Higher Education Programs Face Budget Cuts

Back in January the governor proposed budget cuts to educational programs statewide.

“For HEOP specifically, there is a proposed cut of approximately $6 million” said Mary Canto Rice Assistant Director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs/HEOP.

Some other programs included, “NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), Enhanced Tuition Assistance Awards (ETA), Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP), Liberty Partnership Programs (LPP) and the Foster Youth Care Success Initiative (FYCSI)” according to Rice.

In addition the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is expected to lose $6 million dollars from their overall budget which is $41 million. After budget cuts the state funded program would be left with an overall budget of $35 million dollars annually. Students that are enrolled in the HEOP program also receive financial support from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) in addition to their HEOP financial package.

“It is difficult to predict how the cuts could affect HEOP students until the budget has been passed and programs know exactly how much funding they have to work with” Rice said.

The HEOP program is designed to provide New York State students with a range of resources throughout their college career. Students enrolled in the HEOP program would otherwise not be able to attend college due to their academic or financial circumstances.

HEOP is similar to other Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), the difference between the two is EOP is for state schools in the SUNY system while HEOP is for private institutions. Private college institutions that house HEOP programs are responsible for providing students with academic support, assistance in paying for their tuition, supplemental financial aid, and providing any additional funds needed to complete the student’s graduation requirements.

Students who apply for the HEOP program will indicate this in their college common application. In order to be accepted into the HEOP program students must meet both the financial criteria for the household along with the academic requirements. Students are offered admission to the program without regard to their race, religious affiliation, disability status, marital status, or their sexual orientation.

Although the budget has not been finalized as of yet, Rice is moving forward, “I have been involved with HEOP specifically for about 15 years.  It is challenging to have to deal with proposed cuts but that comes with the territory of working with state-funded programs sometimes.”

Despite the idea of possible budget cuts looming in the air Rice chose to keep her head up and look at the positives. “HEOP is an overwhelmingly successful program; we have 50 years of documented data that supports what our advocacy message is: “HEOP WORKS.”

In the fall 2019 semester the HEOP program will be celebrating 50 year of success and achievement. This event is one staff and students are looking forward to celebrating.

Darriel McBride, HEOP alum says, “I look forward to celebrating 50 years of HEOP because if it wasn’t for HEOP I would have not been able to attended college.”

Rice wants to ease the tensions of current enrolled students that way they will be able to focus on what is important and that is their education.

She offers these tips for HEOP students, “Stay informed. Educate others. Be an advocate. Stay positive. HEOP is celebrating 50 years of success and we are planning to be here for another 50!”

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