Office of Opportunity Programs
Opportunity programs at SUNY Empire provide access, academic support, and/or financial assistance to underserved students who show promise for college success. We serve students at all stages of life and learning, full or part time.
SUNY Empire offers three opportunity programs:
- SUNY Educational Opportunity Program (EOP): A program for full-time, first-time freshmen and full-time opportunity program transfer students
- Empire State Opportunity Program (ESOP): A program for full-time and part-time transfer students
- Empire Promise Program (EPP): A program for first-time freshmen, continuing students, and transfer students
What You Get as an Opportunity Program Student at SUNY Empire:
- Enhanced Academic Support Services. Get extra help from professional tutors.
- Financial Assistance (EOP and ESOP only). In addition to financial aid, you’ll receive a grant to help with your college costs.
- Mentorship and Coaching. Benefit from a dedicated team here to advise and coach you throughout your degree program, providing the tools and resources you need to succeed at SUNY Empire and beyond.
- Flexibility. Take your courses online, onsite, or by residency, and/or independent study.
- Orientation and Programming. Our virtual orientation program helps us get to know one another and gives you a foundation for a successful college experience. You’ll also benefit from year-round enrichment programs, networking, and experts who will keep you engaged and informed.
- Early Degree Planning. As soon as you’re accepted, your mentor will meet with you to create a degree plan that meets your personal, professional, and academic goals.
- Laptop Loaner Program. Opportunity program students get priority in our laptop loaner program, where you can be loaned a college laptop throughout the duration of your studies at SUNY Empire.
- Basic Needs. We’ll provide resources if you’re in need of support for housing, food, internet service, or mental health.
|Program||Who is eligible?||NYS Residency Required||
|Financial Assistance||Enhanced Academic Support||Mentorship & Coaching||Special Programming||Laptop Loaner Program||Basic Needs Resources|
|SUNY Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)||First-time freshmen and opportunity program transfer students||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Empire State Opportunity Program (ESOP)||Transfer students||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Empire Promise Program (EPP)||First-time freshmen and transfer students||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
To be eligible for admission to our opportunity programs, you must:
- Be accepted to the college through general admission
- Be a New York state resident for 12 months prior to enrollment (EOP and ESOP only)
- Meet the program’s financial eligibility requirements
- Complete an interview
To apply, you must:
- Be a New York state resident for 12 months prior to admission.
- Note: exceptions may be granted for veterans and military-aligned students
- Exception granted for EPP students
- Have a high school diploma or equivalency.
- Demonstrate economic need or be a transfer student previously enrolled in another NYS opportunity program
- Complete the FAFSA before acceptance. If you do not intend to complete the FAFSA, contact the Office of Opportunity Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn about other ways of demonstrating financial eligibility.
- EOP Students Only: To be eligible for EOP as a transfer student, you must have been enrolled in the EOP, CD/SEEK, HEOP, or a similar program at your previous college. If your previous college did not have EOP or a similar program, please let us know. You can still receive consideration for transfer eligibility.
The following guidelines are for Opportunity Programs at SUNY Empire eligibility. To be determined economically disadvantaged, a student’s household income must not exceed the amount shown for its size, or the student’s circumstances must meet one of the exceptions. Eligibility guidelines may be adjusted slightly each year.
Opportunity Programs at SUNY Empire Income Guidelines 2022-23
(including head of household)
|Total Annual Income|
* Plus $8,399 for each additional household member in excess of eight.
Exceptions to Income Guidelines
- The student’s family is the recipient of Family Assistance or Safety Net payments through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; or through a county Department of Social Services; or Family Day Care payments through the New York State Office of Children and Family Assistance
- The student is in foster care as established by the court
- The student is a ward of the court or county
Applicants who are ineligible for Opportunity Programs at SUNY Empire may still qualify for admission and financial aid through other admissions processes.
Visit our application page and create an account to get started.
After application, you will:
- Complete the opportunity program essay (this takes the place of the general undergraduate essay)
- Complete a virtual interview, if you are financially eligible and are selected as a finalist
In an essay of at least 300 words, please describe:
- Why you are applying to the SUNY Empire’s opportunity programs
- How being part of our opportunity programs will improve your academic experience
We will evaluate your essay using the following criteria:
- How well you answer the questions
- How well you organize and develop your ideas
- Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary
The finalist interview provides a more complete picture of you as a student and will inform our admission decisions. Our staff will conduct the interviews and evaluate the following as indicators for your potential student success:
- Ability to articulate your thoughts and ideas
- Recognition of your academic strengths and weaknesses
- Ability to stick to long-term goals
- Your commitment to continuing your education
- Awareness of financial and academic commitment
- Time management
- Plans for managing family and job-related obligations, in addition to your academics
- Understanding of your commitment, (such as monthly meetings, tutoring, and/or regular meetings with a Student Success mentor) specific to opportunity programs
- Timely completion of required paperwork for the program application