New York Private Colleges Receive Sage Scholars Emergency Grants

7/24/2017 — Washington, DC

​SAGE Scholars, a Philadelphia-based private college funding organization, has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to select private colleges and universities in New York State to buffer the effects on independent higher education of the State’s “free public college” initiative. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) distributed the $2,500 scholarships to those institutions that belong to both SAGE and CIC. The emergency grants will assist incoming students who plan to start at these institutions this fall.

“We at CIC are troubled by the new ‘free public college’ initiative in New York,” said Richard Ekman, president of CIC. “It is clear that state governments have available other approaches to increase college degree completion by low-income students that do not undercut private colleges and universities and are more cost-effective than New York’s ‘free college’ approach.”

A recent report by William Zumeta of the University of Washington and Nick Huntington-Klein of California State University, Fullerton shows that in most states—including New York—a $1,000 increase in portable tuition grants could greatly increase statewide college degree attainment and save millions of tax dollars, simply by encouraging students to shift their enrollment choice from a public institution to a similar private college or university. Students, including those with lower incomes, complete their college degrees faster and graduate at higher rates at private colleges, on average, than students at comparable public universities.

Dr. James Johnston, president of SAGE Scholars, said, “We are hopeful that our SAGE scholarship donation will encourage other organizations to join us in supporting New York’s excellent private colleges.”


​The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 767 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conference of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

SAGE Scholars, Inc. was formed in 1997 with the purpose of promoting the values and affordability of private higher education. SAGE Scholars was started by visionary leaders with higher education experience including the former head of admissions and financial aid at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Through its Tuition Rewards and other programs, SAGE brings together families, colleges and universities, and investment companies to create college funding solutions.