Governor Hochul Announces Expansion of Educational Opportunity Program to Cayuga, other Community Colleges

Governor Kathy Hochul  announced Tuesday the expansion of SUNY's life-changing Educational Opportunity Program to include four additional SUNY campuses: Cayuga County Community College, Corning Community College, Rockland Community College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College. This increases the total number of campuses to 54, with work continuing to ensure every campus provides access to EOP's academic resources, mentorship, and financial aid. 

"Access to affordable higher education makes a fundamental difference in the lives of our future leaders," Governor Hochul said. "By expanding the Educational Opportunity Program, we are helping dismantle inequalities in our education system and giving every New Yorker a chance to pursue a quality education."

SUNY expects to grow the program further with an additional increase of $5.2 million in the recently passed FY 2023 State Budget by expanding to additional campuses, opening 1,000 more spots for eligible students, and increasing the financial aid award for every EOP student.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "The Educational Opportunity Program opens doors for many first-generation students, students from disadvantaged areas, and provides the tools they need to succeed in higher education. I was proud to work with Governor Hochul to provide the $5.2 million increase in this year's budget to support the program's continued expansion into four new community college campuses, which will create access to 1,000 more students. I'm committed to continuing to invest in our higher education system in New York State."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Since I became speaker in 2015, my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority have fought tirelessly to ensure that every New Yorker has access to higher education. When I was an AIM counselor for EOP, I was able to see firsthand the way EOP opens the door to higher education for so many of our students by offering the academic, financial, and emotional support that allows them to thrive. This expansion ensures that more New Yorkers will be able to experience these life changing opportunities and climb the economic ladder."

SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said, "Over nearly 55 years, EOP has helped nearly 80,000 New Yorkers enroll at a SUNY campus; succeed academically, socially, and personally while they are with us; and upon completing their degree return to their communities where they help open doors for others. EOPs are like families on our campuses and, with this investment by Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and state legislators, I am delighted that students will have access at four additional community colleges, helping students recognize and realize their own potential."

Since SUNY announced its plan to grow EOP in October 2021, the system has:

  • Established a $2 million Student Persistence Fund to help EOP students who are atthe greatest risk of dropping out due to unforeseen financial circumstances during the academic year. Funding ranges from $50 up to a maximum of $2,000 per student. To date, nearly 1,000 students have received assistance.
  • Increased funding for EOP students, which goes toward academic counseling, direct financial aid, and additional academic support—at most state-operated campuses, increasing to $2,800 per student, and the overall funding formula at most community colleges, increasing to $1,300 per student.
  • Doubled SUNY's Pre-Medical Opportunity Program to include 23 new students for the upcoming 2022 summer program. The investment covers student costs including instruction, transportation, and room and board.
  • Launched the EOP Student Ambassadors Program with 21 student ambassadors to better support EOP students and help strengthen recruitment efforts by engaging EOP students in meeting prospective students.
  • Purchased 890 laptops to mitigate technology gaps for incoming students, and hired 15 more EOP counselors across SUNY to assist EOP students as they work toward their college degrees.

Cayuga Community College President Dr. Brian Durant said, "The Educational Opportunity Program's impact on accessible higher education is undeniable. Through this landmark program, thousands of students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursued a college degree with the proper academic and financial support. The program's continued expansion to Cayuga and other institutions is a reminder of SUNY's tireless commitment to ensuring fair access to higher education. On behalf of Cayuga Community College, we appreciate the opportunity to offer this program on our campus, and look forward to seeing the success of our enrolled students."

Corning Community College President William Mullaney said, "Corning Community College is extremely excited to join the SUNY EOP family. The ability to expand our reach to even more students who might not otherwise have access to a college education and provide them with the resources and services to be successful is at the heart of everything we do. We are grateful to SUNY for inviting us into this program that truly transforms lives."

Rockland Community College Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs Dr. Bart Grachan said, "Rockland Community College's Educational Opportunity Program will provide access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to make higher education possible for 100 first-time RCC students with tremendous talent, but insufficient resources, to break the cycle of generational poverty that has traditionally made higher education out of reach for some New Yorkers. Based on extensive assessment of the needs and diversity in the Rockland County community and RCC's success with similar projects like TRIO Student Support Services, RCC's EOP will include a combination of counseling, tutoring, workshops, and pre-freshman services to enhance student retention and success among students who demonstrate academic promise, but whose life circumstances have not permitted them to reach their full potential. All services to be provided by the program are designed to enhance student retention and success."

Tompkins Cortland Community College Associate Vice President of Student Affairs & Senior Diversity Officer Seth A. Thompson said, "We are thrilled to finally be able to offer the Education Opportunity Program at Tompkins Cortland Community College. As a campus, we aim to align the programs we offer with proven models of success, such as EOP. That said, we know EOP will benefit enrolled students and provide value for students who transfer after graduation. Ultimately, EOP allows us to build on the history of our mission to serve all students."

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 55-year history, the EOP has served more than 78,000 students and evolved into one of the country's most successful college access programs.