On November 23, 2015, we received an e-mail stating that the New York State Office for New Americans was awarding Literacy Nassau a new grant for $175,000 per year. This three-year contract will enable us to continue offering higher level ELL students classroom based instruction, supplemental workshops, field trips, and more, and will also enable us to continue offering citizenship preparation classes, legal assistance, and assistance with applications to USCIS for citizenship and adjustment of status for permanent residents.
The project begins on January 1, 2016, and we are excited about many of the changes in the new funding cycle. First and foremost, the new benchmark is that we will serve 60 students per quarter (40 in the summer) for 100 hours each. This is based on research that shows that most English Language Learners prefer to get a large amount of English instruction concentrated into a short period of time. Classes will continue to be held twice a week, but we will introduce Saturday Extra Help sessions to help students get as much instruction as possible.
Another big change is that we will be hosting two different types of entrepreneurial seminars instead of only one. In partnership with the EAP at Hofstra University, we will host a Starting Your Own Business seminar (which will be open to the public) in January and also in the summer of 2016. Then, we will introduce a new Growing Your Business seminar in partnership with the SBDC in April and in the fall. The Growing Your Business seminar is important because a high percentage of immigrants already have established businesses, and now we will be equipped to handle topics that come up after your business is up and running.
In the new contract, we plan to continue hosting our many supplemental workshops, including topics such as nutrition, labor laws, healthcare, SNAP, and many more, but now they will be open to the general public. This will help us disseminate important information to as many Nassau residents as possible.
Perhaps most exciting is the introduction of a $12,500 stipend to assist people with N-400 applications for citizenship. USCIS offers a fee waiver for these applications for folks who cannot afford to pay, but sometimes these fee waivers are denied if you live above 150% of the federal poverty line. The stipend will enable us to partner with Stanford University, who is preparing a lottery for immigrants living between 150-300% of the federal poverty line, to offer the opportunity to submit N-400 applications for free, saving each client $680.
We are so proud to continue our work with ONA and look forward to keeping you posted on our progress.