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In the Spotlight
March 11, 2021

St. Francis College and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Partner on Degree Completion Program

A new partnership between the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and St. Francis College (SFC) will make it easier and more cost-effective for thousands of Brooklyn residents to earn their college degrees.

St. Francis College will offer BCC employees and their family members scholarships that they can use to complete their undergraduate or graduate college education at SFC. The scholarships will also be available to employees and family members of BCC's 1,874 member organizations, which include businesses of all sizes located or working in the borough.

The scholarships can cover up to nearly 50% of total St. Francis College tuition.

"St. Francis College takes seriously our responsibilities to the Brooklyn community, of which we are so proud to be part, and working with BCC is in lockstep with our mission to open doors of education to all people," said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., president of St. Francis College. "We enthusiastically welcome our BCC neighbors and friends into the Terrier family. We're grateful for the opportunity to springboard them to whatever they dream of achieving with a college degree in hand."

All students, including those without any prior college education, may qualify to receive SFC academic credits for skills or subject-matter knowledge they learned outside the classroom – including by holding professional licenses or credentials, or having gone through certain work or military training – that can accelerate degree completion. Students may also receive credits for coursework from other schools, further reducing the time needed to graduate.

Approximately 20% of Brooklyn borough residents have completed some college but have not earned a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree holders earn 31% more than those with an associate degree and 84% more than those with just a high school diploma.

"Access to higher education can be the key to success and upward mobility for many," said Randy Peers, BCC president and CEO. "This partnership between the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and St. Francis College is a start in the right direction for our staff, members, as well as their employees and family members. A St. Francis College degree can translate to a boost in Brooklyn's economy over time if people live and shop local in the future."

The degree partnership between BCC and SFC first began under the administration of Hector Batista '84, who served as BCC president and CEO from 2018 to 2019 and is a trustee of SFC.

"St. Francis College nurtures an environment that allows nontraditional students, including those coming to us with deep work and life experiences under their belts, to thrive," said Gale G. Gayle, Ed.D., assistant vice president of online learning and program development, who led the development of the partnership between the two organizations. "This relationship with BCC is an on-ramp for so many Brooklyn residents who will reap the benefits of a college degree. We're thankful for everyone at BCC for joining us in this endeavor."

Anyone affiliated with BCC who wants to enroll at SFC should contact Ferdinand Rivera '17 ([email protected]). A dedicated admissions counselor will be available to help guide them through the process.

About St. Francis College

St. Francis College, for more than 160 years, has provided a diverse student body, from Brooklyn and around the world, an affordable private college education rooted in Franciscan values of inclusivity and respect of all people. Located in the heart of Brooklyn -- minutes from Wall Street, world-class cultural institutions and leading entrepreneurial hubs -- St. Francis College offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and four master's degree programs that inspire lifelong learning and prepare students for fulfilling careers in the 21st-century global economy.

About Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce promotes economic development boroughwide and is amongst the largest and most influential business advocacy organizations in New York State for over 100 years. The Chamber serves its members through advocacy, promotion, support and programming in order to build and maintain a healthy and robust community in which all can thrive.

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