By Bill Parry
Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. is urging the Committee on Higher Education to restore the NYC Academic Scholarship Program that was abolished in 2012.
During Vallone’s last year in the Council in 2001, then-Queens Borough President Helen Marshall introduced a resolution changing its name to the Peter Vallone Scholarship.
“While I was and am deeply honored, I said then and repeat now, it is not the name, but the students that are in need and those that we want to help, who are most important,” Vallone said.
Nearly 15,000 students took advantage of the scholarships every year since its creation in 1998. Originally $11 million was set aside to fund the scholarships.
In 2012, Council Speaker Christine Quinn discontinued the program for what she called fiscal reasons. In 2013, then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blasted Quinn for eliminating it for what he called political reasons, and urged then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reinstate it.
“It was the right thing to do. The Vallone Scholarship was instituted in 1997 by the Council to award deserving students based solely on academic performance and was available to all students who were enrolled directly into a CUNY school within a year of graduating from any New York City high school,” de Blasio said at the time.
Vallone believes because de Blasio spoke so forcefully about this when he was public advocate the timing is right to restore the scholarship now that de Blasio has been elected mayor.
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