College Formalizes Agreement with Year Up New York in Partnership to Close "Opportunity Divide" for Young Adults

By David Henahan, director of communications, Office of Communications and Government Relations

October 14, 2014

Year up New York Logo - gold icon y-shaped person, blue year-up underlined by plain black New York scriptYoung adults living in New York City and learning with Year Up New York now can complete a college degree in less time and at a lower cost thanks to a new partnership.

Year Up’s mission is to close the “opportunity divide” between where many of today’s out-of-work and out-of-school young urban adults ages 18-24 find themselves and their goal to achieve their potential as educated professionals.

According to Year Up, historical barriers to closing the divide include race, ethnicity, national origin and socio-economic status.

SUNY Empire State College has evaluated and assigned credit to each course in every Year Up New York academic track. Depending on which track Year Up students complete, they will be awarded from 18-21 credits when they enroll with the college, which would save them nearly a year of time and tuition expense.

Year Up students who enroll with Empire State College can choose to study at the college’s Manhattan, Brooklyn or Staten Island offices, online, or through a combination of both.

“Empire State College gave me access to a quality education with a great support system,” said Jason Coullette ’12, ‘14, a Year Up New York graduate who went on to complete both an associate and a bachelor’s degree in business, management and economics from Empire State College. “Empire State College’s partnership with Year Up has gone such a long way in advancing my education and career. The support that the staff at Empire State College provides is right in line with the support I received at Year Up and I know that all of the past and future graduates of Year Up have a lot to gain from attending Empire State College.”

“Being able to complete our program with nearly a full year of college credits from SUNY Empire State College gives our graduates a ‘Year Up’ in their education, careers and lives,” said Alicia Guevara, executive director of Year Up New York. “Year Up New York is proud to call SUNY Empire State College our partner in the important work that we are doing to close the opportunity divide. Our shared belief in the importance of greater access to higher education for the young adults we serve anchors our resolve to help them along the path to degree completion.”

“As provost of SUNY Empire State College, it is my distinct honor to formally sign this memorandum of understanding with Year Up New York,” said Alfred Ngome Ntoko, provost of Empire State College. “We applaud the good work that Year Up New York does with its students in training them to better utilize the tools they need for success in work and in life. By continuing their education with SUNY Empire State College, Year Up New York students will be empowered to expand upon the talents and learning they need to compete in today’s global economy.”

The partnership was formalized at an event held Friday, Sept. 26, at 55 Exchange Place, Manhattan, Year Up’s New York City office.

As part of the agreement, Empire State College also will provide Year Up students with pre-enrollment advising and information sessions onsite and/or online, as appropriate, a waiver of the college’s orientation fee and a modest scholarship.

In addition to earning credit for what they have learned with Year Up, students may transfer up to 93 of the 124 credits required to complete a bachelor’s degree and up to 40 credits toward the 64 needed to complete an associate degree with college.

Among the potential sources of transfer credit for a student are:

  • Empire State College individualized prior learning assessment
  • transcript credit from a regionally accredited college or university
  • standardized tests, such as the College Board’s CLEP exams
  • military credit evaluated by the American Council on Education.

Year Up students must complete a minimum of 24 credits for an associate degree and 32 credits for a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Empire State College. Although students who enroll with the college are not charged for their Year Up credits, there is a fee is required for the college to evaluate the students’ portfolios.

The partnership also provides a path to completion of an Empire State College degree for Year Up alumni.

More information about the partnership is available at

About Year Up

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.

Year Up achieves its mission through a high-support, high-expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits.

This holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency.

Year Up currently serves more than 2,000 students a year across the country at sites in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Fla., New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, R.I., San Francisco, Arlington, Va. and Seattle.

More information is available at and at

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Layla Abdullah-Poulos

David Henahan

Mary Morton

Jennifer Quaglio

Ian Reifowitz

Susan Eve Tepper LeClair

Thomas Vumbaco