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Peter Vallone Jr. derides scholarship program cuts

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) called on the city last week not to make cuts in a scholarship fund set up in his father’s name as the city’s budget faces more cuts amid a state and national economic downturn.

Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. created The Vallone Scholarship to provide money for city high school students with at least a B average to attend a City University of New York school. The fund previously paid half of students’ tuition at the schools, but now only covers an estimated $250 per student following city budget cuts, Vallone said.

He said Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposes cutting the $11.2 million program each year in the city’s budget. But the scholarship always gets restored.

But this year the program only received $7 million, Vallone said.

“Higher education should be a possibility for every child in New York who works hard and wants to improve their life,” he said. “Even when times are tough, we cannot forsake the next generation of New Yorkers. Investing in our future is the surest way to a prosperous city.”

Vallone said tuitions at city schools have gone up, while scholarship money allotted in the city’s budget has gone down. He said tuition and fees at public colleges across the nation rose 0.7 percent, which factors in inflation.

He said he wanted to restore the scholarship’s previous levels of funding.

The councilman joined students at Flushing’s Queens College Oct. 29 to protest proposed cuts in the scholarship.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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