Walk For The Student Aid Fund

The Great Neck Student Aid Fund directors (from left): Kyungsun Choe, Jill Monoson, Elise Kestenbaum, Marilyn Schneider and Amy Frankel

It does not take a mathematical genius to figure out that the price of college is increasing each year. Today, young people can hardly start their lives without getting a degree. However, for many people, the main obstacle to higher education is the overwhelming financial burden.

In 1931, the cost of tuition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering was $1,250. That’s chump change compared to the cost of college today. For the 2016–17, school year, UPenn undergraduate tuition, including room and board, was $65,470, which is more than 50 times the cost of tuition nearly nine decades earlier.

The Great Neck Student Aid Fund (GNSAF) recognizes this challenge and has been helping those less fortunate for nearly 90 years, offering one-time need-based grants toward the critical first year of higher education for high school students who reside in the Great Neck School District. Each year, 60 to 70 graduates from local high schools are able to attend the college of their choice with the help of GNSAF and its generous contributions.

The Great Neck Student Aid Fund board (from left, sitting): Kim Kaiman, Kyungsun Choe, Candy Gould, Amy Frankel and Suzanne Belmont; (standing): Robin Bernstein Silberg, Jill Monoson, Cheng “Carey” Ye, Barbara Spun, Elise Kestenbaum, Larry Offsey, Parveneh Khodadadian, Erica Aryeh, Myrna Pereira, Marilyn Schneider, Anthony Pontone, Jemi Goodman and Lori Cooper; (not pictured): Marilyn Blaine, Jon Bloom, Lori Freudman, Sandy Hyman, Pamela Gould Kipnis, Gail Levy, Bob Lincoln, Steve Markowitz, Edna Mashaal, Sue Menkes, Adam Rothkrug, Renee Schulman, Wendy Stevens, Fran Taney and Susan Wurtzel

“Our organization started in 1931 and is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3),” explained Elise Kestenbaum, GNSAF president. “We have approximately 30 volunteer directors on the board from all walks of life in Great Neck. Over the years, we have given out thousands of scholarships since we started.”

GNSAF has been around longer than most Great Neck residents and will be hosting its first annual Fun Walk for Education on Sunday, Sept. 30, to raise funds, enabling even more students to attend college.

“The Great Neck Student Aid Fund uses all the money that it collects to give out scholarships, so we don’t have a big reserve of money that we can use towards these types of events,” said Jill Monoson, a GNSAF vice president. “Many people on the board have been not only donating their time, but we have also been donating our own money towards purchasing giveaways for the event. We are trying to keep it cost effective.”

Each year, the organization helps more than 10 percent of graduating seniors in the community and would like to continue helping as many students as possible. Get some exercise on Sunday and help support this worthwhile cause. All the donations collected will go directly toward helping students in need pay for higher education after graduating from high school.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and is $20 per adult, $10 for students younger than 18 and free for children in strollers. Participants can also register online at www.gnsaf.com/fun-walk-for-education. The first 100 registrants will receive a gift. The one-mile walk will start at Great Neck Plaza Village Hall, at 2 Gussack Plaza, promptly at 10 a.m. For more information, contact gnsaffunwalk@gmail.com.

This coming holiday season, shoppers can support GNSAF at the Americana from Thursday, Nov. 29, to Sunday, Dec. 2, when 25 percent of purchases for those registered can be donated to the charity.

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