SUNY Provides College with More Than $100,000 to Establish Educational Opportunity Program

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange will receive $114,750 from the State University of New York’s Investment and Performance Fund to create an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) that will provide access, academic support and financial aid counseling to low-income and academically underprepared students.

SUNY Orange is one of four community colleges selected to receive EOP start-up grants as announced by SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher on Thursday (Feb. 11).

SUNY Orange’s EOP program, to be launched for the 2016-17 academic year, will ultimately include a total of 75 students, with 45 to be taken in the first year and others admitted in subsequent years. The $114,750 will support start-up and first-year costs of the program, with an additional undetermined amount of SUNY grant funding on tap during each of the following four academic years as well.

Students in the program will receive comprehensive wraparound services throughout the academic year, including: intrusive advising; career assessment and planning; and financial literacy. The program will utilize a dedicated Student Success Coach, who will work with the individual students to immediately develop an Individual Service Plan (ISP). A financial aid liaison will be designated for the EOP program, and will lead students, and families when desired, through the process individually.

There will be a broad array of financial literacy workshops (in-person and online) which will keep the students aware of the impact of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) on their college funding, and ultimately, career success. Students admitted to the EOP program will also attend a mandatory three-week summer program to provide the jump-start necessary to begin their first semester with a full-time 15-credit course load.

“We are extremely pleased to be receiving this grant from SUNY to start our EOP program. When you couple this grant with our recent TRIO SSS grant award of $1.1 million, and the success we’ve had in the first three years of our $1.88 million Title III grant, it demonstrates SUNY Orange’s commitment to assisting our students with intensive support and wraparound services,” said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “Our students of today face different obstacles on their road to a college degree than their predecessors, and we recognize the importance of programs that expand educational access and enhance student success and completion, most specifically for those students from underserved populations.

“I applaud everyone at the College that had a hand in crafting this successful proposal. This is yet another creative solution that opens doors and brings more students to our classrooms. I look forward to getting our EOP program off the ground,” Young added.

“The Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY is one of our most successful and sought after programs, with more than 30,000 students applying for 2,500 available seats every year,” Zimpher said. “Bringing programs like EOP to more students – that’s what our completion agenda sets out to do, and it is precisely what the Investment and Performance Fund can accomplish. We are thrilled to be sharing these awards with our campuses today in recognition of their excellent work and dedication to student success.”

Other campuses receiving awards for first-year costs of implementing new EOP programs are: SUNY Adirondack ($144,000), Jefferson Community College ($116,000) and Niagara County Community College ($129,500).

Thursday’s award announcement also featured 16 SUNY institutions that will, along with the four community colleges, share a total of $2.3 million to establish or expand EOP programming, Campuses receiving awards to expand or enhance existing EOP programs are: University at Albany ($158,000), Broome Community College ($37,500), SUNY College at Brockport ($50,000), SUNY Buffalo State College ($407,000), University at Buffalo ($207,000), Fashion Institute of Technology ($93,250), Finger Lakes Community College ($63,750), SUNY Maritime College ($55,500), SUNY Morrisville ($44,500), SUNY New Paltz ($290,000), SUNY Plattsburgh ($122,500), and Stony Brook University ($350,000).

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie explained, “The Assembly Majority has been a longstanding advocate of the need for accessible and affordable higher education. The opportunity programs at SUNY campuses around the state have been tremendously successful at helping students and families achieve a college education and we fought to guarantee this funding as a cornerstone of our Higher Education Road to Success Initiative. We will continue our efforts to strengthen this important investment so that the promise of higher education can be within reach of every student.”

Currently active on 43 SUNY campuses across New York State, SUNY’s EOP program includes more than 10,000 low-income and academically underprepared students. SUNY’s EOP program has a six-year baccalaureate graduation rate of 65 percent, far exceeding the national rate of 56 percent for all public institutions. In 2014-2015, more than 3,000 EOP students achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater.

Students interested in the EOP program at SUNY Orange must apply for admission prior to June 15 as enrollment is limited. For more information, contact Madeline Torres-Diaz, associate vice president for Student Engagement & Completion, at (845) 341-4407.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940