Welcome Back!

The students are back! Our offices are bustling again and the halls are filled with new energy and excitement at our three partner schools: Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School, The High School for Health Professions and Human Services, and City-As-School High School. Join us in wishing everyone a great start to the school year and stay tuned for more from CDI!

“I’m ready for a new adventure. Junior year is a big year, and I’m looking forward to joining new clubs, getting more involved with the Young Women’s Leadership Group and finding an internship – especially since I know CDI will be helping me. I’m getting a head start by working on my résumé.” – Brianna Hicks, HPHS Class of 2019


Summertime and the livin’ is…

It’s summer– a time for vacations, new experiences and some fun in the sun! See what some of our students have been up to…

“I have a busy schedule in the summer with SAT prep, summer school and my job at a real estate office, but I go to the gym in the afternoon and I see my friends on Fridays. We usually go to the movies or play pool. I’m pretty good at it. Earlier this summer I took a vacation to visit family and friends in my home country Bangladesh. It was really fun, and I wasn’t ready to leave when it was over.” – Tahmit Kazi

“I like to go to the beach. Recently, I went to Bay Shore on Long Island with my family and friends and we caught crabs –maybe 20 or more! When we returned to the city we went to a restaurant and cooked them. It was delicious.

During the week, I go to Cooper Union for the Summer STEM program. I like working as part of a team. Juan is my partner, and right now we are making a Rube Goldberg machine.”– Wenxin Liu

“I go to Cooper Union for the Summer STEM program, then come back to school to hang out with my friends and go to CDI. I am also preparing to take the SAT test in October and work at a Japanese restaurant. For fun, I like to go to Rockaway Beach and see summer movies. The new Spiderman movie was so good!” – Juan Herran Ocampo

“This summer I have been tutoring students in 2nd through 5th grade at P.S. 112 Dutch Kills in Long Island City. I’ve always been interested in teaching, but after this experience, I don’t think it’s for me. There are so many things a teacher must think about like what type of learner a student is or the best way to teach something. Now I’m more interested in Finance or Entrepreneurship. If I’m not at summer school, studying for the SAT, or at work, I’d be at the beach paddle boarding. My sister is very athletic and taught me. After I learn to paddle board well, I really want to learn to surf. ” – Ian Fernandez


Photos: Attitude of Gratitude

Students and alumni benefit immensely from the time, support and experience of volunteers and donors whether it’s in after-school tutoring sessions or providing career insight and mock interviews at a corporate office. In June, we held a volunteer and supporter appreciation event to celebrate the contributions of our community that make our work and the progress of our students possible.

See photos from the celebration below:
Continue Reading →


From Michael Roberts, Executive Director: Excelsior Scholarships– A good step forward, but not yet free


Photo from nyhesc.gov


The headlines have been exuberant: SUNY and CUNY are now “free!” As you have probably recently read, Governor Cuomo has expanded the income requirement for students to qualify for funding for college in New York State with the Excelsior Scholarship. That is good news. We want to explain, however, that although this can be a big help to some, it doesn’t address all the financial needs students and families face, particularly those that CDI serves.

Some issues about Excelsior requirements that affect CDI schools’ graduates:

  • Undergraduates must be enrolled full-time at a SUNY or CUNY school, taking 30 credits a year. Many of our schools’ graduates enroll part-time to accommodate work schedules, so they would not be eligible.
  • Students must be on track to graduate within two to four years, depending on the degree they are seeking. Our alumni often need to interrupt their studies to work, and often take four to six  years or longer to finish their degrees. In fact, the New York Times estimates that 90% of the state’s community college students would not currently meet this requirement.
  • Scholarship and financial aid funds that a student receives must be used first; then the Excelsior Scholarship kicks in to cover the remaining tuition. Excelsior funds cannot be used to cover fees or room and board. Many of our students receive financial aid, so their tuition is often fully covered. Where they need help is with living expenses – housing, transportation, food and books –which Excelsior doesn’t cover.

Overall, Excelsior is a great step forward. Our hope is that as it rolls out, the Governor and the state legislation will modify the requirements so that low-income students will be more likely to benefit from the program.

This New York Times’ April 11th article summarizes the issues well.

More information is also available on the FAQ page for the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Michael Roberts
Executive Director, CDI



Thank you for BEE-ing part of our Spelling Bee

How do you spell success?


Thank YOU to the 100+ community members who came together to support our students in pursuing their college aspirations at our first ever Spelling Bee! The funds raised at the event go toward providing college preparation services to nearly 900 seniors each year – everything from college exploration and campus trips to filling out financial aid forms and submitting applications. You make it possible for our students to receive the support and guidance they need to succeed.
See event photos > >

It’s not too late to contribute! Your gift will help support our students’ college success.

I want to support CDI’s college preparation programs!

To contribute by check, please send to
Comprehensive Development, Inc.
240 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Congratulations to our winners

Student Teams
1st Place – Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School
2nd Place – City-As-School High School
3rd Place – The High School for Health Professions and Human Services

Adult Teams
1st Place – Spellcheck, NYC Writers
2nd Place – Board Report, CDI Board
3rd Place – Extra Credit, Credit Suisse

A special thank you goes to our generous corporate sponsors
Goldman Sachs
Credit Suisse

And to those who sponsored student and school teams
Michael Braun
Pam Craig
Energy Capital Partners
Tim Ettenheim
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation


Congratulations Jeremiah!


Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School Alumni Jeremiah Perez-Torres is not simply a BMOC  at Buffalo State College—he’s a standout senior across New York! Jeremiah was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, the highest honor for undergraduates, at a ceremony in early April for his achievement, leadership and community service.

While he was at MCNDHS, CDI staff helped Jeremiah find housing, finish high school and prepare for college. He graduated in January 2014 and attended Borough of Manhattan Community College before transferring upstate. He received the Delaney Scholarship awarded to exceptional alumni of CDI schools who are pursuing higher education at a four-year university.

Jeremiah graduates from Buffalo State this June with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Intelligence Analysis and will be returning to the city in the fall to begin his Ph.D. at John Jay College focusing on terrorism and homeland security.

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