PATERSON, NJ- Earlier this year Mikayla Cater, a junior at Garrett Morgan Academy and a member of the Paterson Youth Council, had a chance to visit Harvard, Yale, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The experience, she said, showed her and her 40 travel mates from all across Paterson  that "no matter where you come from you can go to Ivy League colleges.

Now, thanks to a contest by State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Program, the NJCDC which has run these tours for two years, has an opportunity to win a $25,000 trip to expand the trips to even more students during the 2018/2019 academic year.

Through College Vision, the application reads, 100 students will see a minimum of 3 colleges or universities on each trip.

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“By seeing the colleges, and expanding their verizon beyond Paterson, we believe that students will be more excited about attending college,” In addition, the program will also incorporate financial aid seminars to ensure students are aware of all the options to make college affordable, creating a very direct impact on this unmet need in our community.

The College Vision program is one of 200 worthy causes from across the US to be picked for the contest, but only those in the top 40 when voting ends will receive the funding. Voters can click here to cast their selection for this special Paterson initiative and can vote up to 10 times a day until August 24.

Citing that only 10 percent of Paterson residents have college degress, NJCDC CEO Bob Guarasci has said that he and his team are “committed to building a college going culture in our city.”

“Tours like these allow our students to envision themselves graduating from and excelling at the country's top universities and motivate them to set their sights high.”