the “College Is Possible” campaign, contact the Office of College Relations, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, 14456 or call 315: 781-3540.
The “College Is Possible” campaign is slated to run through the year 2000. The Coalition of America's Colleges and Universities and the U.S. Department of Education launched the national education campaign to enhance public knowledge about financing a college education. Nearly 1,200 colleges and universities are participating. The campaign will include efforts by local campuses to reach students and parents in their region, supported by a website (www.CollegeIsPossible.org), the U.S. Department of Education's special toll-free number for college information (1-800-433-3243), and a comprehensive resource guide.
# # #