Director of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2022
Maria College receives $140K grant for accessibility and counseling services
Albany, NY – Maria College was recently awarded a $140,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to support and enhance its Office of Accessibility Services which serves students with disabilities and learning differences. This news comes as the nation prepares to celebrate Disability Awareness month in March.
As part of the Frank E. O’Brien Student Support Center located on campus, the Office of Accessibility Services provides tailored academic support, and academic accommodations, based on the history of the student’s disability, as these tend to vary in the way they affect a person’s daily life and functions.
“Services provided through the Office of Accessibility Services truly are our mission in action as we are working to ensure that all qualified students with disabilities are given equal access to educational resources in a welcoming, secure and judgment-free space,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Barbara Ruslander. “Thanks to the generosity of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, we are equipped to enhance our current services and expand our work to assist even more of this subset of our student population.”
“Our Foundation is proud to support this program, and expand the services of a center that contributes to the well-being of students in need,” said Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
Support from the grant includes staffing and programming costs. Enhancements will involve more access to new assistive technologies such as large-print keyboard and magnification software for students with limited vision, learning aids, expanded tutoring services, and space outfitting.
The most common student the office supports are those with Attention Deficit Disorders. The office frequently provides distraction-free testing and classroom accommodations. The grant will help the College to purchase equipment and furniture for these spaces.
“The goal of our office is to provide equity amongst our students by removing the barriers that cause some to have trouble accessing their tests or course work,” said Director of Accessibility Services Cait York. “By reducing noise or offering extended time, we aim to level the playing field so that all students have the opportunity to receive the same foundational education, thus preparing them for careers after graduation.”
Additionally, the grant will be used to support and enhance Maria’s Counseling Services for mental health issues, something York said students often overlook as a disability.
“Students don’t always realize that anxiety and depression can create symptoms that hinder their learning, just the same as a learning disability might. They think it’s something they have to power through. So in addition to the accessibility services, we try to recognize the full person and offer counseling services as well.”
About Maria College. Founded in 1958, Maria College is one of 17 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The private, co-educational, Catholic college in Albany serves approximately 800 students in a variety of bachelor degree, associate degree, a master’s degree, and certificate programs including liberal arts, healthcare management, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, and health and occupational sciences. mariacollege.edu
Photo caption: Maria College Accessibility Services Coordinator Peter Bocala and Director of Accessibility Services Cait York connect noise-canceling head phones to a laptop in the College’s testing center. The funding received through the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will be used to expand the services and technology used to support students with disabilities.