By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Almost like an angel investor, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University made a decision in 2009 to fund a stake in the future careers of Upstate New York residents looking to enhance and retool their information skills.

The School created a 50% tuition scholarship, and has since provided $1.377 million worth of funding for 105 permanent Upstate residents to pursue graduate education in the information field.  Now, the iSchool program is expanding upon its initial success. Two new degree areas, graduate certificates in social media and data science, are being added for the 2012-2013 year, and the iSchool has committed to fund all recipients for the entire course of their studies, even if that takes several years. Additionally, the program is working to attract students from a wider geographical range, since its extensive distance programs make it possible for students from anywhere in the Upstate New York region to participate.

An information session on iSchool graduate programs, including discussion of the Upstate IT Scholarships, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on campus. The session will be held in room 120 of Hinds Hall, located on SU’s main quad. For more information or to RSVP contact Victoria A. Williams, graduate recruiting and marketing manager, at or (315) 443-6226, or visit:

“These unique scholarships are precisely the kind of innovative outreach the iSchool is known for initiating, and we are extremely proud to be offering this program, said Dean Elizabeth Liddy. “The scholarships demonstrate our commitment to the students and the employers of the Upstate region in helping both to access the most-up-to-date information skills and education to meet their needs. This initiative perfectly illustrates Syracuse University’s larger mission of matching community and university through demonstrated scholarship in action,” she added.

Four years ago, the iSchool acted on its mission when it recognized a regional trend of increasing numbers both of tech company startups and information and technology field jobs in primarily non-tech employment sectors. To further bolster that robust development, the Upstate IT scholarship concept was devised. It was designed to simultaneously reach out to more Upstate residents, enrich the talent pool for the region’s IT industry, enroll more students in iSchool campus and distance programs, strengthen regional companies’ overall IT capabilities, and fulfill Syracuse University’s “Scholarship in Action” goals,  according to Susan Corieri, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management and Special Academic Program Initiatives.

The program is for permanent Upstate NY residents who recently have graduated from undergraduate programs, as well as seasoned professionals seeking to advance their careers by adding or upgrading their skills at the iSchool.

The program encompasses seven Master’s and Certificate of Advanced Studies graduate programs. All can be fully completed through distance learning, and the School is encouraging interested students beyond the immediate Syracuse area, anywhere in Upstate New York, to apply. The application deadline is May 1 for preference consideration.

In addition to the significant financial aid that the 50% tuition program provides, some enrolled students may also receive financial help from their employers. In that case, the School does not reduce the amount of its aid (as some colleges do) to further illustrate its commitment to the program goals. 

That was the case for Damon Mone, now manager of commercial and carrier operations at Time Warner Cable in Syracuse. Between the financial aid he received and tuition assistance from his employer, the family man with three children will graduate this year with a master’s degree in Telecommunications and Network Management “with zero debt”– a factor that made it all possible, he said. The same is true for Cordell Ennis, now a consultant in technology for Accenture. As a young man newly in the workforce, he enrolled in the program to help achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. “I would not have been able to do this without the scholarship,” he recognized. 

The iSchool is aware of the fact that many working adults have been affected by changing job market conditions. That is a population also in need of educational opportunities, even though universities historically have tended to focus their financial aid resources on undergraduates, observed David Dischiave, Assistant Professor and director for the iSchool’s Global Enterprise Technology program.

“The Upstate IT scholarship is one big way the iSchool has put scholarship in action as an affordable vehicle to help working adults gain access to the courses that can change their life in a measureable way,”Dischiave said. “Many of my students have been able to gain new employment or get promotions they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise” because they were able to gain or update to the latest skills, he added.

Master’s Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study programs in these areas at the iSchool are eligible for the scholarship:

  • 42-credit M.S. in Information Management
  • 30-credit Executive M.S. in information Management
  • 36-credit M.S. in Telecommunications and Network Management
  • 15-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Information  Security Management
  • 15-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Systems and Telecommunications Management

Newly added for the 2012-2013 academic year are:

  • 15-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science
  • 15-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Innovation/Social Media

For more information, visit the scholarship website at: IT, or contact Corieri at: