Press release from Tompkins Cortland Community College.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the expansion of SUNY's life-changing Educational Opportunity Program to four additional SUNY campuses, including 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 Fiscal Year 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."
Tompkins Cortland Community College Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and 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.