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The number of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship rose 20% in 2019, up to 24,000 students across the state, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The scholarship allows for students whose families make less than $125,000 for the 2019-20 academic year to attend a SUNY or CUNY school tuition-free as long as they complete 30 credit hours per year.

Cuomo’s office released information on the scholarship’s enrollment earlier this month, stating that the on-time graduation rate for community college recipients more than doubled.

The on-time rate was 30% for Excelsior students compared to 11% for students who are not receiving the scholarship.

“This program is far more than free tuition for New York’s future leaders — it is a college completion and degree attainment program,” Cuomo said in the statement. “We now know that, with Excelsior, students stay on track academically to achieve their degree in two or four years, and completing college in this time frame translates into substantial savings for middle-class students and their families.”

The program is only in its second year, and the income amount in which students are eligible has been phased up from $100,000 in its first year to $110,000 last year.

Computer science curriculum

Forty-five percent of high schools in the U.S. now teach computer science, but women and minority group participation remains low, according to a report from the Code.org Advocacy Coalition.

The report also said students receiving free and reduced lunch and students in rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides opportunities to take computer science classes.

The coalition began promoting computer science curricula in public schools in 2013, when just 14 states and D.C. had policies in place to develop computer science courses, but the number had grown to 44 states by this year.

The percentage of schools in New York offering a computer science course mirrored the national number, with 44% of schools offering at least one and 35% offering the AP computer science course.

The report lays out nine policy principles for states to adopt to strengthen computer science curricula, which include measures such as creating a statewide K-12 plan, requiring all secondary schools to offer a computer science course and allowing computer science to satisfy a core graduation requirement.

New York currently has allocated funding to support teachers developing a computer science course and is in the process of creating standards for a wider curriculum, but still lacks several other policies recommended by the report.

Culinary Arts open house

The Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamiton-Essex BOCES will host on open house at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, to offer adult students an opportunity to learn about the culinary arts program offered this fall.

The course was offered for the first time in spring 2019, but Turina Parker, head of the employment training for adults division, said in a release several of the chefs who participated last semester wanted to hold the class again.

“Restaurants around the region need trained, qualified employees,” Parker said. “When the chefs at the Adelphi Hotel told us they wanted to hold the class again, we jumped on the opportunity.”

The open house will take place at the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, with classes scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.

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