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Medaille College offers $1.5M in new needs-based scholarships to attract students

Medaille College President Kenneth Macur stands at a Medaille College podium, with the Medaille College logo on the wall behind him
Mike Desmond
Medaille College President Kenneth Macur announces new American Rescue Plan Scholarships Thursday.

Medaille College is reaching across New York State, and particularly into its rural areas, to offer financial aid to bring new students to Agassiz Circle in North Buffalo.

College President Kenneth Macur said Medaille is putting up $1.5 million a year to pay for need-based scholarships. The goal is to make a college education more accessible for students across New York.

The target is up to 50 students a year, using money it plans to raise. The scholarships are named American Rescue Plan Scholarships — not for the federal aid program, but to recognize the federal program that put billions of dollars into higher education, including Medaille.

Macur said the need-based help recognizes the problems of rural kids.

"Who don't have an opportunity to perhaps jump on a bus or subway to get to a great school, students in rural areas who perhaps don't have the resources, perhaps might be blocked out of attending college altogether," he said. "What we're trying to do is figure out creative ways to make college affordable and accessible and thereby produce some amazing talent from the incredible high school students we have in this state."

Xaneya Thomas has a similar rural, needed-based scholarship at Medaille and is a member of the basketball team. The Binghamton native is in a program at the college that jumps her to the University at Buffalo Law School after three years, toward her aim of being a criminal defense lawyer.

"These scholarships end up changing stories, stories that are similar to mine," she said. "I come from a single-parent household, multiple siblings and, fortunately, because of my athletic abilities, college was an option for me."

Medaille said the scholarship plans include an array of available state and federal grants and work-study on campus, aimed at leaving the student at graduation with nor more than $26,000 in student debt — relatively low these days.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.