July 29, 2020

Sixty Students from Across New York State Accepted into SUNY Empire State College’s Inaugural Statewide Empire Opportunity Program Class

First-of-Its-Kind Statewide Opportunity Program Offers Financial Aid and Additional Academic Support for Students from Historically Underserved Backgrounds Including Full-Time and Part-Time Students

Includes Students from Across New York State Between the Ages of 18-67

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK – July 29, 2020) SUNY Empire State College today announced 60 first-year and transfer students have been accepted to its first-of-its-kind Empire Opportunity Program (EOP), which provides historically underserved students with targeted financial aid and enhanced academic support.

As SUNY Empire is the SUNY system’s only statewide college with campuses and learning hubs in every region of the state, it opened the Empire Opportunity Program to students at every SUNY Empire campus. The inaugural cohort represents every region of the state, ranging in age from 18 to 67. Unlike traditional Educational Opportunity Programs, SUNY Empire’s EOP is open to all eligible students at any stage of life or learning, rather than being limited to full-time, first-year matriculated students. Also unlike traditional EOPs that rely on state or federal funding, SUNY Empire’s EOP is fully supported by the college to provide flexibility to respond to the needs of students.

As part of the EOP peer support program, students will begin the 2020-21 academic year together, enrolled in a series of core classes, including Introduction to Reading and Writing and College Mathematics. Students will be able to choose from SUNY Empire’s more than 110 online degree options as they begin to build their educational program. SUNY Empire educators will collaborate to host virtual workshops, group and individual meetings, and tutoring sessions to ensure students are informed of all the resources available as they begin their college career.

Due to COVID-19-related guidelines and restrictions, SUNY Empire has created a robust series of virtual social events to ensure students remain engaged and connected beyond the online classroom. Each student will be issued a laptop on loan from SUNY Empire, to ensure their technology needs are met.

SUNY Empire’s EOP also offers 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.

“Public higher education is the key to social and economic mobility, and SUNY Empire’s innovative and flexible EOP will create an opportunity pipeline for individuals to get the support they need to earn a college degree,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “Our groundbreaking Empire Opportunity Program is a model for more flexible, responsive opportunity programs in the future. I am proud to welcome the inaugural class of SUNY Empire EOP students and look forward to seeing all their successes in college and beyond.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have such an amazing group of students to kick off the Empire Opportunity Program’s inaugural year,” said SUNY Empire State College Empire Opportunity Program Director Dana Brown. “This group has shown such a high level of excitement and positive energy for starting their programs – one step closer to achieving their academic goals. EOP is honored to be a part of their journey and cannot wait to see them graduate!”

“We look forward to welcoming our first cohort of motivated and deserving Empire Opportunity students, led by Dana Brown,” said SUNY Empire State College Chief Diversity Officer Elliott Dawes. “Further, we strongly encourage our EOP students' future participation in the newly formed programs designed to expose SUNY Empire State College students to graduate and professional school opportunities."

Classes for the fall term begin September 8. Please click here to review SUNY Empire State College’s strategic plan for the fall semester.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates 16,000 students per year in person, online, and through a blend of both, at campuses and learning hubs located in every region of New York state, and at eight international sites worldwide. Together with one of SUNY Empire’s 800 faculty mentors, each student designs their own individualized pathway to a college degree that accommodates their schedule and awards credit for prior college-level learning. SUNY Empire awards more than 3,000 degrees annually and 94 percent of graduates stay in New York state. Today, more than 89,000 SUNY Empire alumni are entrepreneurs, veterans, and active members of the military, professional athletes, teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in their field, as well as in their communities. To learn more, visit  www.esc.edu.