By Eliza Shapiro and Keshia Clukey | 12/06/2017 09:57 AM EDT

NEARLY 2,000 STUDENTS QUALIFY FOR ENHANCED TUITION — POLITICO's Keshia Clukey: Nearly 2,000 students attending private colleges and universities are slated to receive the state's new Enhanced Tuition Award, according to preliminary numbers provided to POLITICO by the governor's office on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, 1,901 students were notified that they are eligible for the award. Another 1,893 were deemed ineligible and 17 students declined it, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. The number of eligible students may increase as more applications are processed. The program provides up to $6,000 toward tuition for in-state undergraduates coming from families earning up to $100,000 annually. The colleges and universities must verify whether the students meet the scholarship's requirements, such as having enough credits to be on track for graduation. The information is then sent to the Higher Education Services Corporation, which then contacts the students. "New York is committed to making college accessible and affordable, and we will continue to work with the independent institutions participating in the ETA program to make sure as many students as possible are able to benefit," Elizabeth Bibi, a spokeswoman for Cuomo, said in an emailed statement. The notifications come as the fall semester is winding down.

At this point, most students already have paid their bills for the semester, so the award will likely be provided as a rebate, private institutions have said. Officials at a few colleges and universities have told POLITICO they were waiting to find out from HESC how many of their students will receive the award. According to the governor's office, student files were sent to the 30 institutions on Sept. 13, and the first files were received back from the colleges on Sept. 22. A reminder was sent to 10 schools that have not completed the credit verification process, according to the governor's office. HESC is currently working with those remaining schools. "HESC has done its part in making sure that eligible students have been notified, and we urge private colleges to complete their internal verification processes on outstanding applications as quickly as possible," Bibi said. Once the colleges have verified the information for nearly 1,000 additional students, HESC will notify them about their eligibility, according to Cuomo's office. ... This is the first year of the ETA program, the rollout for which has taken longer and has lagged behind that of Cuomo's highly touted Excelsior Scholarship, which covers tuition costs for qualifying students at public colleges and universities. ...The application period for both scholarships will be done simultaneously moving forward, according to the governor's office. The application period for the fall 2018-19 school year is expected to open in spring. Read more here.

GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING. Betty Rosa and Regent Beverly Ouderkirk will visit World of Inquiry School No. 58 in Rochester. MaryEllen Elia and Carmen Fariña did not release public schedules.

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IBO: NYC ACHIEVEMENT GAPS WIDEN FROM ELEMENTARY TO MIDDLE SCHOOL — POLITICO's Eliza Shapiro: Wide achievement gaps between white and Asian students and their black and Latino peers persist in New York City's public schools, according to a report released by the Independent Budget Office on Wednesday. Achievement gaps also tend widen as students move from elementary to middle school, the report found. The new research helps demonstrate the depth of the city's academic inequality crisis, a deep-seated issue that Mayor Bill de Blasio has sought to reverse. Read more here.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Tuesday's state Assembly Standing Committee on Education roundtable discussion on the education of students at private schools was closed to the press and public. The notice for the roundtable had been posted on the Assembly's website, and there was no prior indication of it being private. Reporters and others attempting to enter the meeting were told that it was mistakenly posted with the public hearings and was mislabeled. "It is an information gathering meeting and invitation only," Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie later told POLITICO in an email. "It is not a public event, not a committee meeting, and there is not a quorum." — POLITICO's Keshia Clukey

REPORT: CUNY SHOULD UP ITS GRAD RATES — The Wall Street Journal's Leslie Brody: "At CUNY's four-year colleges, 55% get diplomas in six years. At its community colleges, 22% of those studying full time earn a two-year associate degree in three years. That rate has improved during the past decade, but educators say it remains troubling at a time when many occupations that pay more than $50,000 annually require a college degree.

A new report by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan think tank, highlights the challenges low-income students face getting diplomas at CUNY's sprawling campuses. It calls on city and state leaders to put a higher priority on college completion. 'Even with all the gains CUNY has made, 22% isn't acceptable in this economy,' said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the center. 'Not enough adults have the credentials to succeed.'" Read more here.

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VIDEO OF THE DAY: Three Long Island students won the 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology team prize of $100,000 grand prize. — Newsday. Watch it here.

SUNY, CUNY STUDENTS CALL FOR MOE — POLITICO's Keshia Clukey: SUNY and CUNY students want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to commit more money for certain mandatory costs for the two university systems. Members of the State University of New York Student Assembly and the City University of New York Student Senate — which together represent more than a million students — along with the New York Public Interest Research Group, delivered nearly 25,000 petitions to Cuomo's office on Tuesday, urging him to sign enhanced maintenance of effort legislation. Read more here.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: "In response to a Freedom of Information Law request from The Alt, the state university system claimed that 'the names of donors or potential donors' of a foundation it controls constitute 'trade secrets.' In September, we requested certain emails related to the SUNY Impact Foundation, a new vehicle for soliciting private-sector funds to support the university, sent or received by Chancellor Kristina Johnson and Christine Fitzgibbons, the foundation's executive director. The university provided 38 pages of emails in early November, noting that 'certain records have been redacted, or not produced at all' based on four exemptions to state law." — The Alt's Luke Stoddard Nathan. Read more here.


— Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration will spend $1 million to expand its partnership with Warby Parker, officials announced Tuesday. The expansion will provide 20,000 pairs of eyeglasses for 118,000 students in all of the city's 227 community schools. — POLITICO's Eliza Shapiro

— "A top priority, at least for Democrats, is the push to implement the DREAM Act as part of the state budget so that young undocumented immigrants can secure state college financial aid. Unlike a federal bill of the same name, the state legislation would not make it legal for these young immigrants to stay permanently in the U.S. While state Senate Republicans have blocked the legislation in the past, [Senate Education Committee Chairman Carl] Marcellino suggested he would be open to some kind of resolution." — City & State's Tiffany S. Thomas. Read more here.

— State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa wrote to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for the repeal of bonding provisions in the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." Read the letter here.

— "A parent group wants better Metro Bus service for thousands of students in Buffalo who rely on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to get back and forth to school." — Buffalo News' Jay Rey. Read more here.


— "Between the tax plan recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that imposes an excise tax on university endowments and ends a number of tax deductions for students, and the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, higher education leaders are making public declarations of displeasure, and in some cases going farther than that. Here's an overview ... of what's coming down the pike politically, and the respective responses of New Jersey's educators." — ROI-NJ's Brett Johnson. Read more here.


— President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Education Department's civil rights office on Tuesday refused to commit to making public a list of colleges and universities under investigation for mishandling sexual violence claims, when pressed by members of the Senate HELP committee. — POLITICO's Benjamin Wermund. Read more here.

STUDY UP: "A novel, large-scale study from Stanford University shows Rochester-area primary schools are dead last among the 200 largest cities in the country for academic growth." — Democrat and Chronicle's Justin Murphy. Read more here and read the study here.

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