The college, based in Saranac Lake, offers free tuition for two years to high school graduates who finish in the top 20 percent in Essex and Franklin counties, which are the college’s two sponsors.
The program has grown each year since it began in 2007, and is intended to reward the area’s brightest students, keep them close to home, and enhance the campus climate.
The “best and the brightest young people in our county . . . add a lot to the college climate,” said Ed Trathen, vice president for enrollment and student services. “It helps create a better-rounded student population at the college.”
Last year, NCCC gave scholarships to 72 students; the college hopes to enroll 85 scholarship students in the fall. Donations and the college foundation’s endowment fund the program.
Other community colleges also are trying to attract high achievers.
SUNY Adirondack‘s Queensbury campus offers scholarships to high-scoring students who rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
Hudson Valley Community College offers the HonorScholar program for high school students who study liberal arts and meet certain academic criteria.
Schenectady County Community College, which gives out a dozen half-tuition scholarships per year, is developing an honors program to award money to top students.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College hopes to offer free tuition to area high school students who finish in the top 5 or 10 percent of the graduating class, said President Dustin Swanger. “It’s a way to recruit top students — students who are academically gifted and advanced. That adds to the classroom,” Swanger said.