Governor Pataki Signs AA 587 Scholarship Bill
legislation creating a new scholarship program for the spouses, children
and financial dependents of victims of the November 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 plane crash.
“In the spirit of the September 11th Memorial Scholarships, the Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship program will cover the cost of higher education at any SUNY or CUNY campus or an equivalent amount for students who attend private colleges in New York State for victims’ families,” said a Pataki spokesperson. “The Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship Program will help the surviving relatives of the victims of the Flight 587 crash build brighter futures by helping them continue their education. I am proud to sign this legislation that will help support these families as they rebuild their lives,” Governor Pataki said. “When Flight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor the prayers of all New Yorkers were with the victims and their families. We want the families to know that our thoughts and prayers will always be with them.”
Senator John D. Sabini, sponsor of the legislation, said, “Any benefit we,
as a people, can offer these grieving survivors is a good thing. Spouses
and children who have lost providers should not lose the educational opportunities they might have had, if this tragedy had not occurred.”
Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, sponsor of the legislation, said, “Today is a very good day for the survivors and a good day for the state of New York.
“Many of the children who lost family members on Flight 587 would not be able to afford college without this legislation. By offering a college education we are providing some hope for these families who have gone through such a tremendous tragedy.”
Hector Algarroba, the founder of the HHS Foundation, a charitable group doing work in the Dominican Republic since 1998, who lost his mother and father in the tragedy, said, “Today is very special for the families of the victims of Flight 587. Over the last year, Governor Pataki, his dedicated staff, and other concerned public servants, joined me in a crusade to help the spouses and children impacted by the tragedy, by securing their right to higher education. It has been a long and slow road, but once more we have proven that perseverance, commitment, and belief in improving people’s lives, are worth the hard work.”
“I thank all who contributed to the realization of this program, and wish
all eligible spouses and children of the victims of Flight 587 luck, as they embrace a higher education to improve their lives and that of others,” Algarroba said.
The Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship program will cover the cost of
attendance at any State University or City University campus, or will
provide an equivalent amount toward the cost of attendance at a private
college or university located in New York State. This would allow students to pursue all available undergraduate programs in the State’s public and private higher education system. The memorial award is expected to benefit nearly 150 eligible children and spouses over the next 20 years, at a maximum average annual cost of approximately $100,000. The initial cost of the Scholarship Program would be $400,000 including funding for scholarship costs retroactive to the 2001-02 academic year.
The Governor’s Flight 587 Memorial Scholarships were created for spouses who now shoulder the heavy burden of supporting their families and children who have lost the support of their parents, as a result of the tragedy.
The mission of the program is that they obtain a college degree and begin a self-supporting life.