Ichigo Foundation funds new Colin Powell School Financial Aid Adviser position

To help students with financial challenges stay enrolled, The City College of New York’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership has, thanks to a generous grant from the Ichigo Foundation, created the position of Financial Aid Adviser and First Year Experience Coordinator. Jennifer Lavayen, a CCNY academic advisor, is the first appointee. 

“Upwards of 20 percent of CCNY students enrolled in any given semester do not reenroll for the following semester. Much of this has to do with challenges around paying for college,” said Andrew Rich, the Richard J. Henley and Susan L. Davis Dean of the Colin Powell School.  “As the largest student division at CCNY, with almost 4,000 students, the Colin Powell School is in a position to make the greatest impact on improving these numbers. My sincere thanks to the Ichigo Foundation for making this new initiative possible.” 

Through a more intensive system of advising and mentorship, the Colin Powell school has already been able to decrease that percentage of so-called “stop outs” to less than fifteen percent.

Lavayen's primary focus will be on assisting student problems related to covering the costs of college. While her support is available to all Colin Powell School students, her role will have a specific emphasis on providing assistance to freshman and new transfer students, who may be particularly vulnerable in their first two semesters to academic disruptions caused by financial aid challenges. 

Based in the Office of Academic Advising, Lavayen will serve as a dedicated one-on-one adviser and mentor for students. Furthermore, she will actively participate in the planning and coordination of programs and initiatives designed to enhance the first-year experience for Colin Powell School students, collaborating closely with the Office of Student Success. Lavayen is already a familiar face to Colin Powell School students, having most recently served as an embedded adviser for the Economics and Business department — the College’s second largest major. She holds a BA in economics from Queens College and an MA in Economics from CCNY. 

Lavayen will be trained in all aspects of financial aid and have a dotted line in reporting to CCNY’s central financial aid office. “As a CUNY graduate, I know first-hand that paying for college is one of the most difficult obstacles our students face. This challenge has come up several times throughout my three years of working with students to help them reach their goals. In this new role, I hope to help students alleviate the stress of paying for college by guiding them to use all available resources. It is a privilege to continue assisting our students in moving forward and achieving their academic goals.” 

The new program is made possible by a generous three-year grant from the Ichigo Foundation. “At the Ichigo Foundation, we look for ways to support college success for first-generation and low-income students. We are thrilled to make this initiative possible. We expect it will move the needle for students who need assistance resolving financial aid problems,” said the Foundation’s co-founder and CEO Janel Callon.

About the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Established in April 2013, the Colin Powell School is home to the social science departments at CCNY as well as the core leadership development and public service programs of the College. With almost 4,000 students, and graduating the most CCNY students annually, the Colin Powell School mission is to transform the nation’s most diverse student body into tomorrow’s global leaders. Half of our students are immigrants; more than seventy percent are first-generation college students. Eighty percent are people of color. Most come from lower income backgrounds. The Colin Powell School and City College remain among the most effective engines of economic and social mobility in the United States. The School is led by a faculty dedicated to the highest standards of research and to the university’s democratic and public obligations. Read more about the Colin Powell School.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi (now Lightcast) puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.


Jay Mwamba
p: 917.892.0374
e: jmwamba@ccny.cuny.edu