NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz has received an AmeriCorps Education grant that will provide more than $60,000 in awards to 70 New Paltz students during 1997-98.

“This program benefits everyone involved,” said Roger Bowen, president of SUNY New Paltz. “It provides tangible benefits to the community while providing opportunities for students to understand and realize civic responsibilities — opportunities that often are the beginning of a lifetime of community service. In exchange for their service, students receive an award to help in meeting education costs.” Bowen added that the decision to participate in the program was motivated by “Project New Paltz,” a multifaceted outreach program created to link the College with the New Paltz area community.

To be eligible for awards, students must contribute a minimum of 305 service hours to an approved service project, work-study program or fieldwork placement with the College’s Children’s Center, New Paltz Youth Center, Migrant Education Center, or the High School Equivalency Program.

Tonda Highley, associate dean for student advising and director of the Career Advising and Fieldwork Center, along with Robin Cohen, assistant dean of students for student development, submitted the grant proposal and will serve as co-directors of the awards program at New Paltz.

The AmeriCorps program is the centerpiece of the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Programs funded under the Act address the nation’s unmet human, educational, environmental and public safety needs. Participants in the program may use the awards for specific educational expenses, such as payment of qualified college loans or tuition fees. The AmeriCorps program is funded by the Corporation for National Service through the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.