ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state has announced a new round of funding for a program aimed at keeping students from dropping out of school.

The state Education Department on Monday said 44 colleges and universities will receive a total of $17 million as part of the Liberty Partnerships Program.

Under the program, colleges partner with struggling schools and community-based organizations to help middle and high school students who are at risk of dropping out complete school and go on to college.

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says the program gives students access to skills assessment, tutoring, counseling and mentoring.

The program was started in 1988.

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