May 29, 2020

SUNY Empire State College Expands First-Of-Its-Kind Empire Opportunity Program to Students Across New York State

Empire Opportunity Program First Launched in Buffalo to Expand Students’ Access to Higher Education

Program Will Provide Financial Aid and Academic Support to Full-Time or Part-Time Students from Historically Underserved Backgrounds

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – May 29, 2020) SUNY Empire State College today announced the statewide expansion of its Empire Opportunity Program, which first launched in Buffalo, New York, in February of this year. Unlike traditional Educational Opportunity Programs, SUNY Empire’s first-of-its-kind Empire Opportunity Program will provide expanded access to college degrees for students at all stages of life and learning from historically underserved backgrounds. SUNY Empire quickly made the decision to bring this opportunity to all regions of New York state after receiving a high number of inquiries and requests from outside the Buffalo area.

During its first academic year, 2020-21, the program will accept up to 60 full-time or part-time students from around New York state. The program will offer each SUNY Empire EOP student the opportunity to work with professionals and faculty around the college who will provide support, encouragement, and guidance for their undergraduate studies. It also offers greater flexibility in supporting full-time or part-time study, allowing online, onsite, or blended study, and placing EOP students in a cohort of their peers to provide added support. The model will offer students access to the training and instruction needed to be successful in today’s job market.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and current social distancing regulations, EOP sessions for summer 2020 will be held online. Students will have online access to all support services, including admissions, financial aid, registration, advising, tutoring, health and wellness counseling, and student activities. Upon admission, all students in EOP will be eligible to receive a laptop on loan from the college to ensure their technology needs are met.

“Our mission is to expand opportunities for individuals who want to access high-quality higher education and today we are expanding our first-of-its-kind opportunity program to students across New York State at one of our many campuses,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “With the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic here and around the world, it’s more important than ever to ensure that higher education provides a leg up to those who need it most.”

“Helping students break barriers to achieve their goals is what is most important to me,” said SUNY Empire State College Empire Opportunity Program Director Dana Brown. “I am excited to expand SUNY Empire EOP’s reach, so we can reach more students and provide the support they need to succeed in college.”

SUNY Empire EOP will offer the following benefits to participants:

  • Targeted and ongoing financial assistance, such as stipends for full-time and part-time students to help with the overall cost of attendance.
  • Enhanced additional academic support services from professional and peer tutors who work exclusively with the Empire Opportunity Program.
  • A dedicated student success mentor to provide guidance from enrollment through commencement.
  • Summer orientation with workshops on topics like individualized degree planning and strategies for effective communication to prepare for success in college.
  • Specialized year-round EOP workshops on topics ranging from resume writing to self-marketing on social media.
  • Early Degree Planning to help students meet their personal, professional, and academic goals.

The program is supported entirely by SUNY Empire State College with assistance from the Empire State College Foundation. Once social distancing guidelines are adjusted, participants will be able to study onsite at SUNY Empire’s Western New York campus in Buffalo, and its Finger Lakes campus in Rochester, Capital Region campus in Saratoga Springs, Selden’s new state-of-the-art 6.6 acre on Long Island, or online with SUNY Empire’s more than 110 online degrees and certificates, or through a blended learning approach. Whatever the mode of study, SUNY Empire EOP students will have dedicated academic support throughout their studies.

To be eligible for the Empire Opportunity Program at SUNY Empire, applicants must be a New York state resident for 12 months prior to enrollment and meet the program’s academic and financial eligibility requirements. Learn more at

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates students at any stage of life with a personalized learning experience delivered online, in person, or a blend of both. Since 1971, SUNY Empire has empowered students to earn an accredited degree around the demands of a busy lifestyle to advance their personal and professional goals. With world-class faculty, more than 1,300 dedicated mentors to help students tailor their degree programs, and cutting-edge distance learning technology, SUNY Empire delivers a trusted and flexible online college experience grounded in more than 30 New York state locations and seven international sites where students can learn and collaborate in person. The college’s nearly 50 years as a leader in awarding credit for prior learning and life experience helps students earn a degree faster and at lower cost. To learn more, visit and follow @SUNYEmpire.