The Office of Opportunity Programs oversees university-wide programs that enable access and provide academic and financial support to disadvantaged students who have the potential to study at the baccalaureate level and beyond. Oversight responsibilities include program leadership, policy development/implementation, fiscal planning and management, performance monitoring, data collection and reporting.
With a forty year history in the University, the Educational Opportunity Program exists on forty-three campuses. The Educational Opportunity Program is structured to realize the concept of access by extending admission to students who have the potential to succeed in college but whose life circumstances have not permitted them to achieve at the level of their potential; by providing academic skill-building and support in the form of counseling, advisement, tutoring, workshops and specialized coursework; and through the provision of financial aid support.
Graduation and retention rates of Educational Opportunity Program students compare favorably to that of the general student population at many institutions of medium admissions selectivity. First year retention in the senior colleges is 84.5% percent and the six-year 2008 graduation rate is 54%, respectively.
While the Educational Opportunity Program is the centerpiece of the university-wide programming administered by the Office of Opportunity Programs, the GEAR UP project, along with the GOP and EDPS tuition waiver programs represent extensions of access to the middle/secondary school and graduate/professional school populations respectively. Taken together, these programs form a continuum of higher education opportunity.
To further expand educational opportunity and to promote graduate and professional study, tuition assistance is provided to students who are graduates of the Educational Opportunity Program or similar New York State programs. Funding support is contingent upon the availability of resources and attendance at a participating SUNY campus that awards graduates degrees.
Limited resources are available for New York State Opportunity Program graduates who are pursuing first professional study programs. Such programs may include: optometry, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, and law.